Triple digits!

I made it to 100 followers! I never thought I would make it this far and I would like to thank all of you for finding my writing interesting enough to keep looking at it in your reader day after day. I don’t write for followers – besides the not so subtle post yesterday – and it’s great to think that people like me for me, not some manufactured Kate Turville robot.

From William Lloyd and Aether House who have been with me from the start, posting their thoughts consistently, to the new follower smilyking1976 who discovered my blog last night, I appreciate you all. You stay classy, followers.

In other news, I had to take AshCat to the vet yesterday and when I opened his carry box I discovered a family of redback spiders living in it. Needless to say the box ended up here:

It has been sprayed and rained on.  I'm now just waiting on a thunderbolt, then I may venture outside and pick it up again.

It has been sprayed and rained on. I’m now just waiting on a thunderbolt, then I may venture outside and pick it up again.

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Recommended to me #1 – Charles Bukowski

Throughout my posts, I have been lucky enough to receive comments recommending I check out a particular person, song or movie. So far, I have been writing these recommendations down in my little red book so I don’t forget them, but today I decided to take it a bit further.

Here lies the first of (hopefully) many posts regarding the recommendations of my beloved commenters.

charles-bukowski

Although I had heard of Charles Bukowski before, it wasn’t until Eric Ian Huffman recommended his poems to me after reading my post To the poets out there that I actually looked into his life and writing. This was in the hopes that I could learn more about poetry as a whole and experience poems written by a celebrated writer and poet. So what did I learn?

For those who don’t know, Charles Bukowski was an American writer and poet with over sixty books to his name. His work mainly revolved around the themes of poverty in America, writing and what I would call the gritty realism of everyday life.

I read several of his poems (four listed below) and I think the thing that stood out most for me was that he did not sugar coat anything. Everything that was written was stark and honest. As a not particularly apt poem reader I found his poems interesting to read and gave real insight into his life, from his past to what he was looking out of the window at during the time of writing.

Eric Ian Huffman mentioned that Bukowski could be crude, but I found that it worked well with his writing. I feel his poems wouldn’t have worked half as well if he had restrained himself in that way. It conveys emotion and character that stands out, something that couldn’t have been achieved without the odd crudity.

While I can’t say I learned any more about the structure of poetry – it may have even confused me more – Bukowski’s writing left an impression with me and I’ll be reading more. If you haven’t had a look at his works before, they are definitely worth the time.

Charles Bukowski Poems:

relentless as the tarantula

the great lover

the schoolyard of forever

here I am…

An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.

~Charles Bukowski

If you have anything you think I will like, please leave a comment. I love learning about new things!

A guide to my swears.

I’m fairly conservative for a 24-year-old living in a Western society. Actually, no I’m not, but when it comes to swearing I’m a prude. This becomes most apparent around my partner, who used to be in the army and swears like a…trooper…

He is now starting to control his swears and I am trying to loosen up a little, but I still cringe when I hear excessive cursing on the street. I feel that swearing is one of the lowest forms of communication. If you can only communicate with one word syllables to express your anger, dismay, joy, sadness, grief, confusion and various other emotions, then you aren’t very disciplined a person.

The occasional swear is perfectly acceptable, especially if you’ve just hit your toe on the coffee table. But littering it throughout every sentence is a bit much. Please spare my poor ears!

I have recently come up with a list that I am much more satisfied with and would be incredibly happy if I were to hear dropped in the street. If any of these resonate with you, please use them. They will convey your meaning much more effectively then the ‘customary’ swear words.

Fu…nnel-web spider

Sh…ishkabob

C…onstable Larry

Cr…ap – I’m not that much of a prude.

Tw…ilight

Okay, they’re no good. But whenever I feel the need to swear on my blog, these will be seen in place of the usual swear words. Don’t expect to see them very often.

How reading blogs can help to develop your characters

Lately I have taken to ever so slightly stalking other people’s blogs. I’m not going after the ones with opinions similar to mine, but ones that against my point of view, from the gentle to the overly aggressive. It has been a learning curve. Blessed with the gift of anonymity, people find the courage to present their views as eloquently or as venomously as they see fit.

As a writer I think this is great. I have access to a resource that can improve my writing dramatically, and not just due to all the available writing tips. Sometimes we just a need a little inspiration to make fantastic characters.

I have spoken before about how blogs are a personal style of writing, that many people find they can get their true voice out without repercussions following them into the real world. This voice, spoken so honestly, opens us up to a world we don’t know exists and could not understand unless experienced ourselves.

People tend to hold back their opinions if they are likely to be judged for it in public. Not so on blogs. The nature of the internet brings out the best and the worst in all of us and that’s exactly what writers need to create three-dimensional characters. Without the censor that blocks most people in their day-to-day life, their voice and true personality shines through. There is no fake smiles or nods of agreement. People will say how they feel and defend it however they like, whether through presenting researched points or through wilful ignorance.

So, how exactly does this help the author? You can’t tell me having access to a person’s opinions and thoughts, no barrier in place, isn’t the best way to create a character. You need someone who is violently racist in your novel, a person that is so unlike you that you can’t understand their thought processes (a fairly radical example). I’m sure you’ll find someone in the blogosphere who emulates that character. You have access to motivation, personal responses to commenters and best of all, how they speak (or write, I suppose).

Once this blogger, or bloggers are found, you can absorb their unfiltered point of view and start to understand how this type of person would tick, how they would talk, and what they think. Very helpful if you need the inner monologue of your character for your story. You can create a character that is realistic, because they are based on a real person.

I would like to thank the bloggers out there who see things differently to me. You’re helping me to write better and opening my mind up to the world around me. Cheers!

The blog advice conundrum

I’m an advice junkie. I’ll spend hours online looking up the best way to develop my characters, write dialogue – hell, even how to saw circles into wood. I’m not the type of person who can strike out into new territory just winging it, I need to have a solid background before I even attempt to tiptoe out onto that cracked ice.

Starting up a blog, I knew that I would spend hours researching how to best go about it. I took my seat at my desk, kicked my cat off the laptop (weird visualisation there) and knuckled down, determined to be an expert by the time I was done. I lasted five minutes.

I quickly realised that making a blog wasn’t like writing a novel or making circular plaques. There are basic rules about how to go about making novels and circles work. Not so for blogs. You can do whatever you want with it. You may be horrible at grammar, or write in entirely legal jargon or totes tlk in txt tlk and I’m sure you’ll find someone out there who identifies with you, who finds your blog interesting.

True, the same can be said for novels or being arty crafty, but I feel that blogs, being an entirely personal entity shouldn’t be bound in the same rules. The thoughts of a person are valuable, no matter whether they follow the guidelines. I write novels aimed at my sister, I make plaques for the reptile room but I write the blog essentially for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I would love if people found my words to be of some worth. If that doesn’t happen though, I’m still happy. I’m getting those thoughts out that need to escape.

The first thing I was told to do while I was researching blogs was to only focus on one thing while writing my blog. But I’m interested in more than one thing! I might want to talk about my writing in one post, environmental issues in another and about my socks in a third. This type of blog may only appeal to the sock-wearing environmental writers, but I feel that I still might find a little bit of an audience. So too would yours.

Blogs show us who the person really is sitting behind the keyboard, and rules restrict this. I’m not just a writer and I’m not just interested in the environment. I am complex dammit!

All in all, I’ll write what I want to write and try to ignore the lure of advice websites. This time I’m winging it. Unless, of course, you have advice for me. It’s not cheating if it’s on my own blog.