Are you being influenced? #amediting

I recently opened a box that had been moving between lofts, and found myself a present, a book of poetry written down from 1993 to 1995, a flowery hardback book with fountain-pen entries, signed just in case. Now, at the East Midlands Writers’ Conference they told us to put our writing in a box and leave it for a while, but I guess over 20 years is extreme. But for me, it’s more like having access to a time capsule.

Some of these poems went on to be aired in university and successively updated. Some start as free verse and end up rhyming. I can date some of my experiences. The tone of the poems changes after a few months of university.

I was lucky to do a BA (hons) in English Literature and creative writing on a course that gave the eight or nine on it special access to writers. We had support from visiting writers and later on a writing mentor, and in the second year we started taking the courses that would make up our subsidiary. I still have the poems I wrote for Hugo Williams in Autumn 1997.

When I spend some time with a famous writer, alive or dead, I tend to buy some of their work. I own far too many Paul Magrs books, which I must get signed, and everything I can from Emma Pass. I was very pleased to get a poetry book sometime in 1997 that covered both Andrew Motion and Hugo Williams in the UEA campus Waterstones.

In case you’re not familiar with Hugo Williams’s poetry, he wrote ‘Toilet’ and ‘Creative Writing’. Look them up! And here, with time for reflection, is a poem influenced by ‘Toilet’.

Train Ride

 

I’m doing it standing up

On a seatlessly silent train

I’m riding fast, the day is vast

I’m playing my favourite game.

 

I’m going away from here

As the throbs and pulses grow

The world files by, a restless lie

I’m caught in accelerando.

 

The train is as fragile as light

The cheap soap opera set quakes

Then faster it fits as if nothing exists

But the grey walls, toilet door

 

Black fridge-sealant rubber

Holding the train together

We slow down and stop, a useless flop

And I’m elsewhere for ever and ever.

 

© Rebecca Deans 2016

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Too Many Stars Have Gone Out This Year #amwriting #music #recordstoreday2016

I went to a record store yesterday and bought my dad the latest David Bowie recording on CD. I didn’t think to buy the latest Prince album as well.

I had previously bought the Bowie from a well known online retailer, but the case hadn’t protected it. My dad, lifelong Bowie fan, had been at the point of putting the CD into his car when he realised it was split.

I vowed to myself to go to a proper shop and buy him the album, though it took me a few opportunities to do it. In the end I went to Rough Trade Records in Nottingham and they were happy to open it to check it was OK.

Dad usually complains when I buy him Christmas, birthday or father’s day gifts, so I knew my purchase was right when he didn’t offer to give it me back.

It was later when I was at home making tea that I realised that Prince had died as well.

My first 7 inch single should have been Prince. I clearly remember looking at singles in Asda in Preston in 1987. I seem to recall I wanted ‘When Doves Cry’, though my mum and dad wouldn’t let me have that. I was ten or 11 at the time. I ended up with ‘What’s the Colour of Money’ by Brother Beyond.

I got a turntable again recently, and was able to play my son a track off the Hunky Dory Bowie album my brother had passed back to me. I declined to play the Brother Beyond single. I was pleased to have a Michael Jackson album (Bad, 1987) and a ropey copy of ‘Pump up the Volume’ by MARRS on 7 inch (also 1987). I was even able to have a Bangles moment (with actions).

This is the bit where my brain will not get to the punchline and finish the blog because Prince….? Too many stars have gone out this year.

(c) Rebecca Deans 2016

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My novel is going well again #amwriting #amediting #amgettingitallfuckingdown

Apologies for doing the bad WordPress form thing and not posting for ten days, after getting excited and posting quite a bit. I will now be scheduling my posts for a Friday morning, early, after the birds but before the Music News on BBC Radio 6.

So, anyway, it turns out that I have plenty of research material to go on plus a rumoured 10,000 word start of a novel, that I handily sorted out and put in an envelope. So I am making my playlist and seeing what happens ’cause I struggled to write 20,000 for my novella and now suddenly I have 10,000 to edit. *Squee.*

Already got some chapters down.

If the world of advertising is dead after 15 years, let’s try something old….

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Simon Says Three: Your Sweetness is my Weakness

In the light of the Archers and the interest in coercive control, I am re-blogging this piece. There is no stabbing in this story, however, ‘only a domestic.’

beckydeans

Simon Says Three

 

Your Sweetness is my weakness

 

So here we were for the jam.

I’ve always liked the idea of a jam, if I’m honest, though not the fruit kind. More, the getting together of musicians and having play.

Not necessarily improvisation. This word scares me. The uncertainty. The bit where suddenly someone points and you and it’s your turn. So you play a few scales, get confused. You know the theory as you’ve read about it, but not the practice. So the conductor gets fed up and points to the lad next to you with the flaxen hair, who manages something exciting that exactly goes with the chords and goes very high. As if they planned it. And you’re looking sheepish again.

But a general getting together of musicians with sheet music is always a pleasure. Always a joy. And perhaps not a jam. How would…

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Mrs Thomas de Quincey

In the light of a new biography on Thomas de Quincey, I reblog this piece.

beckydeans

What happened when Thomas told William Wordsworth about his new wife?

Mrs Thomas de Quincey

‘Not quite the right sort’

The report of the poet with a Phd

In snobbery, the Lakeland straight man

William Wordsworth.

‘What are you thinking, giving a ring

To a milkmaid? Affairs are one thing,

Marriage something else,’ he said, pacing

Around the room on elegant feet.

‘I mean, just think where her hands

Have been,’ he protested, dabbing his

Troubled forehead with a finely starched

Handkerchief, wringing it out

Onto the ice-sleek polished floor,

Watching the sweat drip, flicking

A lock of hair gone stray back

To the left, then right again.

De Quincey paced the room around

With his eyes, surprised by the

Reaction of his friend, so keen to

Lend his voice to the meek and poor,

To champion the cause

Of the idiots and the mad, then

Thomas became glad, because…

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Lydia -for Lydia Lawrence #amwriting #strongwomen

Good golly miss Molly 

Did you marry a man with a miner’s lamp and 

No brolly? 


Didn’t you know that the marriage bed came sprinkled with

Soot? Did he blind you

With a title, then tempt you with a butty? 


How long did you keep that aspidistra flying? 

Through the childbirth and the child death

And the end of the piano music


Spinning lace while your son 

Learnt to spin a story.

(And how were your hands

After all that washing? )


When will you hold court 

With the scientists and the academics and writers? 


(C) Rebecca Deans 2016

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Friends of Codnor Common: History of Codnor Common:

Codnor Common used to be a much larger area, stretching almost up towards Denby. The 1835 map certainly suggests as much. The whole area of Codnor was given to William Peverel, the illegitimate son of William the conqueror, after the Normal conquest. Peverel built the castle at the other side of the village.

It’s likely the area now known as Waingroves Common – the Derbyshire County Council owned amenity including the children’s park – was part of the Common, as well as the site of Waingroves Primary School. We also have deeds placing Jessop Street on Codnor Common. Much of the land was lost in the 20th century to developments such as Holborn View, Eastfield Road, and Thompson Drive. And yet this small piece of the Common has survived – and we intend to celebrate and preserve it.

Sources: Codnor.info

Village Green application 2013

New information found on Codnor.info

Scarlet Closes
In 1467 Henry Grey’s men murdered Henry Vernon’s uncle Roger who was one of the Vernon squires in Belper. A battle is said to have taken place at Codnor Castle between the households of Grey and Vernon. The Earl of Shrewsbury had to intervene and both sides had to pay £1000 fine and ordered to keep the peace. Frederick Channer Corfield records in the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal that a field to the west of the castle was once called Scarlet Closes after the blood spilt during the skirmish. However due to mining and landscaping in recent centuries all evidence is now lost.

Sources: Archaeological gleanings in the neighbourhood of Codnor Castle. Corfield, F.C., DAJ, vol. 15, 1893.
Historical research & Re-enactment
http://www.houghtonkeep.com/history/15/grey.html

 

 

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