Oh, Dylan by Katie Doherty

Dylan Thomas

Portrait by Peter Ross

Oh Dylan. How my view is so different to yours.

We may share the same blood and the tongue we speak

clatters around our mouths at speed.

In the drinking holes of Fitzrovia, I walk in your footsteps,

I stick to your every step

but how my view is so very different to yours.

The amusement rides, the distant view, the dialect,

even the birds sing a different tune here.

The sea, it stares at me but not like our sea Dylan, the waves

don’t crash about me, they just roll away because they know

I’m not a mermaid in these parts, I am just a guest watching this tiny world float by.

Oh Dylan, how my view is so different to yours.

Poem published for International Dylan Thomas Day May 14th 2017

Blood and Ink

People either love the fact I am a poet or they rip into me like poetry went out of fashion in 1889. I’m sorry that poetry isn’t your thing but neither is watching reality TV or eating animals; we all have our own lives. I do however feel, as a woman, I sometimes get a hard time as a poet. I have heard people write off Sylvia Plath in favour of Ted Hughes as “the real poet”. A comment once made by someone who will remain anonymous was that “poetry suits women, they are great at whining”. Yet male figures who open their hearts to the reader is seen as the hero. Women poets are seen as weaklings.

Sylvia Plath

Before this ridiculousness came upon me as an adult, I was a child poet, unpublished and happy as hell. I started writing poetry in school and I loved it so much I decided to keep writing on the weekends. I was enveloped by the idea that the use of colours, textures, landscapes and feelings could be put into one little poem. Of course, I copied the major poets in style and although that was enjoyable, I felt I didn’t quite have my own style yet, that would come with practise, I knew that much. Over the years I read poetry religiously and what has occurred to me is that my style is not of the formulaic way. I appreciate good rounded poetry with its certain number of stanzas etc but that is all I see it as, a great poem, in a technical sense. I however, believe that art should make you feel something. I hear amazing guitar solos in songs but sometimes they just have no groove, I hear people singing songs written by others but they have no soul, I see amazing landscape paintings but they give me no warmth…I want to feel, I want to be upset, surprised, disturbed, happy, sad, I want to laugh because it has simple made me feel something.

My poetry comes from a very deep and dark place. A culmination of thoughts, realities, experiences and feelings all collide in lines upon lines of poetry. I can’t write about pretty flowers or cats; I write about feelings, observations; it is cathartic and my very own way of expressing myself. It is a therapy that stops me from feeling utterly insane.

Anne Sexton

“Meanwhile in my head, I’m undergoing open-heart surgery.”
― Anne Sexton

It has occurred to me over the years that poets have so much in them but they feel they have to write in a certain way. Please don’t let stuffy old poetry magazine editors put you off, create your art for you and always remember this very simple thing:

Art is subjective.

Patti Smith

We cannot please everyone. If we did, then how boring would that be? Keep at it, be true to yourself and in the words of Patti Smith:

Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.

Be More Bohème

 

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Source: Aëla Labbé

Be More Bohème , that is my message but what does that actually mean?

According to the trusty internet a bohemian can be defined as a carefree soul that defies convention.

My definition? A bohemian is a magical being that moves through life sprinkling glitter with every gesture, they are always reaching for the moon and dirtying their nails in the earth. They appear as artists, Mothers, teachers, light workers, writers, witches, and mystical beings.

Bohemianism is a very romantic word; it conjures up images of starving artists at rowdy parties and caffeine highs in the cafés of Paris. This is, as I say, a romantic view but what does this mean today? From my observations and numerous conversations; we have become disillusioned. The world is moving faster than we can manage, more is expected of us and we feel like the art of creativity is “just a hobby”. We are not expressing ourselves enough, we aren’t allowing ourselves to live creative lives; we must embody the magic we were born with.

As a child I saw life as birth and death. Anything in-between was a day in, day out struggle. You were born to work and if you had a good job you were obviously more intelligent and better than anyone else (yeah right). I yearned for more, I knew there was more to this life and all these years later I have realised there really is and it is amazing!!

The bit in-between life and death is a journey and instead of trudging your way through it we must paint it with bright colours, throw glitter at it (I really love glitter) and understand who we are and where we came from. We need to explore ourselves and what is around us, understand we have the ability to heal ourselves and connect to our primal nature. We have lost that connection and being able to bring it back into your life will conjure up that sense of happiness we all wish for.

I believe the bohemian soul knows itself through and through and feeds itself until it wants to burst. You can feed it with long country walks, reading a book, sipping tea, painting, writing, dancing, playing games with children, eating a comforting dinner, cuddling up with your significant other, buying a warm blanket for the cold nights, dressing up, making pottery, filling your fingers full of rings, getting tattooed, lying on the grass staring at the stars, worshiping the moon, sowing seeds…this is food for the soul. We must learn to do what makes us happy and what makes our heart sing and not what people think we should do.

This blog was created to inspire. It is a continuous resource of inspiration and wisdom. Despite what has happened to us, what we are going through or what we try and plan for the future we must accept that this is all one big journey. We have two options; we curl up in a ball and live it in misery or we open ourselves up to the beauty of our journey. As soon as we open up, so does the world around us. So turn off the phone and tune into yourself.

Just remember one thing: you are magic my dear and I hope you can follow my journey and if you want, come on it with me.

Katie

Patchwork People: Musings on being multi-faceted

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I see it too many times, I see people shying away from their true selves because they worry about the opinion of others. They believe that people will evict them from their social circle, if you have friends like that then we will not call them friends. True friends know you well enough to enjoy your company whether it is head banging at a gig, walking around bookshops, getting tattooed or reading your poetry out loud to a hall full of patchouli wearing bohemians (which will include yourself of course). I am and have always been – multi-faceted. I am not afraid of it either. I can be whimsical and wear a victorian style dress or I can get some skinny jeans on and cowboy boots. I am just me and within that; there are a lot of different pieces waiting to be discovered.

I am an entity, a full person who is not rich in pocket but rich in appetite; an appetite for knowledge and exploration. I am interested in so many things in this world that my brain spins in my skull as every second ticks by. My observations show me that there are many people with a certain façade but inside they carry a great patchwork of loves and hates. Some of these patches are so unlike each other yet some are nearly identical, however they will never be shown to anyone else because the façade is so strong and so influenced by onlookers that the patchwork is like another person, a secret person nestled inside you. It is all good and well to have guilty pleasures but when you are not fulfilling your life when time is so short, it brings great sadness.

I may have a job but my purpose in life is undoubtedly; writing. If you look into my history, I believe I may have covered a lot of ground when it comes to my craft. My writing career has ranged from publishing traditional to surrealist poetry, gothic short stories, producing autobiographical zines, I was an occult columnist, a creative copywriter and the editor of a rock and roll magazine. I have taken the route of which I started and I am writing for myself, incorporating influences from the people that took my hand and led me down the path I so wished to walk down.

I am however, susceptible to obsessions. I may have years of reading a certain circle of authors and then I may discover something else but for me, within art, obsession is completely healthy and it feeds the mind, it feeds the soul – it is a beautiful experience because it shows you are hungry. I am always hungry, if not starving.

Whet your appetite and open up to yourself. You only have one chance on earth and you must use it. Drink it up, indulge, learn, discover and never be afraid of making mistakes. Be yourself.

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman

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I call Neil Gaiman my gardener. He helped to plant seeds and constantly water my creativity. I have a lot to thank him for.

The View From The Cheap Seats is a huge tome filled to the brim with brilliant essays on just about everything. From his life as a writer, making good art to introducing us to some of the people he has come across in his life that have made a difference. From start to finish this is a wonderful read that just inspired me so much I thought I might burst at the seams. Libraries, bookshops, music, fairytales and a bounty of creative influences – this is absolutely jam packed with so many amazing tales and inspiration for the modern day writer.

Neil isn’t someone who thinks he has a gift and that no one else can have it. Some writers tend to have egos that are so big that there is no room for anyone else in the literary world. Neil is very down to earth and open about his craft, the very nature of writing is to share stories and he does this well both in fiction and non-fiction, as you will find out in this book. He is passionate about his work, even after all these years his mind is still churning up stories that are as magical as they day he started writing these fantastical tales. He is a true gem that everyone should treasure and if you have never read any of his work then go out and find a world you will never want to come back from.

 

The Novel of the Future by Anaïs Nin

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Anaïs Nin is a name people usually associate with erotica. Well, there is a lot more to her than that. First and foremost a diarist, her work became a worldwide success and she proceeded to write essays and host several lectures.

Anaïs was very fortunate to have lived and be surrounded by some of the most wonderful bohemians of her time. She danced with them, wrote with them, supported them and endured the company of some of the most brilliant minds. This book is a wonderful collection of advice from one of my favourite writers of all time.

The Novel of the Future has been described as a manifesto. She tackles the mainstream writers of the time and compares it to her own approach to writing. Her duty within this is to pluck out the lesser-known writers and give them more credit for their. She explores her own creativity that lies in emotion, dreams, psychoanalysis and textures. This book gives a real insight into her writing. If you are someone who just thinks she wrote about sex then you should really delve into more of her work and then read this. With such insight into her writing it will really give you a deeper understanding of her world, which I believe is rather magical and compelling. This book may not be for everyone but it does include lots of inspirational tips and insights into the mind of an artist.

 

On Writing by Stephen King

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I have always been a fan of horror and as a child, I remember seeing Stephen King books at home, presumably my Mother’s as she is also a horror lover. I remember reading a couple and being quite scared by them. It was simple storytelling with wonderful imagery; I was hooked.

As a bestseller you just kind of assume that Stephen King just got published then bang…millionaire status. This is how little I knew about publishing and how little I knew about him it seems. I had seen this book in many bookshops but had never picked it up, for reasons I am not sure. I ordered it one day as I was doing research into creativity and I was absolutely bowled over by its honesty and advice.

On Writing is packed full of funny stories and useful tips that will leave you wanting to start a new novel or finish off that story you started last summer. Between a horrific accident and problems with alcohol and drugs, he has certainly come out the other side and is not afraid to tell all in this book. It is an honest and inspirational read that is constantly entertaining, it doesn’t preach and it certainly doesn’t tell you what to do. It simply hands you the tools of writing and leaves you to do what you need to with them. Basic, fascinating and practical. I believe this book should be on every writer’s book shelf.

 

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins

the-art-of-creative-thinking

Discovering this book was a fortunate stroke of serendipity. I was in a creative black hole, it was pretty bad and I had considered just become a normal person. My personal life had made being creative a chore yet the desire was still there but I didn’t know how to get it out. So, one day, my train home from work was delayed and I went into the WHSmith at the station to browse and kill some time. This book was staring at me; I stared back at it. I took it as a sign and flicked through the pages only to find some really interesting concepts and ways of thinking. I was straight to the till and I was reading it on my late train home with a hot cup of tea.

Each piece is taken from the perspective of a creative so it isn’t a stuffy writer telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing; these are the trials and tribulations of real artists making their way through their creative life.

The format of this book is not linear. Of course it isn’t, why would you want it to be? This book is something you pick up, turn to a random chapter and be inspired. Rod Judkins, of the world-famous St Martin’s College of Art has studied creative people for most of his life and this really shows in the passion behind the words. He knows how creativity is crushed and pushed aside at school so he gives you this opportunity to open up this book and get back to being that child. It urges you to try various techniques, methods and thought processes, which can help artists, writers and even office workers to indulge in their creative side.

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

 

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I picked up this book a couple of years ago on the advice of many Amazon reviews because I am very weary of the “how to write” books. When I first set out to write in my early twenties, I combed through the local library for every “how to write” book I could find. In my mind, I was obsessed with the idea that there was a formula that I hadn’t quite worked out. I wrote a lot but I thought I needed something extra to unlock that door to becoming a proper writer. Each book I picked up was so dull and uninspiring so it was an amazing feeling (although 15 year later) I would find this book; with a writer such as Raymond Bradbury you would hope the last thing you could call this book is dull.

Raymond certainly has a way with words and his advice is very thorough and straightforward. He tells it from the inside, giving writers advice that isn’t set in stone but is left for them to take away and make it their own. He is very focussed on keeping this a book for you to explore as an individual and for it not to be a “how to” book. One size does not fit all. Rewards do not come with fame and with such an individual gift as creativity inside you, why would you just be a copy of another author? All of this is explored and makes for a very interesting read which will allow you to reflect on yourself as a writer.

I would highly recommend this book if you want to be inspired. As times change from rigid publishing to bursts of DIY self-publishing, zines and blogs – this book is perfect for the writer of today. It certainly stands the test of time. It isn’t a step-by-step workbook. It is packed full of simple advice that leaves you pondering. This is about using your imagination and your experiences and getting it down on paper. To be a writer, you have to write. Right?