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Before this ridiculousness came upon me as an adult, I was a child poet, unpublished and happy as hell.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

Create A Feast For The Soul

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From a personal perspective, the artist’s mind is never still. We may have crystal clear clarity on a project but our minds are still thinking of 1001 different things we can write or create. This had led me to take on many projects over the past 15 years. I have been a magazine editor, the owner of a zine distro, a zine writer and a publisher. The latter is still very much in my blood and I will continue to publish anthologies. However, I have done many other things that may not have lasted or have changed in the course of their infancy. I have beaten myself up for years because I truly believed that I didn’t actually make anything out of these ventures. I was expected that this “writing thing you do” would bring me my own house, two cars and the luxury to go on holiday three times a year. It is only now that I realise, I haven’t failed at all. You see, we all let our upbringing, our peers and the media dictate success. It also dictates our happiness and I have learned that watching foxes play or hearing birds singing in a nearby tree is much more rewarding than a £250 handbag. I enjoy buying second-hand books, inexpensive journals and tea. I like to feed my soul and not my ego or anyone else expectations.

We want happiness and that doesn’t always come with success. True happiness comes from within and from personal accomplishment. On my daily commute I am always sat with people in suits, obviously on their way to their high paid, high-powered jobs. They look down at this black clad girl that is dripping in silver jewellery, dark lined eyes and raven hair. They think I am below them but do you know what I really want to do? I want to stand up and shout “I am the richest person on this train” – I am. I don’t have a great deal of money but I have what I need. Yes, need not want. I have a home, I have food on the table, enough money to buy books and I write. It’s all I need and to me that isn’t failure, that is success. If success to you is being rich and famous then we are obviously using a different ruler to measure things.

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Have the courage to cut things dead if you don’t feel like your project isn’t working. Re-evaluate it first, sit down and brainstorm, sleep on it and then wait a few days. Still don’t want to pursue it? Then put it aside. Never think you have failed. Move on. It’s like looking at your CV and telling a new employer that you failed at all these jobs because you left them, no, it is called evolving, growing and moving on. Just because we are discussing creativity it doesn’t make it any less real. Feedback can be good and if it’s critical then take that on-board but remember, don’t tolerate the backwards, conformist way of life; let your freak flag fly.

To Die For Your Art: A Tribute to Elise Cowen

“The Lady …
The lady is a humble thing
Made of death and water
The fashion is to dress it plain
And use the mind for border” 
― Elise Cowen

elise-cowen

I’m not sure why but the first time I ever set eyes on a picture of Elise Cowan I wanted to know more about her. I can’t explain why, I just felt something. What I did find was a marvelous poet with a brilliant mind. She was a woman dressed in black with these thick-rimmed glasses; little did I know just how much I would love her work. Why am I writing about her? Well I know you can find anything you like on the Internet but I want you to know her and read her work. It is a rather sad tale and I believe that no one should ever be left in their literary grave and go unnoticed.

I often wondered, what ever happened to the women of the Beat Generation? They may have written, they may have sat next to Ginsberg in a café or along the bar next to Kerouac but what lurked inside them. Some of these women were thought of as the muse or the girlfriend; the hanger-on. Deep down these women had fire in their bellies and poetry in their souls and it was dying to come out, dying to be heard. Disturbingly, I have read pieces online saying that the Beat women were just not good enough writers but of course every piece of art is subjective; it is for the reader to decide. Elise did not want to be unsuccessful or contained in any way. She hated the fact that becoming a successful writer like the men around her could be an impossible task. She was admitted into hospital because of the deterioration in her mental health but soon checked herself out; she went back to her parent’s house where she committed suicide. Elise was just 28 years old.

Her lifelong depression was certainly reflected in her poetry. Her work was very real, very haunting with a free form structure. It felt distant yet so personal and relevant. During her short life, Elise didn’t have any poems published and it is very sad to learn that only a small portion of her poetry survived of which some have appeared in various collections thanks to a friend of hers. In 2014 a volume was put together from her only surviving notebook, titled Elise Cowen: Poems and Fragments, edited by Tony Trigilio.

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Recognized only for her associations in the Beat movement, her writing went unseen. We never hear that Elise was a writer, they often say “wasn’t she Ginsberg’s girlfriend?” After her death her parents burnt her work, its content disturbed them with its references to sex and drugs and they didn’t want it going public. To burn the very words that seep from a writer’s soul is to destroy it altogether but her poetry still lives on. Her parent’s decision to burn her work is quite disgraceful but like a phoenix, she certainly did rise from the ashes even if she isn’t around to see just how many people enjoy her work.

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Putting One Word After Another: The Magic Of Writing

chair-1836421_1280“If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.
You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.
The process of writing can be magical. …Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.”

Neil Gaiman


I think there could be a chance that most of us creators wander the earth in hope of being struck by the most wonderful inspiration. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen like that  – although you may get an idea. This is what inspiration really is to me, an idea. This idea cannot be fully formed in one single moment like most people think.It needs to be developed, stretched, trimmed and molded into something that makes sense or not, depending on your school of thought.

I spent many years waiting for this great moment only to find that it never really existed and the truth of the matter is if I had just waited I would never have written anything at all. I have a romantic notion about seeing an event or being told something terribly important and that sparks an idea, a novel, a Hollywood blockbuster…but it never happens. What does happen is a tiny seed is planted in my mind, consciously or subconsciously and during its infancy it makes me write notes, do research, seek new places to visit and collect images. Then it grows bit by bit until it is a full-grown flower that blooms. That seed won’t just fly through the air and land on you, sometimes you have to call it to you and that is by sitting down and writing. You can start with notes, you could read lots of books of the same genre you wish to write in, you never know when that seed is ready to be planted but you have to help it along. I think we can probably match this to the “I wish I could win the lottery” grumble only to find out that this moany person never plays the lottery. If you don’t put the wheels in motion you will never know where your creative adventure will take you.

On occasion I have written parts of a story only to come across a new possibility. My character has done something that could change the whole course of the tale – it is a brilliant feeling, at that point I don’t want to leave my desk. Without making myself sit and do the work – that amazing change would never have happened. I don’t want to labour the point here but you need to sit down and write and write and write. If you write something you believe is just rubbish, keep it, it may be useful at some point. Even if you write one paragraph at least you know you have written something.

Never give up on it, no matter what. If your life’s work is to be a writer then you know what to do…write.

Faerie Magazine

Faerie Magazine is a rare creature. It combines intelligent features with some of the most beautiful photography. Far from the realms of silly subculture fashion it brings in every element of beauty and magic in the form of history, home décor, recipes, poetry and fiction. A publication you can certainly lose yourself in, its content imagery is something you can hear, smell and touch; it’s fabulous.

The idea of a magazine dedicated to the faerie culture may sound rather odd and far too whimsical for this cynical world but alas; they have hit on something here. The magazine brings about the oldie worldie, the traditional and the free spirit that can be found in all of us, if we let it. Quietly coaxing out your inner magic; we all have it in there. Whether you want to put on a Victorian tea party, require fashion advice from Oscar Wilde, glimpse into magical homes or learn how to make beautiful jewellery; Faerie Magazine is your bible.

Both printed and digital copies are available here