Poetry Archive :: There Was No Glory

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks researching Art History: sculpture is an intrinsic part of man’s expression, from simple carving to increasingly sophisticated works of anatomical complexity and accuracy. It was this desire to record history in three dimensions that ultimately inspired this week’s haiku.

You can find my Art History series on Instagram by clicking here.

There Was No Glory

History, written
In stone across centuries:
Strong, solid stories.

All those deities
Religious diversity:
Bound by common theme.

Struggle to survive,
Wars and conflict: their reward,
Carved as testament.

There was no glory
At moment’s definition:
Simply quiet relief.

Lasting legacy,
Entropy not yet destroyed:
Victory, remains.

Run for Home

For as many days as it has been possible this week, I’ve dragged myself into the Gym. Amazingly, only on two days has this been about exercise to a point. On the others, I’m there to use the treadmill as a writing tool. 

This is probably going to require some explanation.


Once upon a time, I’d have real trouble trying to work out how ideas would develop past that first massive burst of creativity. I then developed a means by which I’d use pieces of music effectively as the backgrounds for ‘narrative videos’ that would run in my head, roughly corresponding with the pace and timing of actions that would then be written down. It is the reason why that whenever I now hear ‘Whoops, I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears I don’t think about the music video that accompanies it, but my fanfic-created Bond heroine Ronni Flemmings bursting out of a control room using a chair as a shield and summarily killing Ernst Stavro Blofeld completely by accident.

I’ve ruined a lot of pieces of music this way, but the destruction of meaning is always worthwhile.

Before I got as serious about exercise as I have now become, being on a treadmill with a musical soundtrack used to be the means by which I’d sort out the kinks and holes in narratives. Returning to my novel over this last six weeks has made me grasp that there was no longer the time to do this: suddenly, whenever I’m doing physical stuff it is to meet a target or complete an objective. The simpler days of just walking and thinking have somehow gone amiss. Therefore this week, re-instigating the treadmill as a writing tool required a massive twenty-five track playlist, constructed in chronological order to match my action. Most significantly, none of the music must have been made after 2005.

On Tuesday I went into the Gym, plugged myself in and thirty minutes later had managed to solve three major issues that were holding me back in plot terms. Today, the last quarter of the book is blocked, with each major sequence ready to write. There’s also been a piece of music added, that forms a vital part of the late narrative, section I’ve been frightened to write for over a decade because of the intensely personal nature of the content. It is the means by which I tie past back to present, and remind the female protagonist of the life she once knew but has lost contact with. This track was the crack which burst the dam of writer’s block, once and for all, and I’ve not been able to stop writing since.

Every writer is different: how you maintain focus and drive as individual as eye colour or shoe size. For me, music is at the heart and soul of every piece written. Without it, I would be considerably less than a whole.

I predict a considerable amount of treadmill in my future.

Is It Worth It?

Today is a ‘ponder your existence’ day.

I’ve formed a lot of personal relationships over the years with people who, it must be said, seem to have little or no interest in me. The associations have, for the most part, come about from moments of brief brilliance: a chance meeting in a game, or maybe a glorious exchange via Social media. After that moment, one of two things tends to happen. That person either a) gets bored and simply vanishes or b) has a massive, almost nuclear meltdown, flounces off and is never seen again.

I seem to fall in love with the hopeless cases.

For me, the Internet is a second home. This is sometimes a bit unhealthy (and, of late, I am attempting to curb my time on Twitter because there are no longer enough hours in the day to get everything done otherwise) and is historically cyclical. Once the weather gets better I’ll be outside anyway, but for now, we’re using Social media as a means to sell ourselves. However, not a day goes by when I watch someone who used to be active and enjoyable on the platform drift into the past without a goodbye.

It can get quite depressing if one allows this romantic association to consume the rational, sensible part of brain that gets how anonymity works. Now my real name is attached to my Twitter accounts, there’s no escaping the truth of what I am, but as I’m unlikely to have to worry about being employed in a massive multinational anytime soon, having my Boss turn up to read Tweets is not a major concern. Still, honesty does matter. Today I’ve been lied to and that hurts.


Having a long memory on the Internet is useful. Remembering who was the dick and the hero, understanding the people prepared to have a conversation when you need one, the person with the best GIFs… all these things add up to the perfection of a Decent Online Experience. Of course, none of this matters one iota to the person with their own agenda, who’s just here to get a quick fix of narcissistic joy. Like all things, your experience will vary. I’m here for the long term, however, so it matters a great deal that the environment is conducive for me to survive. Therefore, you unfollow the hacked accounts, you block the obvious robots, and life goes on regardless.

Today, however, I miss the good people who went away, the ones I can’t get to be there anymore, and my friends who no longer communicate.

I think I miss them most of all.

You Oughta Know :: Two

Yesterday, quite frankly, was one of the most important days I’ve had since this whole project began.


Progress on the Novel had stalled. Twelve days of minimal movement, if at all. The problem, such as it stood, was my insistence that plot needed to go a certain way because that’s been the plan since I began in 2001. Except I couldn’t write what was needed, the narrative complexity was simply too much for my poor brain to cope with. This week, at the Gym, I’ve been doing negative repetition: this is when you make muscles work in a manner which feels contrary to what would normally build strength but in fact quite the opposite.

It was this reverse approach that finally allowed me to break the writing deadlock.

In the end, all the sparkle and glamour was unnecessary. What was required was understanding that showing and telling are far more flexible constructs than first considered, and I could do both without compromising anything. I don’t need to be at this point in the narrative anymore, and it is time to move on, and the cupboard allows all that frippery to become pointless. One more short scene and finally I’m into a bit of narrative that will be fun to write. That was the big issue: this bit needed to happen, but I didn’t want to.

Without the push to do stuff I don’t like, none of this would be taking place.


What looked like an improbable finish date of March 15th is now seeming far more doable. It will still require editing, yes, but only the second half. Completion totally with a measure of editing by Easter is now the next goal. This is totally unchartered territory to boot, close to 80k words of original work. I’ve already got people lined up to read once I’m done, too, and there’s no real fear or anguish over that either. Amazingly, I’m looking forward to feedback, and I frankly won’t care if people don’t like it. Right now, the bigger goal is to get to the end.

What matters more to me now than popularity is the completion. Writing has not become a means to change the World just yet. However, in my own part of that whole, it is more significant than at any point in the last 51 years, and that’s just amazing.

A reckoning is fast approaching.

You Oughta Know :: One

I’m not here for your benefit.

The more progress made, the further down the road travelled, comes a realisation that matters to nobody but me. Every time a personal record is bettered, or a target attained, this is not cause for celebration. A lot of the time, it isn’t fun either. Hard work is not, on certain days, its own reward, whatever the fuck the motivational posters might tell you otherwise. Those people who look comfortable and secure in their public personas… I have no idea how that happens. Faking it til you make it is a waste of good time and effort.


I’m here to admit some days this is horrible.

‘If you don’t like cycling, then stop’ my husband says, each time I do a ride where it is a struggle physically. His advice is based on a sound concept: he enjoys what he does hugely, but has never struggled with shortness of breath or a lack of physical strength. He is not stressed by large groups of people or the perception others have of him. He is lucky enough to have that easy comfort in abundance, and it would be fair to state that is one of his most attractive qualities. I don’t, and all the things he takes in his stride can often just stop me in my tracks. Yet, I’ll be back on a bike, and I’ll keep working on all those things that vex me, because I don’t like them.

Life is not just about being happy.


The most satisfaction gained, ultimately in my own head, is doing the stuff that’s difficult. That never used to be the case, of course, but as I’ve grasped the importance of using time well, that desire has risen and will not be quelled. Sure, it would be fabulous to just sit back and do nothing, but that achieves nothing. The real, tangible progress made on writing is in direct response to my determination not only to get fit but to stay there and do more. Without the physical exercise, none of this would ever have happened.

Sometimes to get what you want, you need to be unhappy.


There are two parts to this post for a reason, because the flip side of getting upset and angry when things go wrong is not, as my family sometimes believe, an attention seeking ranty pants moment. The oddest things count as motivation for writers, and I am only beginning to grasp the reality of why stories matter so much to me. It is creating worlds where I feel comfortable to live, that make sense in my head as not simply ideals, but what ought to be the norm going forward.

Writing is no longer therapy, but a way to gain long-term satisfaction.

The Last Time

As we head towards the end of the month, things have (on reflection) gone remarkably well. Next month is already well in hand, and there are plans on the table for April too.  However, it is becoming apparent that after yesterday’s post on the Novel, and some quite serious poking of said manuscript both Thursday and today, it won’t be finished by the end of February. In fact, if truth be told, it won’t be anywhere close to being done.


Rather reassuringly, it has nothing to do with me giving up and losing interest: in fact, quite the opposite is true. What I’ve now discovered is that what was the middle third of the action does not have nearly as much solidity and structure as was first believed. This means that I’m now laying down foundations instead of finishing decoration and placing furniture. As a result, my rather optimistic ‘yeah we can do this in four weeks’ now looks like a complete pack of lies.

It also means that pitching a work that’s not done seems a bit fraudulent, to be honest. So, I think we’ll pass on this one, make this work really solid and special, and then I can read the book I got on how to publish shiz and work from there. Right now, all that matters is to finish something. That’s the goal not yet achieved, the prize that matters personally more than anything else, and with a head full of fuzz as has been the case for the best part of a week thanks to menopausal hormone overload? That really will be an achievement.


So, next week’s WiP Day will be to get me to 80k with some actual structure. I’m working on the foundations until then. I’ve even altered the counter because honestly, it has to be done. I’m aiming for Easter to get this out to people to read, as in an Alpha Reader kind of way. March 15th is D-Day now, and I’m feeling supremely confident. No really, I am.


Watch this space. No really, cool stuff is and will happen. There’s no stopping me now 😀

Keep on Running

It is high time we did a NOVEL UPDATE.

As you can see, the words keep going, and as the header shows, we have a NEW COVER for the book. Yesterday, however, during editing, there was a bit of a bump in the road:

The trashing, in the end, has not lost much progress, but I have gone backwards, so the hope today is to work once I’ve written this and then after exercise, and then (again) tonight so when we hit WiP day on Thursday I have a fighting chance of getting well ahead of my goal. Day 15’s plan is 57k but honestly, I need to be closer to 70k if there is any chance of having a successful result. Then I have to be writing a pitch for this thing to see if I have any chance of catching the eye of a publisher.


What will undoubtedly be a better use of my time is buying the book these guys have written and guaranteeing myself a free one hour pitch, which I’ve now done. However, it will be useful to see if I can do the business without, so I’ll be putting my stuff together at the weekend. Until then, it is time to focus on getting the narrative on a path that seems sensible, sorting out the dialogue, and working to the final word total. Needless to say, I’m still insanely confident this is all gonna get done in the timescale, AND IT IS STILL FUN.


As long as it stays that way, everything is going to plan…