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I am not motivated to read, right now.  I have put The Sucker’s Kiss on top of Calamity Physics, and realised I have read about the same amount of each book.

I haven’t given up on it yet, I just don’t feel the urge to pick it up.

So for this week, I am having a brain break – only my writing can fill my skull… I am trying to fit too much in again, so reading has to take a little bit of a back seat.

Hopefully if the writing group goes well on Thursday I will be back to the books, ready to explore another writer’s imagination. But until then, it’s all about (writing) me!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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I haven’t yet finished the book I talked about last week, in fact I am not very far into it considering I’ve had a week already!

What I can say so far is I found the first couple of pages painful to read but since them, it’s been much more enjoyable.  And so far it seems that the quote last week was not reflective of the book as a whole!

I will aim to finish by next Tuesday but that’s all I can share about it today. Let’s see where the rest of the story goes!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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As I haven’t started another book since I gave up on the last one, it’s probably time to start another!

As my random selection proved a good indicator last time I am trying it again, with a book I borrowed from my mum about 4 years ago, called The Sucker’s Kiss, by Alan Parker.  So here goes:

After one particularly libidinous night with a girl called Romola in a whorehouse in Jefferson, Missouri, Soapy had an epiphany.  By chance – and don’t ask me how he found out – he discovered that Marmello could also improve your sex drive if you rubbed it on your private parts.

Ok.

Maybe that’s not a reflective selection.  I will be checking why it was recommended though 🙂

In all seriousness, I think this sounds like something I could read – but for something talking about sex with prostitutes and sex aids, it seems quite coy (‘private parts’, for example).  I will start, and hope it’s one I can see through to the end!

I will let you know…

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

 

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I made it, and just in time for a non-review…!

I gave up on the book Special Topics in Calamity Physics.  I knew when I read that first segment it was a risky one, but I was sold on the title.  I have said before we should trust our reading instincts and I didn’t.

As I can’t really review it I will just say that the style was not to my taste.  I do, however, feel that it’s more suited to a teenage audience than adults.  The constant parenthetical reference to books the narrator had read, used as a descriptive tool, got very intrusive for me.  I put it down and in nearly 2 weeks haven’t bothered to pick it up again!

However, life is a little bit complicated at the moment and I don’t really feel like writing so no doubt I will dig another book out soon…

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

 

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I didn’t write on Sunday because I forgot it was Sunday – bank holiday weekends always confuse me! Suffice it to say I was still on a high from Thursday and spent some time chatting about the open mic.

I am also going to report a book reading break: I have been reading as I said I would, but the book is languishing on the side awaiting some interest.  I find it a bit too verbose and not particularly entertaining so will decide this week whether to read on, or reject.

I am especially tempted to reject when I think how much writing time I could gain back!

I will decide by the weekend but for now the focus is on reviewing and refining work to share!

Happy reading and happy writing!

EJ

🙂

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I didn’t post yesterday as I was too busy resting on my laurels, as they say!

Thursday’s open mic night went brilliantly, far better than I anticipated: we had about 10 performers (most got up more than once), ran for an hour and a half, the venue was full and at the end a number of people asked when I was arranging the next one. And when I said November, they wanted one sooner!!

It was a huge relief, and a real buzz.

We had mostly poetry, a mix of self-penned originals and recitation of published works, but also some singing and storytelling.  For a small community, we have a lot of talent!

I can’t say how happy I am that our event was so well received; I only expected about 5 people to turn up (3 of them my family!) so to have a full house was way beyond my imagination!

Now I have to start thinking about next time!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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As I still haven’t got a book on the go, I decided to pick one from my ‘to read’ pile, open it at random, and share a quote.  If it makes me want to read, it’s all for the good, and if not, it’ll save me some time.

I chose Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. Not sure if I started this once before but I definitely haven’t finished it.

So here goes:

Hannah was wearing a housedress the color of sandpaper, crudely scissored off at the hem so tiny threads hula-danced around her shins when she opened the door.  Her face was as bare as an unpainted wall, but it was obvious she hadn’t been sleeping.

There’s a lot of description and I cut off before the metaphors got too jumbled – I don’t generally appreciate work that is tightly packed with this kind of description.

However, I love, love, love the name of this book, and the synopsis blurb sounds interesting.  So I think I will give it a go.

I should be reading comedies, but for my long weekend this might be a good choice – it’ll keep me occupied anyway.

I will not be working on poetry per se during the break, although if something comes to mind obviously I will note it down – but there will be no pressure to work, only relax and have fun.

500 pages of a possibly YA novel is a start!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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As I said on Sunday I haven’t read anything this week.

It’s been quite nice actually: the only words I have been reviewing are my own.

There are pros and cons to reading when you are writing, but for now there are too many cons. Mainly, I don’t want to lose the voice I have developed for each piece.

I probably won’t start a new book before I go off to the family wedding in a couple of weeks, because that’s when I expect to stop working on the new poems.

But, as always, I reserve the right to charge my mind.  After all, I might see a funky cover, and you know I’m a sucker for one of those…!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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As I said at the weekend, I am not reading as I am focussed on writing, so there’s nothing book- related today.

Instead, I opened a book at a random page, closed my eyes and pointed, and the sentence has to inform my next poem.

I chose Wild Swans by Jung Chang.  The sentence reads:

But all this introspection was really designed to serve no other purpose than to create a people who had no thoughts of their own.

So that’s my next challenge…  A few ideas are swimming in my head; I just need to land one!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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I finally finished my book! which was Bodily Harm, by Margaret Atwood.

I am not sure how to discuss this one. It’s taken longer than expected to read, and the tone changed dramatically in the last 35 pages which took it into an entirely different direction to the one I had expected.

The majority of the story is about Rennie, a journalist whose life has been fundamentally changed by breast cancer.  Trying to escape from her post-surgery life, she seeks an assignment far away from the complications of her newly aware existence.  She leaves behind her old partner, an affair with her oncologist, and an invisible but frightening voyeur/predator/house-breaker who left a rope on her bed after breaking into her flat.

She arrives on the island of St Antoine ready to write a travel piece but before long she is unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in the politics of the island and its neighbour Ste Agathe.

This book is partially a reverie on body confidence and the sense of loving and trusting our bodies, even when faced with challenges.  As Rennie becomes more involved with the mysterious American Paul, she begins to accept her newly scarred body.

However, it is also a tale of corruption, violence and danger, and although there is an underlying menace throughout, this really takes hold of Rennie’s story in the last 50 or so pages, with the outcome being the main focus of the last 35.

I really enjoy ‘human condition’ stories, where the plot is about a character facing a difficulty.  Therefore all these sections worked for me.

However, the other side of the story wasn’t really to my taste. The sense of foreboding was ok but the extremity of the outcome and the last 35 pages was much less enjoyable – although oddly, much quicker to read!

I think in part my reaction to it is about style. Atwood writes in a way that perfectly suits personal reflection. She has a knack for revealing how an individual views their world and how they respond to stimuli. When that gives way to looking at what is happening to a character (rather than how the character is perceiving a situation) it is less powerful.

Add to that the fact that the end feels very rushed in comparison with the rest of the story, and I think these explain why this book is not my favourite Atwood.

I read this for fun but it has made me reflect on a writing truth: as writers, we need to know what type of storytelling works best with our voice. You can stray from the path, of course, but you need to know your way back.

Playing to our strengths is the best way to get our writing noticed.

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

 

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