Eva Holland is the Debut Author of The Daughter’s Secret – which I’m currently reading so keep and eye out for a review later this month!
“Once an action is recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act directly upon reality — that is, finally external to any function but the very exercise of the symbol — this disjunction occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death, writing begins.” – Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author (1967).
One thing that’s really been bothering me recently is the phrase that I’ve entitled this blog: “The Author is Dead, the Reader’s a Ghost, but the Work is Alive and Well.”
Now, it bother’s me more so, not because I said this to myself while reading an assortment of Barthes’ essays on narrative, authorship and the materiality of work, but because to an extent I believe it. It bothers me that I believe this statement but the actuality of the matter is that I do and as I’m typing this I’m frowning because my internal consciousness is raging so hard at how much it disagrees with this statement on principle. So I should probably contextualise everything and I’m going to address each part in sequence to do so.
- “The Author is Dead”
- “The Reader’s a Ghost”
- “The Work is Alive and Well”
To conclude, I believe this probably extents further than the creation of writing and act of reading. I don’t for one second consider this a theory or a fully-fledged argument as I am aware there are flaws to some of the logic and areas I haven’t fully given thought on. However, this is what has been whirling around in my brain for a little while and – like any dead author – I thought I better write it down.
So this is very different to what I usually write. I’d like to hope it has a little more intellectual flare to it, but I could be wrong. What I’d really love is for anyone interested or in refute o my arguments to comment below and let me know your thoughts; both on the blog and if you would like me to do more in this style of writing.
“Printed books have been wrongly declared dead or dying so many times before that I think we can be completely confident of their survival, forever undead.” Lisa Gitelman, What are Books.
- The printed book ain’t going nowhere.
- All novels are books, but not all books are novels.
- Books aren’t undead. They’re alive and kicking.
Happy New Year everybody! Here are my new years resolutions:
- Take more pictures
- Learn more technical information about photography
- Read 50 Books (5 classics, 5 debuts, 5 of a genre I wouldn’t normally read)
- Review Every Book I Read (Blog or Video)
- Write one blog a week
- Finish my novel
- Write 5 short stories
- Lose another Stone
- Draw More
- Learn to play the guitar
I have only participated in National Novel Writing Month once (which was 2 years ago now) and I did
thoroughly enjoy taking the time to do so. There was a feeling of elation as I hit 50,000 words that
cannot be compared to any other achievement.
For those unaware, NaNoWriMo is a challenge set to people, who may or may not consider
themselves to be writers, to write a novel in 30 day. For the purpose of the challenge, a novel is
distinguished as 50,000 words, which works out at around 1667 words a day.
NaNoWriMo is a good way to break the barriers of writer’s block, not having time or not being
focused enough and I learnt from it that if I really focus on something that I could actually write a
novel if I wanted to. And I do want to.
On the other hand, I do find that NaNoWriMo can give people a sense of false hope, insofar as they
believe having written a novel in 30 days they are publishable. This is highly unlikely. I’ll be the first
to admit that even though NaNoWriMo was a milestone for me and I’m proud to have completed it,
I wouldn’t dare show anyone the novel that I’d written.
I chose to go over my novel a few months ago to see if it was something that I could pick back up,
because I loved the idea and did think that I could produce some good work with it, if I started from
scratch and really worked through the plot. What I didn’t realise was that I had walked into a 17
year old mind with a somewhat dubious grip of complex grammar and even the odd spelling mistake
(even though I’m an English student, I’m far from excellent and I’ll never be a grammarian). It was
quite an experience.
What I can say is that, looking back on my NaNoWriMo novel has helped me to realise how far I have
progressed as a writer in that period of time and that I now have the ability to go over my work and
edit it to a degree that makes me happy. I also wonder if 21 year old me will go back to the novel
again and wonder what on earth the present me was writing, but I’ll have to wait to find out.
I do advise that you try out NaNoWriMo, they run a ‘camp’ all year round if you can’t participate
in November. I think it is a useful for understanding yourself as a writer. It helps you find out what
makes you tick and motivates you to keep going, because having the motivation to write can be just
as important as the words themselves.
‘This post can also be read at Brit Writers‘
The first poem I’ve written in over four months. I didn’t actually mean for the poem to come out as a concrete/visual poem but I guess luck just was in my side of the court. Anyway, I hope you like it and I will be posting a video soon as a Spoken version so keep an eye out!
Let the Bell Toll
It’s such an odd thing time.
Ever constant, yet ever changing.
And it makes me wonder, if at the chime
Of every hour, we were to think about time.
The origin of the tick tock, the too and fro.
The rhythm that you unconsciously step to and fro
As you walk down the pavement to your destination.
Be it work, school, or the swimming class where the teacher
Tries to get you to do lengths to a clock that spins with such a
Distinct speed that you find yourself watching it complete
A track of its own. Start to finish. Twelve to twelve. 360 degrees.
No matter how you say it, it still accomplishes the same thing.
And that’s the beauty about time you see. You find with ease
That the clock with tell you the truth about your place in all that is.
The clock that sits above your fire place or your chest of drawers.
The grandfather clock that proudly rings with delight at the coming
Of each new hour and with it new opportunities. Striking awe
Into the grandchildren who run down the corridor,
not yet grasping the magnitude
Of his helping hands.
Ciao for now! x
I’ve often debated about the concept of spoken word poetry. I’ve watched a few performances over the past year and become more open to the idea. I had never read any of my poetry aloud or even contemplated it. But the other day I finally decided to change that. I recorded my first attempt at spoken word poetry. Granted the video was of a poem I wrote over a year ago, but I felt the poem had a sense of intimacy from the speaker that didn’t translate as well when read. This is the video:
For my first attempt, I’m pretty happy with it. Though I doubt I’ll be going to any open mic nights any time soon. I really enjoyed getting to add my personal touch to the voice of the poem. As a person who studies English and has a particular interest in speech and voice I really enjoyed considering each line and how to enunciate them.
I’m definitely considering doing more spoken word, but mostly to get feedback on what people think of my … I guess you would call it a performance. So if you would like to give me any feedback I would greatly appreciate it.
Some of the major differences I found between writing poetry and attempting to read it aloud were as follows:
1 – Syllables:
I always knew syllables where important to poetry. Finding you’ve managed to remember the difference between iambs, trochees, dactyls and anapaests, can feel like quite the achievement when writing. Sonnets make this feat particularly evident. I especially found this noteworthy when reading aloud because I had set the poem to a structure of 3 stanzas, 22 lines a stanza and 10 syllables in the first stanza decreasing by one syllable each stanza. I thought this came through very well when spoken because the lines became shorter and more intense as the poem continued. This reflected in my speech as I spoke the stanzas progressively faster.
2 – Syntax:
Some of the lines of the poem seemingly flowed well when written such as “That are embedded
forever, n’er to be shredded;
of a lust so blind that it burns
backstabbing like a branch from firs.”
This section of the first stanza I thought read quite well. However, in reality when I spoke this section it seemed quite irregular. A lot of the time poetry does deviate from regular syntax because it creates an interesting and emotive perspective but I felt this section didn’t really work the way I had hoped it would.
3 – Change of Voice:
In the second stanza we hear a couple of lines for the object of the poem. The male past lover. This is a bit more difficult to pick out when you’re speaking because there’s only really two ways you could go about it; change your appearance or voice. I did neither of these because it was only after I uploaded the video that I really noticed this part.
So I’ve decided I’m definitely going to make more of these videos and I’m looking forward to developing my spoken word style as well as start writing some more poetry because its been quite a while now since I wrote a poem. I went from writing one every day to writing none at all. I think I’ve taken a long enough break now to try and get myself back into a creative mindset. That is, before university comes and stomps all over it again.
Take care people!
This is a short story I wrote for my AS Level Coursework.
Death of Fear