The knife edges ever closer to my ear in this season of the sunflower. I apologise in advance.
I told you I'd started writing poetry again some months back. I just signed a contract for one of the resulting poems to be published in an anthology this winter. I barred the press from this event - no photos were allowed. The official and only licensed PR is this blog.
Winter Love (for that is the name of my poem) started life as a song nearly twenty years ago. One of my better songs actually. About needing someone but pushing them away. Never played live as my group was defunct at this point and anyway, it's more old style American classic than rock. Jazzy chords (F#m4 anyone?), ominous lyrics, somewhat more sophisticated than my usual fayre. Think George Gershwin not George Harrison.
Winter Love is an expanded rewrite of the song. For days and weeks as I commuted to London, I tinkered with the words. Doubling the size, changing a word here, substituting a new line there, adding a more rounded feel, an ending... Taking out the chorus (well obviously).
I seem to like my writing projects these days to be shorter than previously. No more 80,000 word novels. More 2000 word shorts stories. Fifty line poems. Apart from a general laziness, there's method in my reductive penmanship.
I think I've got better as a writer over the last two years. No, correct that; I am better as a writer. Fact. As David Brent might say. End of. Short stories and poems give me the opportunity to distill the essence of a situation, a feeling, an idea. It's writing at the sharp end. No room for verbosity, for elongated set-ups, digressions, dodgy plot leaps.
My favourite feeling is when I've got to the end of short story or poem. The first draft done. For this is the start of real work! The enjoyable bit. The editing. Short stories typically lose 25% to 33% of their size at this point as I reduce, re-order, debate each and every line. Unlike this blog post which could probably do with the editing axe all over it's flabby ass (I have a train to catch).
Anyway, I wanted you to share in my success. Crack out the Cava!