‘Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell’

I couldn’t not upload this after coming across it following my last post. Poster of this for my wall please.

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‘Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell’

by Marty McConnell 

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
you make him call before
he visits. you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

http://www.martyoutloud.com/frida-kahlo-to-marty-mcconnell/ 

Frida Kahlo Love

 

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“I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

“to feel the anguish of waiting for the next moment and of taking part in the complex current (of affairs) not knowing that we are headed toward ourselves, through millions of stone beings – of bird beings – of star beings – of microbe beings – of fountain beings toward ourselves”

“You deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves, and that is the only thing that really counts.”

“I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.”

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

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I keep seeing quotes by her floating around everywhere on social media or on blogs and thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. Despite her being an artist, so many of these can be applied to writers too. Always that correlation between art and writing. There’s just something so raw, honest and unapologetically self-focused about her and her work. Somehow, while it can be called self-absorbed, it becomes something positively celebrated as opposed to negative despite the subjects of her paintings. I guess because it’s done in a more artistic and sophisticated way than we are used to seeing nowadays.. Because why shouldn’t we take all our pain, happiness and experience and dash it all out on paper or canvas? Some of us are living the best stories we could ever tell. I salute those who have the imagination and will to step out of themselves completely, but for those like me who often draw from ‘the self’ and take it into fiction, people like these are pretty inspirational when you get stuck on writing and begin to doubt yourself. And I’m always a sucker for any stoic, enduring, outspoken female who had no other way to express herself but therapeutically through art. I’m now going to spend the rest of my day on the internet, rewatching the film based on her.

 

Some thoughts on #womenagainstfeminism

I recently found out about this via BBC news. My first thoughts were: frown, what?, hmm okay, No. I call myself a feminist yet at the same time refrain from doing so because of the social stigma that comes with it and trends such as this one. On one hand, being a feminist gives me a community of women to relate to, share experiences with. On the other hand, it makes me wonder about the message I’m sending out, what I’m fighting for, and whether these issues are actually issues. However, a hashtag of women against feminism instantly makes me align myself with the feminists. Because it’s one thing not calling yourself a feminist, and another being against feminism. It is disappointing, because this is another example of women vs women, still competing and slandering and completely missing the message entirely.

After looking around a bit on the Women Against Feminism Tumblr, I understood where some of the women were coming from. i.e. the deconstruction of family life, the extreme anti-men agendas. No, being a housewife by choice and having a loving family does not make you weak. No, asking a guy to open a jar or carry something heavy for you instantly does not make you a ‘weak’ woman. Yes, these attitudes as this towards other women are definitely toxic and belittling.

But we still need feminism when 200 Nigerian girls are kidnapped because Western education is a sin. When women are expected to be housewives or perform certain ‘gender roles’ without a choice. When still, in current day, girls as young as 14 are sold into marriage and childbearing, prohibited from learning any other skill or pathway because ‘they will have no use for it’. When I see descriptions of tablets made for women who aren’t inclined to family life and children, to make them more so. When FGM still exists in our society and has crippling effects on its victims. When women are labelled as ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ for speaking out. When they’re frowned upon for approaching taboo topics that might be harsh for their gentle manner.

What the hashtag #womenagainstfeminism misunderstands is how feminism is not about anti-men, anti-hetrosexual relationships and nuclear families. It is about choice and equality and having the freedom to make those choices and recognising individual circumstances and desires. And the extent to which we, as a society, make people feel comfortable with such choices. I also couldn’t help but notice that most of these problems are rooted in privilege of the ‘first world’. We have the privilege to choose to educate ourselves by going to college or not. To love, marry and have a family with who we want or not. To dress how we like. To walk free in public spaces and compete for almost every job. To drive, to live alone, to move out. Things that we take for granted which women in other parts of the world are still fighting for.

Even in our society, the media dictates and socialises young girls into looking pretty, and the most appealing they possibly can through the way they dress and appear. When it leads to women getting cosmetic surgeries at young ages, anorexia, bulimia, to social insecurities, suicide, to infinite stress and the hours we spend on making ourselves beautiful according to someone else’s pre-defined standards. When women judge each other as a form of inverted misogyny. Yet even these are still first world problems compared to the examples given on this blog which sums it up way better than I could.

To me, the hashtag #womenagainstfeminism calls out the privilege that it is rooted in and ignorance of the wider world and even often their wider communities. Most of us live in multicultural societies where problems like these still go on even if on a smaller scale. It ignores considerations of race, ethnicity, class and backgrounds. Those using the hashtag may not feel oppressed because of their gender, but there are still thousands, even millions of women who are. Yes, modern feminism does need to move beyond rallying naked in New York streets and the cm measurements of the hair on our legs, to the bigger world. But to be against even recognising that there are women, even young girls who still need feminism isn’t simply ignorance, it’s attitude devoid of any human compassion.

Some other pretty great articles I came across while reading on this are below:

http://iwantedwings.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/a-response-to-women-against-feminism/

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/i-was-a-woman-against-feminism-too-9623742.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rossalynwarren/heres-how-one-feminist-responded-to-women-who-say-they-dont

Blogging

I’ve been having one of my quiet spells, mainly to give myself some time to grow. My blog entries had begun to feel quite forced and I realised that the reason I blogged so little is partly because I never felt sure about myself. While blogging is a very cathartic process, it is also a very vulnerable one at times. And blogging constantly about my own self/life had begun to feel too self indulgent/angsty teenager as of the past 6 months or so. The whole world does it, I know. And it’s all very current, sharing your life online and kudos to those who do because it requires something. But I guess I prefer to make connections and talk to people personally as opposed to sharing publicly. That and the fact that I have been reading some pretty great articles about the pros and cons of blogging, and other pretty awesome blogs in general. These lead me to clean up the blog, draft the ‘journal’ posts that I wanted to keep for my own eyes, and blog about something else worthwhile. I could just not blog entirely, but I missed having a voice.

The aforementioned articles are below, in no particular order (the ones that I remember and can find links to anyway):

Litro Magazine: Blogging Towards a Publication - Even if you don’t want to be blogging towards a publication, the basics apply.

- Blogging Your Passion: Why No One Cares About Your Blog – Nice and to the point.

- Book Careers: Is Your Blog Killing Your Job Search? – They are definitely worth subscribing to.

Point Omega and National Poetry Day

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We recently read Don DeLillo’s Point Omega for a workshop  and came across an interview of his in which he says he changes the words of his sentences to fit the rhythm, even if it completely alters the meaning. I find this bizzare, brave and liberating at the same time. We’ve all put a word in a sentence at some point that has never seemed right and then spent hours trying to find one that says exactly the same thing. As writers, we attach a lot of meaning to our pieces and we hate letting that meaning go. Especially those of us who have been brought up to constantly ask ‘what does the author mean? What meaning can I take away from this?’ when reading other texts. Some of us don’t think that capturing the essence of meaning, as opposed to tying it down to each end is sometimes enough. I must admit it has made me less hesitant to write poetry. Because for me, that’s one of the difficulties of it; capturing the meaning yet being concise with it in such a short form.

A while ago someone sent me a YouTube link to performance poetry and it gave me a clearer sense of writing poetry too. Made me wonder why I hadn’t found one myself before. Also got me thinking of how poetry has always been written to be read aloud and performed. I’m not saying it has made it writing any easier, I still struggle and fret about whether it’s any good, but it helps having people around who you can trust to give you honest feedback. I guess I’m not ready to give up on poetry. It was what got me into writing, was what I wrote to begin with. Even though now, I look back and cringe horribly  at my younger self at the quality and teenage topic choices. But even back then I wrote to express. The best writing comes from the inside but it can sometimes be the worst because of our attachment to it.

I hadn’t actually meant to come on here and blog about poetry but I guess it’s fitting as it is national poetry day. I’ve written about five lines of two different poems in draft form on my phone over the past week just before dozing off to sleep. Lately I’m embracing the high points in life that not only make you write, but make you write fearlessly and worry about the ‘quality’ later. Being self critical can sometimes be counterproductive.

It wouldn’t be a proper entry without me sharing a poem. I really could list so many from Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and so many of Emily Dickinson’s… I came across Carol Ann Duffy for the first time at A-Level and since then, this has been my all-time favourite poem. I find it so beautiful. Another one worth checking out is ‘Answering Back’, an anthology edited by her. What I love about it is that it’s contemporary poets responding to poets of the past, and you can see the comparison and how the poems compliment each other. Makes you appreciate and understand the works even more and smile at the witty responses. Reading the anthology, you really do get a sense of a conversation being carried on through the ages, and how time has altered opinions and attitudes. Definitely worth checking out. For now, this is my all-time favourite Duffy poem.

Words, Wide Night by Carol Ann Duffy
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.
La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you
and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

Creative Procrastination

I was meant to be doing essay planning/research. Instead, I downloaded some Photoshop brushes and slapped out a background. Haven’t used photoshop for things like this since.. well.. over 4 years now. Hence the amateur feel. And they came out way girly than I intended but I had fun doing it. Sometimes it’s good to do things in the moment rather than later even if it means putting off some necessary work. Sometimes. I guess I miss art. After being lost in a world of words it’s a nice, silent, visual escape. More cathartic than anything.

Any tips/comments welcome.
floral original

Floral-3

Floral-blue

flower-black-and-white

Brushes thanks to:

Abstract Grunge Pack by ~salvager

Floral Brush Set by =Lileya

Vintage Scratch by ~melemel

Experimental writing/pastiche

So I realise I talk about writing a lot but this blog does not really contain much of it due to that whole fear of keeping your work safe, plagiarism etc. This is something I wrote in the style of Jeanette Winterson as part of an assignment. It explores the themes of cliches, love, postmodernism and of course, the theme of pastiche in itself. We had a pretty amazing tutor for the module and I actually found it really inspiring. I thought doing this piece would be a bit difficult. It kind of was at first because with every single line I wrote I had to stop myself from crossing it out because it sounded so cliched. But when I got into it, it actually came in a really nice flow. Sometimes it’s nice to loosen up your writing.

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When you fall in love it will hit you like a truck. But I am the observer of the crash. The blood splatters onto my clothes, the ambulance lights dance across my face. You have struck me but the hospital tells me there are no broken bones to mend, nothing I can recover from. But I can see the scars. In the nights they are my silver linings.

I love you. We say it not always as a declaration but as a question. And the answer is not always what we want to hear. You told me not to love you. You had nothing to give me. No pearls picked deep from the ocean, no chains strung around my neck. But you have chained me with never ending syllables and letters, joined by conjunctions and there are no full stops, no place for lack to find a weak link to plot against us. Against me. It could catch us trying to trick words for presence. I did not want the lack of you. Your face is in a glass. I can stare and listen but I cannot touch it. In the silence of the night your voice breaks the hum of the frequency. My eyes search the darkness for a shape that is not there. I did not want this.

I wake with your name lodged in my throat. It rakes the sides of my veins, and I keep trying to swallow down the salty taste of blood with saliva. The mirror tells me I am guilty. It has evidence to prove it and I have to hide it out of necessity. Secretly, I admit my guilt and stay locked in your virtual prison. The screen becomes my four padded walls and I sit on the three-legged chair with wires hooked to me in a state of paralysis. It is not long before my lips lose their corpulence and pouts turn into prosaic. 

When you fall in love it will hit you like a truck. I walk bare footed, back and forth across the wide, empty highway. The skin on my soles tugs against the tarmac until my feet are crimson and dry with blood. I hear a horn multiple years away. There is a tiny ball of light in the far distance. 

We create the story from the beginning, romanticize it and rehearse it. The cinema trips, the dinners in the dark. We act it out and if the plan goes accordingly we call it fate, destiny, soul mate. If the plan fails we call it heartbreak. 

Food For Thought: WHY?

Questioned Proposal by Eleaf

WHY?

People ask the question why as if there is always an answer. Does having an answer make the deed better than not having one? To me it sometimes seems to be some form of a pathetic justification. Sometimes if there is an answer it is almost unsatisfactory. So why ask the question? Normally it is to gain some understanding. But people often say ‘I understand, but that doesn’t make it any better’. Understanding implies transgression. If you cannot forgive and most past it then do you really understand?

New Year Thoughts

One of the things that have been bugging me lately though is the prospect of graduation. The second term is already near beginning and I’m wondering how I even got through the first term. When I started the degree I wanted to be a writer, who worked in a publishing/editing company. Now I’m not so sure. Then looms the question of what really sells a book? Is the author of 50 Shades a writer or am I a good writer if I get a first on my short fiction piece? When I started writing I wanted to write to change something, to change people’s views, to make them think. Whenever I write I feel like I need to write and tell a story. I still want to be a writer but when I go to write, my thoughts are constantly overshadowed by the question of ‘is it any good?’ Even now as I type my fingers have this huge urge to just stop and erase. Already I’m aware of the amount of times I’ve used the words like ‘guess’ and ‘suppose’. Words that give away uncertainty, but provide safety so you can balance yourself on the middle area, wavering from one side to the other.

To be honest I feel like that’s what I do constantly with my life. I waver. Between parts of who I am, parts of who I am around my family, my friends. We all probably do that to an extent. I’m an awkward person socially. I feel reluctant to even say that because nowadays it’s a phrase that is thrown around a lot. It’s good in a way because it allows people to be more honest if they are, but on the other hand, you hear people say it who manage to carry themselves off very well. What they’re going through inside is another matter I guess. But I’m pretty awkward to the point that I’ll do something stupid like miss the change slot on the bus and let the coins topple everywhere during a busy hour (happened pretty recently).boooks

I’m currently considering doing a masters in creative writing but I feel like by doing a masters I’ll be surrounding myself again with the safety of an academic life. Granted I’m accepted, of course. But I crave knowledge. I want to do a masters in creative writing though, and you could argue that you don’t need to be taught to write. But I think there’s a difference between being a writer and being able to write. My degree has definitely taught me how to write about what I want and I want to continue that. I want to continue having people around me to read and be read by. To criticise and be criticised by, and to tell me about books I haven’t read. Before I started it I had very little idea about the outlets for writers locally, how to approach publications, competitions, different industries, organisations, etc. And as much as I have been determined ever since to not be a teacher, the idea of teaching creative writing at higher education is one I’m beginning to find appealing.

I didn’t really know what I had set out to write about with this entry, but it has been a pretty long one and mostly tailored towards academic life and future plans. It’s conventionally ‘new year’ and somewhat cathartic.