Collection Update #4 – Digital and Print

Some good news 🙂 The book is all done and I’m waiting on a test copy from the printers. This does mean that the book most likely won’t be available in print on the release date, but it WILL be available as an eBook (which is cheaper). I want to make sure the book looks good before I order more copies or set it up as print-on-demand. If all goes well, I should *hopefully* have print copies available in May, but the 20th April remains the release date for the digital version!

Collection Update #3 – Title, Cover + Release Date

So…I’ve been finishing up with the collection (only formatting stuff left to do) and I am happy to announce the title, cover and release date!

So, drum roll, please…

cover

I might make minor changes, but this is largely it! And my (hopeful) release date is 20th April 2016, which, appropriately, is the one-year anniversary of the beginning of a lot of the crap I have written about.

Even if printed copies don’t make it by 20th April, I will make sure the eBook version is available. Details about that will hopefully be in my next post! I’m going to bulk-order some printed copies, which will make it cheaper than getting them printed individually on demand.

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Collection Update #2

Hi everyone.

Sorry for not updating more regularly. I’m kind of swamped with classwork and trying to edit my novel at the moment, so I haven’t had much time to write for this blog. The poetry collection is still underway, I want it to be out by May/June at the very latest as afterwards I will be concentrating on my dissertation and my novel. But I haven’t forgotten this blog, I promise! I will hopefully have some more sample pieces up soon, but I’m so keen for the collection to showcase brand new and unseen material that I’ve been keeping everything for that instead. Hopefully with my next post, I’ll be announcing the title and the cover, as well as a release date! It’s so exciting.

Thanks for sticking around and being so patient. It means the world 🙂

March 1st (13/2/16)

Sorry for the lack of posts, I’m still working on the collection and some other projects. Here’s one I wrote today, that I’m thinking will go in the book.

I was twenty and you were twenty-one
And you pulled my hair back while
I drenched the darkened pavement in bile
When you’d only just met me and didn’t know me at all

I was twenty-one and you were twenty-two
And I wasn’t satisfied with him
But I smiled and I just held it all in
But you made me laugh at midnight with no effort at all

I will be twenty-two and you are twenty-three
You won’t talk to me or even say
“Happy twenty-second birthday.”
Because I realise now you never really cared at all

Banana Bread (1/2/16)

I haven’t been posting poetry as I’ve been writing new material and editing for my poetry collection, but here’s a quick short story I wrote as an exercise for my Art and Craft of Fiction class.

“You have another letter from your sister,” your mother says as I close the door behind me. She hands me a beige envelope, her eyes glazed, and I go to my room with it, glancing at the front of it as I do so. Postmark says it’s come from Berlin, over a thousand miles from your last letter. No return address.

Your mother’s been baking banana bread in the kitchen, and I can still smell it even with my bedroom door shut. I wonder if you miss banana bread. Surely you must. You made your mother make it for you all the time way back when, and you were the worst at baking, so making it for yourself is out of the question. It’s not like they sell the stuff in stores, not your mother’s kind anyway – you’d make quips about the amount of cinnamon that your mother uses in her baking. You’d say that if you went to the border with it, you’d get stopped for trying to smuggle spices. Maybe that’s why you didn’t take any with you when you went off to the train station that night. Well, maybe.

I have not opened your letter yet. It took me three days to open the last one, trying to prolong it for as much as possible. Your mother has turned on the radio in the kitchen and I can hear her singing off-key to that Sinatra song she loves so much. If you were here, you’d turn it off or change the station to some incomprehensible rave music, or whatever that weird electronic stuff that you like is. I’ve never been good with music, but I still have all those CDs you left.

But I haven’t got as much self-control this time.

Max, you have scrawled in your gigantic loopy writing. Everything has been a whirlwind. How’s Mum doing? Wait, don’t answer that. Not that you can. I tried spätzle today. It had sausage and lentils with it – tasted like ass. I can see why we don’t eat German food more often. Aaron said it was brilliant but he’s a tool.

If he’s such a tool, leave him.

We’ve got a couple of other places planned. Say hi to the old fart for me, will you? I know he doesn’t want to hear from me but it’d make me feel better to know that I can still piss him off.

Love you. Savannah xx

Short and simple like always. I toss it on my desk and sit down on the corner of my bed. I think about what Dad’s face would be like if I could tell him that his step-daughter had sent her regards. I keep a picture of you and me and him on my desk, when I was ten and you were twelve and Dad was less angry. You still have scabby knees and pigtails.

I try to imagine your face as you wrote this letter. Your writing wobbles at times, German almost illegible, and I see you sitting on a bus, huddled in your winter coat as you lean on your backpack and scrawl the letter with a biro. Maybe you posted it on your way to the airport, with Aaron by your side, wittering on as he always does. I wonder if he still has that stupid goatee. I bet he does.

Your mother sticks her head around the door.

“I made banana bread,” she says, like I don’t know this already. But that’s not why she’s here. “How is Savannah?”

“She’s fine. Like always.”

“No address this time?” your mother says hopefully, approaching my desk. Her fingers are inching towards your letter. If she was smarter she’d have steamed it open before I got home, or she could even have just read it herself and never given it to me. I twitch it out of her reach, not trying to hide that I don’t want her hands on it.

“She’s always on the move.” I pick the envelope up and shut it in my drawer. There’s a slight slam as it closes, and your mother blinks.

“Well. I wish you’d be a bit nicer, Max,” she says, her pale eyes watering a little. She doesn’t look like you. You’re prettier than her. “We’ve only got each other now.”

She leaves the room before I can tell her, I never asked to have you.

I didn’t ask for her eight years ago and I didn’t ask to be left with her when you boarded a midnight train. I didn’t ask to spend the rest of my college years in a cramped apartment because I can’t afford to move out after I quit my job at the drive-thru and I let your mother use half my college fund to pay the medical bills. I did it for him, not her.

I did it because you weren’t here and you should have been.

I yank open the drawer again now that your mother’s gone back to her Sinatra, and flick through the envelopes I’ve put there. You write often, I can’t fault that. My fingers skim over faded postmarks. Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, France, Russia, Australia. You always said you’d be an explorer but I thought you’d take me with you. But you ran away with a rich boy who stole from his parents to fund your great escape, and you left me behind.

You never got on with Dad, I know. He wasn’t yours and you weren’t his, and your mother wasn’t mine and I wasn’t hers. But they loved each other for some inexplicable reason, and we were friends and that made perfect sense. I knew it was his fault, he got so mad at you and Aaron after you stayed out half an hour past your curfew even when you called to say you’d be late. And it was the last straw for you, wasn’t it, you slammed the door behind you with the finality of I’m never coming back.

But that was over a year ago now, and you weren’t here when Dad got cancer of the bile duct, and I know you’d think it as stupid as I did, but stupid diseases with stupid names take lives too and you didn’t have to quit your job and comfort your step-mother while your father wasted away. And I could never let you know that he asked for you nineteen times (I counted) in his last week because you never leave a damn address, you never stay in the same place. You don’t even know he’s dead and I can’t tell you because you won’t let me.

The door opens.

“Here you are,” my step-mother says, and hands me a plate of banana bread. It’s still warm, fresh from the oven, smells like cinnamon. She shuts the door behind her so quickly that the draught ruffles my hair.

I look at the picture of you and me and Dad. I close my drawer again. I pick up a piece of the banana bread.

I eat it.

Collection Update #1

Hi guys, sorry I haven’t posted anything in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been hard at work juggling a few things – assignments for my MA, editing my novel and of course working on the collection, which is coming together a lot faster than I expected. I’ve written a bunch of new poems but I’ve decided to keep them for the book, as I don’t want to put out a collection which is mainly made up of poems that I’ve already posted online – I want lots of new material. Still got some edits to do and a few more poems I want to write, but it’s definitely on its way, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along. Still musing about a title, but as soon as I settle on one, you’ll know about it. I’m also thinking about doing some poetry readings at the open mic at the Art House in Southampton, if anyone reading this is in the area.

Watch this space for more updates! 🙂

New Year Update (5/1/2016)

If you’ve been following this blog at all closely (there are quite a lot of you following me, so I imagine at least some people have noticed), you’ve probably guessed that I’m going through some crap right now.

But I recently came up with an idea. And my aim for this year is to publish a poetry collection. It’ll most likely be self-published/funded but I have a really solid idea in my head for it and I’m excited about it. I’ve been mulling over self-publishing poetry for a while but this is the first time I have a firm idea and theme. I even know how I want to organise it.

Some poems in the collection will be taken from this blog (most likely reworked for publication) and it will also contain a lot more original content that won’t appear here. I’ll post updates about how it’s going under the tag ‘poetry collection’, but I’d like to have it ready in the first half of this year. I want to make it easily available, so I’ll most likely be going for both eBook and print copies. I also want to make it as affordable as possible, so I’ll be doing more research into pricing. And I’ll have a link to it up on this blog as soon as it’s ready. I’m also thinking about a free PDF sampler, but I’ll have a think about that.

Every time I want to scream or cry or rage I will pour it all into this. I am part of the way there already. I have a theme. I have over twenty poems almost ready to go. I need more but I can write more. I have a whole list of ideas. I can turn that thing he never cared about into my own achievement. I’ll do it. I don’t want to make a quick buck from it, I don’t care if no-one wants a copy, I’m going to make it for myself. Something good that came out of all this, something I can hold in my hands, something I can point to as a good thing that would never have happened if not for that pain. I can write about the joy and the anxiety and the laughter and the heartbreak. I can write. That’s all I can do now. And it’s all I will do. Say nothing, but write everything. I have a title, and a plan. It’s going to work. I’m excited. This is the most optimistic I’ve felt in a month.

Morning Song (4/1/2016)

Another old poem I found on my phone that I wrote in summer 2015. I tried my hand at a sonnet this time. Not exactly Shakespeare but I still quite like it, even if it hurts to read it again now.

You are the crescendo of a love song:
I am drowned in your perfect melody.
I thought I’d never love and I was wrong
You awoke a fevered passion in me.
I keep the memories of darkened nights,
Kisses so easily taken from you
And sleeping cities with the brightest lights
And your hand in mine, we, the special two.
My mind rests in sweet silence with your touch
My fingers, your spine, my hair and your eyes
I didn’t know that I could feel this much
I was always dark, hoping for sunrise.
And you have brought the birdsong with the dawn
And all the fears I had for us are gone.

I Am Not Enough (4/1/2016)

I bury the pain in soil
Crush it beneath dirt and damp
But it comes back, screaming
I AM NOT ENOUGH

It grew roots when it was down there
Thick like fingers, gripping me tight
And I got pulled into the dirt
While the petals wrapped me
And the thorns spiked me
And all the while it screeched
I AM NOT ENOUGH

I AM NOT ENOUGH
It howls into my scratched ear
I AM NOT ENOUGH FOR LOVE
I AM NOT ENOUGH FOR HIM TO MISS
I AM NOT ENOUGH FOR HIM TO REGRET
I AM NOT ENOUGH FOR HIM TO COME BACK

BUT I AM ENOUGH FOR ISOLATION.

I AM TOO MUCH OF WHAT HE DOESN’T NEED
I AM TOO MUCH OF WHAT HE DOESN’T WANT
I AM TOO MUCH OF WHAT SHOULD BE GONE
I AM TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING THAT I SHOULDN’T BE

Strangle me to death in your roots
Because it would hurt less than these truths.

Spiders (30/12/2015)

I found some rough poems on my phone when I went through deleting things the other day. This one is a few months old, and I had intended to refine it, but there’s no point now, so I’ll just post it as it is.

I call them spiders.
Scratching, whispering
Intrusive thoughts.

They’ll hide from everybody else
But not from me.
Sometimes I’ll forget they’re there
And then a reminder:

You’renotgoodenoughyou’renotgoodenoughyou’renotgoodenough

I can’t drive them out.
They won’t leave
But for you, they’ll quieten.
Spiders die in my brain
And butterflies bloom in my stomach
When you look at me.

And sometimes
When you’ve kissed my lips until they’re sore
And said the sweetest things of all
They’ll hush.
Just for a moment.
Because I never felt this happy
That it could drown out all my sorrows
Even for a split second.

And we lie there
Skin on skin
And you ask me what I’m thinking about
And I say

“Nothing.”

And it’s perfect.

Because in those brief moments
There are no spiders
No skittering legs
No frenzied whispers
No you’re not good enoughs
You’re no cure, but this bliss
Will keep me fighting
And I can finally appreciate
The beauty in the silence