So this is my first post. I feel like I should give some sort of statement of intent, or something. Which is a bit of a challenge, because I’m not really sure what I’m doing here.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I am here to put out some of my poetry. Which is where the uncertainty comes into it, because that kind of implies that someone, somewhere mighty actually want to read it. I’ve been writing all my life, and have always been of the opinion that I’m a bit shit at it and should probably stop. But it’s compulsive, and I don’t really want to. Kind of like eating crisps.
But why, all of a sudden, am I creating a blog? Good question, voice-in-my-head, although I don’t appreciate the sceptical tone. Well, the blame for that lands squarely at the feet of one Claire Askew; accomplished poet, blogger extraordinaire and, for her sins, my girlfriend. Her blog is called OneNightStanzas, incidentally, and you should really go and read some of her stuff instead of hanging around here.
Anyway – I am a massive book geek, so for me dating a poet was kind of like what dating a musician is for normal people. In other words, fucking cool. Especially when she started writing poetry about me. I hadn’t really written a poem in about two or three years, having decided that writing bad prose and drama was somehow better than writing bad verse. But then the odd line and image started floating around my head. And it was such an overwhelmingly wonderful feeling to read what she had written about me, that I felt compelled to return the favour. Even if it was really bad, I thought she might still get a buzz out of it. Bizarrely, she actually liked it, and told me to write more. I protested, told her she was incapable of being objective, but kept quietly writing and showing her what I had written, and she kept encouraging me. And I wanted, have always wanted, so desperately to be a writer that I increasingly indulged in the fantasy I had been indulging in for about a decade, that I might actually have the potential to be good.
But I didn’t really believe that anyone except my loving and patient partner would be in any way interested in my poetry until two nights ago. So what happened two nights ago? Shit question, voice-in-my-head, you were there, you patronising bastard. Claire, among many other things, is one of the coordinators of a local (I’m in Edinburgh, by the way) community arts project called this collection. Their latest event was an experimental poetry slam, organised by Claire, which she starting panicking about a month ago. One of the things that she was panicking about was getting enough performers, so, dutiful boyfriend that I am, I volunteered myself. By the time the line-up was finalised to include the intimidatingly good Young Dawkins, 2011 Scottish Slam Poetry Champion and two thirds of Edinburgh Performance Poetry legends, The Chemical Poets, I was committed, and couldn’t pull out without having a domestic. And I kind of felt it was time to stop being such an abject, moany coward and actually find out if people liked my stuff. Turns out they kind of did. Somehow, I managed to come 2nd out of 16, and afterwards felt so giddy that I couldn’t sleep.
And now, here I am. Because I’m going to keep writing, and if I’m going to be a writer then I’m going to need some readers. Hopefully I might even get some constructive feedback that will help me get better.
Ta for that, I’ll totally shout you a pint next time we’re out.