Sunday, 30 October 2011

Creating Your Own

OK I have written my own poetry and what i want to do, is show you how creatively satisfying it can be. I wanted to show you two I have written:

Shadows, crawl in the cloak of night.
Slithering, seeping, and adjusting to
The dark. Defenceless, with all the might.
Failure eats into the bones. The few
Live in the dark. Blackness engulfs, invades,
Swallows all that is there. Nothing seems there
In that place, that never blinks, for shades
Of light are past. Withheld, there is no care.
Pieces lie. Unable to see, to feel,
To know beyond the consuming depths. Sight
Touch, smell lost in the mist. Where? There to kneel
Bow, surrender, be consumed whole. No fight.
Absorbed into the black. None there survive.
Surrender lingers. Nothing left but to dive.

And this is my favourite that I have written, and I want to say that it's dark. It isn't for the faint hearted and also didn't happen. I also wanted to write a poem that joked about sex and then it got away from me. But I loved writing it (I don't know what that says about me!):

I never understood sex, I mean what’s
The fuss about? All that heavy breathing
And sweaty hands clutching me, that and lots
Of drooling. In the dark. Am I being
Unromantic? It’s not you know. The act
Is more like a comedy or tragedy.
I think the breathing and screaming all packed
Into the space, I remember. Baddie
Of the piece, his mask off, his teeth bared. My voice
Gone. I can still feel that damp clammy breath
On my neck. His tongue wet, taking my choice
Away. Eventually I think death
Would have been better. Sex and I, have lost.
I found out what my friend wanted at my cost.
I loved writing them for my own pleasure and loved playing with the words and forms. So poetry it's super fun to create. (For people who want to know what type they are they are sonnets).

A Post to Poetry

          So poetry, a form I really like. Poetry really forces the artist to be imaginative and think about the words that are put into this form. Now as ranty as I have been about Shakespeare I love his Sonnets. Beautifully formed. I love John Donne I think my favourites of his are The Flea and Elegy on His Mistress Going to Bed. I love the way he twists the meaning and the imagination he uses.

         Elizabeth Bishop I really like and her poems and the way she juxtaposes images and in general her voice. 

         Poetry I think is hard to really get into. It's got that mystification of am I reading right? Is there something that I am not picking up on. I think the reason for this, is that people don't allow you to to read it over and over. To look at it for your own pleasure. I like to read poetry aloud, I am reading a huge book of E. E. Cummings (it's over 1000 pages long and have got to 140) but reading it aloud makes a huge difference. And I am reading it for my own pleasure. Carol Ann Duffy I find helps when you read her aloud. I also do like to look into the meaning, but reading it more than once really helps with that. 

         I wanted to end this by recommending spoken word. Sarah Kay (who did a brilliant lecture for the TED conference) her poetry for me really leaps from the performance. Taylor Mali is also a really talented spoken word poet. I also wanted to say that poetry is a really diverse form. It can be about anything and take so many forms, so sometimes it takes a while to find something that you like, but I think the effort is worth it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mazzy Star

          I love this band so much. So much talent and their songs are so good, so wonderful. I love the album She Hangs Brightly, in particular.
                                                                                        
         
        I would like in particuar in songs to reccommend Blue Flower and Fade Into You the rythym and the vocals make me happy when I listen to them. Amazing music.

The Funny

          Ah humour the uniting force of people we are lead to assume, but i wonder if that is really true. Surely different humour appeals to different people. I recently watched a programme about comics in general, and what struck me the most was the sexism.

           So many comics were saying that they liked a particular woman despite the fact that they talked about stuff that wasn't relevant to them. Now instead of steam blowing out of my ears, I thought about that statement. Why is it that they don't say that about the material of other male comics? Surely some people talk about things that you don't necessarily like regardless of sex? I would also like to point out that male comics say stuff that I don't particularly agree with or think of as funny, a lot of the time. I don't think it's the fault of their sex. This, however, is a post of the stuff that I do find funny, so I'm going to talk about that. Still it's an argument that makes me angry

        I particularly like surreal humour, stuff that you would not have thought of yourself the angle is shifted. One of the many reasons that I love Eddie Izzard so much (I've already talked about him so he isn't in the list. He is one the funniest comics out there for me). There are a lot of comics that I like for different reasons:

          Kathy Griffin: for her sense of the outrageous and her style. I like how she pokes fun at anyone. I do have some objections to how bought in she is to the world that we live in (but I think she's at least aware of it).

           Josie Long: ahh how I love her. I love her enthusiasm for the world (and her entry to The Atheists Guide to Christmas is both charming and really helpful). I love her sense of humour, in the UK I think we all tend to get bogged down in the idea that only irony and sarcasm are true forms of wit. Someone who is legitimately enthusiastic seems not to be given any credit. Josie Long proves them wrong, you can be funny and positive, (I also love the fact she loves to read, I am a veracious reader too so our passions collide).

          Joyce Grenville: what a talent. I love her voice and her appreciation for the absurd. I also think her songs are both relevant and tinged with a sense of fun.

          Tom Lennon: now if one wants irony in the bucket load he is the man you want. I love his songs about war, so beautifully done. I'm almost angry at how good his songs are as just songs, but what a talent. If you only listen to one of his songs, my favourite one is National Brotherhood Week, just so good.

         Red Dwarf: I think this tends to be forgotten as a series that happened (I remember watching a programme about how Friends got to be the huge success it was, and that partly this was because the series in the UK were really bad, er really?). I love the premise and it really is about 4 people, only one of whom is human on a space ship. Admittedly I didn't like the later series as much but it does stand out as something that really defined my teen years. It doesn't have any women in it, which is annoying, but still funny. 

           French and Saunders. I like them very much, Partly because they seem not have boundaries about what is grotesque and what isn't. I also liked the Comic Strip, the recent one that doesn't have Dawn French which is a shame, but does have Jennifer Saunders playing Margaret Thatcher which I loved. As a side note the Tony Blair character was played beautifully, by Stephen Mangan.

          Margaret Cho: I really love her blog as well as her stand up. She is a really forceful comic, and really powerful in what she says. I love how honest she is about her struggle to find out who she is, and in general how funny she is about stuff that is often raw.

          Whoopi Goldberg: I like her in many of the films that she is in. Jumpin' Jack Flash is probably my favourite. I like her stand up as well. Her characters are really well crafted.

          Victoria Wood: she is amazingly talented. Her songs alone are great. I like the famous ones as well as the not so famous. She talks about stuff that I really enjoy. She also does amazing sketches that always make me laugh. I think she is an acute observer, which makes a lot of the stuff she does even more funny. I really love her stand up as well. Just a great comic.

          I wanted to end with these are people who I like, my taste is not going to appeal to everyone, and I think that's what I like about humour. People can find lots of different things funny, and I think that unites us more that saying one style of humour suits us all.

               

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Trisha Ashley

           i wanted to recommend Trisha Ashley this week. The thing that i love love love about this author is her humour, it's the thing that always comes through in any book she writes. I can't decide which ones that I loved the most. Every Woman For Herself is wonderful and I liked the heroine is older, I also think that the family in that book is really well drawn. Good husband Material I love the sense of community and also the chapter haedings always made me giggle. Overall though I think I liked Singled Out the most because it talks about the dark side. I think probably it's the darkest book that she's written, but I loved it. I was also really interested in that the heroine is a writer. I love all her books but those are the three that I re-read the most. 



     

Canons

          I wanted to talk about the fact that people study classics and why we call them classics. I did English as a degree and especially in poetry classics are not women. So why do we call them classics? Well it is because everyone has heard of them? (I am not talking about all of the several billion people who live on the planet) I don't think everyone has to start with, but classics seem to endure after you're dead at least.

          Classics are everywhere there is classical music how many of those composers are men? I can tell you off the top of my head about Beethoven, Mozart, Britten, and Rachmaninoff. None women I'm afraid.

          Staying on theme with music there are classic forms of rock and roll, Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets, but there are women when it comes to rock and pop music, but how much credence are they given in the industry? Or maybe I am asking the wrong question why is there are cannon in the first place? Why should women want to be involved in a thing that seems to be dictated by dead heterosexual white men?

          Cannons they indeed do blow things up. Dickens (I am going to make a confession I have never read him, and until I want to then I will, but enough with the whole he understood Victorian life thing, in my case trying to make me do something produces the opposite effect, especially as he is a 'classic') but I can understand why he is there.

          Shakespeare, now there's a name for the cannon. I have a beef with him. I had to study him since I was twelve. Does anyone understand Shakespeare when they are that age? I get it. I live in the UK, he wrote 37 plays, and they are good writing I am not saying he wasn't good. Enough with the whole he understood life and theme so well. Yes he did, but they are plays, that means seeing them. Did I really have to get subjected to nine that's right nine years of study? I am still scarred by Macbeth I studied that play for 5 years, really I think that's enough for anyone, and I think without once seeing it, well done education!

          Yes I'm bitter but I wanted and still want to read about women or other people who wrote in that era without being beaten over the head with Shakespeare, and my theory? He wrote 37 plays, 37 plays that importantly survived to present day and everyone has heard of him, and he was a successful playwright. That means we have 37 plays that everyone gets to hate when they are young as we study them so much.

          I think thought that is a whole other discussion about teaching, I had some great teachers especially English teachers but education is a double sword. You have to stick to the passing exams and can I just say I use my knowledge of Charles the 2nd like all the time. The only thing that I remember distinctly is that he dug up that's right dug up all the people who had signed his father's death warrant and had them hung (or is it hanged?). Yeah that's really gross and disgusting hanging dead people. Well done Charles. This is for another time, possibly when not so annoyed at my education. Back to canons.

          When I say canonical literature people may not know what I mean. I think if I say classic texts, then I think that makes it clearer. The stuff that people tell us is classical, I am talking about you Shakespeare, all the stuff that I studied in my GCSEs. I looked at Brighton Rock by Graham Green, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Macbeth by Shakespeare (and some other plays I can't remember but that's burned into my brain which isn't surprising, yeah I know let go of the bitterness but suck it Shakespeare), a bit of 1984 by George Orwell. We did some poetry by Carol Ann Duffy. The stuff we did by rote though was the Romantics and well as Wordsworth and I think Blake. I remember doing Thomas Hardy for my A-Levels as well as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I have always hated that book and will evermore, but I did have to do it for a year, oh the joy, suck it Heathcliff). Kate Bush, however is a genius.

          I can understand why this stuff is taught but the stuff that excited me and made me really think was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey really wonderful book and have never seen the film. It's one that I can't read again though. The poetry I read by John Donne. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and when I first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and is still one of my favourites to this day but then again who doesn't like it?

          Some of the authors that I have mentioned I like and like still. It's not women the majority of the time. I really do think its because they are talking about things people deem to be important. Let's face it in general people don't think Hardy and Bronte are comparable, and it's not the writing it's who wrote it. More than that it's what they are talking about. The issues that Green talks about religion, faith and violence women discuss that too but are still undervalued.

          Many feminists have said the same thing before me, and will too again. It is still sad that this exists. Why do we have to fight for people to look beyond the author's sex? The issues that women talk about, are they so very different from men, are we so very different? Is this not just a clever ploy to create a big wedge between men and women? Why did I even write the sentence women's issues?

          The stuff that people write, decide whether you like it or not based on something as equally irrelevant as sex, decide you don't like Grahame Green because his last name is a colour (that horrible E. B. White, he's rubbish). Decide that you like John Grisham because he was born before 1959, and hate all writers after that Ruth Rendell, as well as Virginia Woolf are great but Marion Keyes is bad as well as Neil Gaiman. Decide you hate people with initials, their writing is stupid, that E. B. White is still bad as well as P. G. Wodehouse. Decide you'll only admire people who are dead (okay that one is a little close to the bone as a lot of people seemingly do this but it's still a pretty stupid way of defining whether someone’s writing is good).

          As weird as this seems my advice: like who you want to like. I have authors I like most of them I admire their writing. Though I do get hooked by a good protagonist I am in love with Agnes from Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, that book though is beautifully written. I like Matilda by Roald Dahl. I like Elizabeth Bishop's poetry as well as Pope's. I like what I like because it is my opinion. Is that not all we can do? Say we like it.

          There are reasons why I like the stuff I like, they do not have to be your reasons, even better than that you don't have to like the stuff I do, because I am understanding, and that people are different in what they think is good. It is as far as I am concerned it is always subjective. Now that I think about it there are many things that people say are good and I don't care for at all. Dan Brown I don't get, doesn't mean that people can't like it for good reasons I, however, don't. Citizen Kane I cannot sit through, others think it's a classic. I like lots of things that people don't think are good and not for kitchy reasons but because I genuinely like it, Tremors is a great film and the plot is really good and suspenseful, the structure and the acting is really enjoyable.

          I really cannot dictate what others do but you know what? Put all that stuff you were taught about books and poetry aside and look at it read it and decide simply if you enjoyed it or not. You do not have to look at theme or structure or what the author was trying to do, or do if you want to but decide whether you like it. I enjoy reading things and whether they are classics or not I don't care about. So frankly I think the canon can suck it too. I am sure it'll love it with Shakespeare and Heathcliff in that corner, as long as it does not bother me again.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cheese cake

           Ah Cheese cake how I love you. Creamy filling, chocolate base, and if it's lemon cheese cake then it combines three of my favourite things: lemon, chocolate and cheese. I say have cheese cake and all things become better.


          That is what I am recommending this week. Now look at that, yummy!

A short post


          So it's short post this week as I'm not here tomorrow. I've always liked this picture of Wonder Woman. First she is sexualised, which is depressing to me. She is also incredibly thin. There is other other stuff that makes me happy when I look at this picture.

          She is full of purpose, He expression is full of anger and strength. Just like her hands that is holding that lasso. That lasso is something that she can definitely use. I love the neon colour of lasso. She is also muscled. It's her face, however, though really that makes me drawn to this and Wonder Woman is her own woman in this picture. I also love her hair and the crown, this is a woman filled with purpose. Purpose is what makes me like her, and the fact that she has magic bracelets just makes me happy!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Desperately Seeking Susan

           This week I'm recommending Desperately Seeking Susan. This is a film that I have loved since I was in my early teens. It's about finding identity and it's linked by the two women, with a villain thrown in and a pair of missing earrings. 

         I love the music in it, especially the song that introduces Susan (Madonna's character). I have had a crush on Aidan Quinn as a result from the time first watching this film. The film really showcases a time period as well.

          I think the thing that keeps me going back to this film is the performances. Mark Blum as the husband is terrific. Laurie Metcalf as the sister-in-law is fabulous. What really shines for me is Roberta (Rosanna Arquette) and Dez (Aidan Quinn). I love that Roberta gets good as magician's assistant, I also love that Dez likes his job as a projectionist

         This is all drawn together by the theme of identity. For me it's a film that I watched when I was younger and totally upholds today.  

Female Porn

         I am on and off writing a book about romance novels using a feminist back drop. I have been writing this for years and the research that I have been doing is still on going. I kind of got a little sidetracked by porn. Not watching it, but the debate surrounding porn, is what really interested me. The debate surrounding sexuality in women and men. I’m have looking at this in relation to the book I’m writing as a lot of romances have been compared to porn (which historically meant let’s remember means a prostitutes writing, which may or may not be directly true to romance novels who knows!). This has led down some interesting side alleys since my primary focus has been romance novels.

          So my personal history with porn: I have watched I think about two soft core ones. This came about as when I was still living where I grew up channel 5 had just started out (for those not living in the UK, channel 5 was added as an extra channel you could automatically have and not have to pay for, free view which I think it’s now called as memory serves) and as a new channel it had some dodgy stuff on, presumably to get people to watch it. So this new channel had erotic dramas on or erotic thrillers. I was sort of intrigued about what that meant (by the way not in any way related to Body Heat or at a pinch Basic Instinct which I would say at least live up to that description but these were more like Benny Hill than anything else). They were both by Ross Meyers, and I think one was called Superstars and the other Emmanuel 4 or 5. Both it seemed to me were silly, and just plain strange. It kind of mystified me as to what anyone would think was erotic about it or indeed a dramatic or a thrilling. The plots were confusing and completely nonsensical, now I can forgive that as it’s not trying to implement that. The stuff, however, that happened again was strange including a scene that just made me laugh of a large breasted women putting a phone between her breasts and saying some strange stuff. Now I’m all for the surreal but that’s just so pointless. I think that was the overwhelming sense I had, the films seemed seedy and overall pointless.

          I like surreal stuff I saw in a film of Beauty and the Beast in black and white and I think it was French. The thing that I love about that film was that all the candle holders were actual hands that moved, and the shots of the house in general. The story I could take or leave, but the visual stuff was really beautifully done. This I think is surreal done well. I’ve always thought that Sirens was a beautifully sensuous film in the visuals. There is a scene where the English women is floating in a river in a white dress and the other women rise from the water. I personally think that is a much more erotic and visually interesting scene that any other that I’ve seen in a porn film.

          Having said all this, and why I wanted to write this post, I recently viewed some other porn, one by Erika Lust called The Good Girl, and Female Fantasies by Petra Joy. Now these are by women, and I was intrigued by this. This was not just a woman being penetrated by a man, and I was interested in what the visuals would be like.
          So I’ll start with The Good Girl, first I was surprised a lot of the film (it’s about half an hour) takes place in the inner monologue of the women, not to say that there isn’t two naked people going at it, but what I thought was the most interesting device was this was a woman fulfilling her own fantasy, and turning a whole concept of a man seducing a ‘good girl’ on it’s head. The angles were changed up quite a bit, which I thought was interesting, also this isn’t a hard core serious thrusting race to orgasm, this is a couple (who have never met before) trying different positions (but by usually silent consent) and laughing at times.
           The overwhelming thing that I would say changed my mind about this particular porn was that the longer that you get into it the woman gets more sweaty, more into the positions and more and more excited. It takes longer 2 seconds of thrusting for her to come. What I didn’t like was the whole thing ends with his orgasm and in particular around her face. That pulled me out of the whole experience, but overall not what I expected. What also made me like this was that her voice comes to it, this is a woman fulfilling her desires and getting her orgasm, and personally hearing things can make me just as excited as imagining them or seeing them.
          Admittedly this piece has so far been pro this film. It still has the actors fucking for money and for others pleasure. Something that we can never fully get away from. This is an industry that makes a lot of money, the people doing this are they really doing this out of choice? A question never fully answered to my mind, even with this. We are still looking, being the gaze upon these people.

          I do want to talk about the other porn I saw. First this isn’t just one scene there are several. Including a lot of scenes that are not about penis in vagina. The first scene was the scene that kind of intrigued me most of all. One woman being touched by other people. What I liked was these people had various things going on, and had masks on, a whole kind of surreal theme going on the whole time (maybe surreal is the way to get me to like porn!) and there is a lot of kissing, ice cubes, leather and stuff going on. Nothing kinky or hurtful just a lot of things going on around a body.
          The next scene was I think several women striping in silhouette which was fun but not really my thing. Various other scenes including one scene of a man masturbating in a shower, not much talking going on really but a lot of naked people going at it, in general. I liked that this was about several scenes (oh and by the way general note to anyone trying to make something sexy can we all agree that someone licking their fingers of food is not arousing, it just feels forced to me when on film or a book) and various things to see. The whole thing was sort of a theme of exploring what people find sexually stimulating, which I thought was cool.

          I don’t know overall. It was interesting, but maybe that’s not what turns me on, or you on. I like reading about seduction, about really focusing on the mind, what connects and gets people to the journey. Slow (I know it’s a cliche but it’s one for a reason) for me is really better in most things.
          There were a few other things that I wanted to mention. All the women were all shaved, which I know that a thing in porn but that makes me feel a bit sad. Is pubic hair really all that scary? They were also uniform in what they looked like. Not one had anything like stretch marks, discoloured skin, hair places other than the head, and they all performed perfectly, no changing stuff as it was uncomfortable, no real communication. No one was fat, or anything other than white, or really different from one another as talking was out.

          Difference isn’t scary and to me a lot of misconceptions about getting it on naked is that there are expectations involved, a lot of which has to do with watching stuff. Also let’s not have a stigma about masturbation all people do it and it’s great, orgasms that you get to give to yourself. Score!
          I think what I really would have connected to was seeing these people not just doing positions but at least communicating, having a connection.

          It was a good experience to see this stuff as I'm interested in what these things being made means for sexuality being viewed and the porn debates in general. I think I didn't really get excited by watching this. I really could not relate to the people I was watching, I want to see people who I can relate to, maybe that's one the things about romance that I like it does not exclude and a lot of stuff is going on in your imagination.    

          So overall I will still want to read about the discussion about porn, but not really interested enough to watch it. I am intrigued by what other people find sexy (I hope that I didn’t alienate anyone by saying licking food is not sexy, to me it isn’t but maybe I’m just the exception). I’m always going to be inquisitive by what the whole thing says about culture, and people. That is the stuff that really excites me about human nature. 

          This is just my experience, I would say watch it for yourself and see what you think, or not if this doesn't interest you! I would like just to end this piece by saying there are a lot of places I thought were interesting talking about sex and sexuality from a female perspective like: www.cherrytv.com and there is a podcast called Sex Nerd in itunes that I would say thoughtfully discusses sex in a positive manner. I really liked that Cherrytv isn't about competition but about women discussing experiences that they have had.