Not a self promoter.

Now I’m not one for boasting, bragging or bigging oneself up… it would seem I’m not really a fan of words that begin with B, apart from… boobs, belles, boys, bits, bums… We can see what I have on my mind. Anyways, I don’t think it’s necessary or very becoming from a young lady, such as myself. To be honest, it’s not great in anyone. There’s confidence, there’s being proud of an achievement, then there’s arrogance and rubbing people’s faces in your success – it’s a fine line to tread.

I’m not one for self promotion. I don’t wish to attract that much attention to myself. I am confident in my own skin, I know me, what I like, what I don’t, and if I don’t or am unsure, I’ll spend a few hours debating it in my mind, and possibly sharing it with you. But. There are things I know I am good at, and there are things I know I excel. We all know our own strengths as well as our own weaknesses but I tend to focus more on what I enjoy, more than what I think I may be good at.

As far as I am aware, I think its fairly dangerous to trust your own opinion of yourself. Know yourself, like yourself be proud of yourself, but don’t think you know it all, after all, we lie to ourselves all the time. We lie to others about ourselves, we are in effect our best friend and our own worst enemies, for quite those reasons. Always out to protect but also to blind. So well, I thought I’d do something very random, because I am random and I feel like it.

I’m going to share some things with you. What they will be are things I like, things that interest me, things I love, and they’ll be relevant. To me, to you, to something you like, a common interest, to someone you know, or to knowing where I’m coming from when you hear my ramblings a little more.

I’m an English student. I spend most of my days with my head in a book, thinking about a book, reading a book about a book or thinking about what I’m not reading. I spend time exploring history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, epistemology, literary theory, I’m an overthinker by trade, probably why I spend such a long time looking into things on a microscopic level, I’m a lover of analysis – whether its of a page, a character, a period, a psyche, or just my muddled and cuffudled brain.

I’m a TEFL qualified teacher, so I mould the brains of non English speaking students, which is ironic seeing as I seem to pay very little attention to grammar, punctuation spelling, or even whether the word I use actually exists in my own personal life. I enjoy teaching, love teaching, I find it the most interesting and fascinating thing to do. Its inspiring, rewarding, challenging, had work and fun, and they are all the reasons I love doing so.

I’m a writer of erotica. Don’t get too excited, I’m not published (well in an anthology, somewhere… not big time, published) I have a blog, I write sex as sex should be, raw, passionate and without too much soppiness and character. Its all about release and self expression. its another side of me to this one, a more primitive, raw, randy side agreed, but a side I embrace all the same.

I’ve started a music blog, because I’ve realised I listen to a lot of obscure stuff, that people seem to be very interested in when it comes up. I mention people nobody has ever heard of and that have less than 1000 followers on Facebook. I like finding odd little artists and songs, searching for something new to my ear, to prick the hairs on the back of my neck and make me stop and listen. And as I love sharing, well why not share that too, seems selfish to keep all my little musical treasurers to myself.

I write for my University online publication, infact, I’m under interview for Editor in Chief. I’ve been in print issues, and my writing is journalistic, from news to current affairs, reviews and previews, entertainment to fashion, politics to columnist pieces. I enjoy all sorts of writing. I think words are the most powerful tool, and weapon at our disposal, and I’m rather a fan of playing with them.

Now. I know that all this sounds like a bit of a boast, that I’m trying to show off, say how well I write, how many different things I can throw my hand at, how busy I am. Its not. I’m not a great writer, I enjoy it, there are certainly better out there. I’m a fan of commas and long sentences, using the ‘three’ in description and prescribing to clichés when I feel like it. I write colloquially, without thought, or point. I ramble, I jump about, I even forget the point I started with and end up somewhere completely different – not a to b, more… j to r (if you follow my meaning).

I’m simply saying it because, well I thought you might like to get to know me. Maybe you might want to read something completely different and fancy my other blogs, perhaps I felt like divulging, or maybe I felt like taking stock of what I do do. I think I may have my fingers in two many pies to do any properly or to the level I truly wish to. I’ve neglected my blogs of late with life’s general hiccups as it is, let alone kept on top of everything else, but as long as their a pleasure and not a chore, I’ll keep doing them. Thats what life’s about isn’t it. Sharing. Doing things you love. Talking to one and other.

Do I follow you, do you have another blog I should be checking out? – post it. If I’m not writing I’m reading something, editing work for the paper, books for University, marking for students homework or an album review. Might even be the back of my cereal box. If you fancy some music, or erotica – ask. If you want to know something else –  ask. If you want to chat – talk. I am, as they say, all ears. I fancy sharing, so lets here something about you.

What do you do, what do you like?

The Black Destruction of Words…

As writers we all want to create something new, something poignant, something funny, something heartfelt, something honest…We strive to find that perfect phrasing, that sentence that says more in a few words than a paragraph could. We want clarity, perfection – drama.

We strive to delete all the unnecessary words, to strip back to what’s not needed to what simply is. It’s a hard task. Then there’s the inspiration. Where to start, how to draw together an idea from the hundreds of bubbling brooding thoughts of our mind.

What if, there was a way of using another’s work, and creating something, totally unique, unrelated to what was there before, that brings life, colour and meaning to a piece of work. Well, I introduce, Black out poetry.

Created by Austin Kleon, the idea is simple. Take a newspaper, find an article. Do not read it, do not spend time working through the article, do not try to force something out of it that is already there… Find a word – A phrase – something that stands out. It could and probably should be random, something that stands out to you. Skim for related words, words that fit the idea or the topic, the mood you’ve already chosen. Get a marker pen. Heres the fun bit… Draw around your chosen words, link the words across the page, and create something ingenious.

It sounds easy, but it’s a skill, a talent and something that will take time. Everyone can do it, but its a new way of working and as we all know, it takes a little time to adjust. When your little poems formed, black out everything else. Wipe the page clean so its only your words, your work that stands out against the darkness. You’ve made your first poem.

Blackout poetry provides a great starting point for all poets, writers and those who enjoy literature in general. It gets your creative flow going, it allows in the shortest of time to create something unique from something plain, bland – the pages of a newspaper. You can use the poem as inspiration for a longer piece of writing, to adapt into an epic poem or simply, to hold on its own, as its own piece of art.

The best thing about Newspaper Blackout is simply, you can do it anywhere. Over a morning coffee, on the train to and from work, in bed when you can’t sleep, in any spare five minutes you have a day. We all know of five-minute exercises that are supposed to keep us in touch with our creativity and help our writing, but what better way to do it than to, force something from our minds and get stressed about that five minutes. Sit back, relax, and just do it.

Austin Kleon is to me, a hero in his own right. A figurehead for the generation of writers that are finding more creative ways to be, well, creative. To find art in the profoundest of places, to work with something that’s already there, to reinvent the written word and poem.

Stealing! I hear you say… How can something be creative, be individual, be unique, when you’ve stolen someone else words, when you’ve had no hand in the writing itself. If you’re still of this mind, you’ve missed the point of Blackout completely. Its recreating not reiterating. You aren’t working with something already there and condensing, your finding something new, something hidden, amongst the garble of corporate wording.

Now I’ll admit, I’m not that great. I’m hardly the next and newest Blackout poet, ready to set your minds alight and show you examples of brilliance but you know, its a new hobby. Its something exciting and more importantly, its something I enjoy. Why not give it a go, and see what you may discover, lost and found on your favourite broadsheet.

To get a better idea of what I’m talking about check out, Austin Kleon’s book “Blackout Poetry” or http://newspaperblackout.com/ for examples and ideas to inspire you all. The best thing about the website, you can post your own works, and if your lucky (such as my friend and colleague at Uni) Austin may just reblog it himself as a fine example, of just what he wanted to achieve.

But why stop at newspapers. Think of the possibility, every old book you hate, those long-winded Victorian epics that bored you silly, wouldn’t you like to destroy the text and create something, brilliant? A journal, a pamphlet, an old novel, a horoscope… The opportunities are endless. Suddenly every word ever written can be recreated, redesigned, reinvented, recreated.

We always say how can you write something new when everything’s been written once before? Well… start with the stuff that has been done, and find your own magic within…