Tag Archives: writing

Expiry Date

It doesn’t creep

in the middle of the night.

It’s not that cold shiver

you experience as the

first golden leaves fall

at the end of summer.

It’s not the cold ache

biting into your skin

in the middle of winter,

or the silence that slips in

behind the laughter.

Our fallibility falls like dust motes,

coating one and all equally

in the inevitable: our expiration.

Copyright held by Eloise De Sousa (2021)

Cover Reveal

It is such a pleasure to share the book cover of Cecily Lalloo’s new book, which is counting down its its debut as I write this. Cecily has worked tirelessly over the last year to perfect her book on employing positivity and I look forward sharing her work with you over the coming weeks.

cecilyswritings.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/cover-reveal-book-1/

What is art?

A short essay on art by Vaughan De Sousa

What makes truly great work is often not the work itself but the premise it stands on. To subvert reality is to create art which stands a level beyond ‘good’ or ‘impressive’ and has the ability to move people.
Is the purpose of art to move a person? Who knows. Art is already not a fully understood entity, and the purpose of an endeavour as intense as creating a piece of art one is proud of has deep psychological influence on the creator, even if this doesn’t reach the audience.

The Picture of Dorian Gray sees an artist put a piece of his soul into the painting he has created. An object of moral degradation used by its commissioner, but a creation of desire and connection. How art is used is somewhat meaningless once it passes from the artist to the surveyor. Try as we might, artists do not have the power to force their viewers into seeing their own vision. We will never see things the same way as another.
Sight, like every sense is built upon by experience. We are what we have been through, even if behind that we are the same. With our differing experiences we interact with the world, creating new visions every second. Does this invalidate the creator’s vision? Maybe. One could say that the value of an artist resides in their ability to create works which follow their intention, which transcribe the world from the brain of the madman to the eyes of the sane.

So then, could we argue that art is a language? Language is a method by which people relate their experiences with one another through a common understanding. We can never truly communicate our own world to another without a medium understood by both. This is because, as previously mentioned, there is no way for two minds to interact. Speech, signals, even expression define ways in which the living are able to relate their experiences. So too, in this way, does art describe an experience. We understand that which exists through the veil of that which is universally understood. Yet, art is able to provide an experience which is understood only by the creator.

Then does art not dictate reality? Maybe. Because what is reality other than what we define it to be. Let me explain; for us, the viewers, a piece of art may display nothing but an amalgamation of ideas, an expression on paper or a blur of half concepts. Yet to the artist this is a truth, a fundamental of their reality put into the universal world. A form of linguistic expression. The reality of this piece of work gains and loses substance depending on the surveyor, yet it exists! It is real, an expression placed into the observable reality. Meaning and value are nothing as art breaks the barrier of the mental ‘real’ and the physical ‘real’.

So then, what makes a piece of art great? I can only speak from personal perspective now; however, we have already seen that this does not invalidate my approach. Rather, this work that I put forwards is my own art. It is my expression of idea, understood by some and rejected by others but nevertheless a piece of my soul etched on paper.
I believe to move myself art must first break expectation. Whether that be in the initial glance, or scene or second, or at the end when a perspective shift changes everything. To create art which shatters the illusion of safety allows the individual to begin to ‘feel’. Before this we are simply running through the motions of experience. Everything changes us, but we are often not aware of it. Jarring processes allow introspection and a hasty desire of the brain to catch up to the new perspective, this provides a gap for art to flourish.

Think about art like waging a battle. Everything is connected of course, one could say: think about battle like performing a dance, or performing a dance like painting a picture. Everything is connected.
To win a battle at the highest level it is not enough to be perfect. Imagine two chess players of excellent ability coming to a head. To play perfectly allows the chance of winning so long as the other player makes a mistake. But these are human players. One can only think ahead so long. What if one were to play an unexpected and jarring move. The response can be a number of things: hasty, direct, winning, losing, cautious, optimistic… a previously perfect game is thrown into disarray with the introduction of a subversion from the norm. In art, there is no winning or losing, there is only the break from reality, and the chink the defences of our mind.

The surveyor is your dance partner, your enemy at war, your chess opponent and your audience. To slip past the defences created by a mind is to find the opening whereby a life can be forever altered. Sometimes this is easy. The surveyor has had a hard day, they have lost a family member, or they are ready to quit their jobs/lives. The armour is in tatters, the audience has come to the show begging for change, at this point to change one’s life is simple. We can relate an armour-less surveyor to a child. Experience weathers us, it creates layers or expectation which prevents art, and all other experience from changing who we are. Or better yet think of it like a river, causing erosion on a smooth surface. A rush of water down this surface will not change much regarding its path, as the path is already set in the ground. It may widen or deepen it, but there is no new course to be made.
The mind of a child is a pile of sand, and you the artist hold a bucket of water. You can shape this mind however you wish with the notches, grooves and streams that you may pour atop this pile of sand. And as the sand mixes with dirt and clay, the grooves you have created solidify. I hate to say with time, but that is what happens. Once the grooves are made they remain, slowly gaining in intricacy as other sources of water pour, and more sediment hardens the earth.

Everything is connected. You understand where I am going with this, I am sure. The ability for art to create or add to a stream is clearly there, but what is the joy in adding to a groove in the dirt. You want to make your own. Perhaps art is a forceful thing, the artist a dominant figure. I write this piece expecting a change in your mental state, you will change after reading this regardless of who you are or what you have experienced, if only through the fact that you will have read something. But as the creator I have changed you, moulded a tiny piece of your mind forever.
But what if I were to change this work here. And completely destroy your expectations. I am not a great artist, I do not know what I could do to do this, but imagine I place beneath this wall of text an image which shatters your illusion. A picture that shocks you to your core, making you rethink all you have read thus far.

This would be your chink in your armour. Following this shock I could place a few simple words. You may go away from this with a desire to make something new, or a fear of art and it’s grips on your soul. ‘Soul’. Mind.
With this new experience you will rework your mind, you will solidify what you have seen and heard around your personality. It will become a new groove in your earth. And you will continue on, with a line drawn into your life by me. The artist.

I believe that art, when great, stands on a premise and shatters it. I believe this allows the artist free reign of your mind. I believe that a truly great artist uses this moment to reshape you, like a clay doll being altered before being placed into a kiln.
Because death is the final point of hardening, you will not gain any experience (known by us) from then on. You are the finished piece of art upon your deathbed.

Art is not just a painting on a canvas or a clip of a movie scene. Art is the the experience, from the creator to the created. We shape ourselves and others when we form art. Art is a language, and is also every language. But then you may ask, what is the difference between art and ANYTHING ELSE.

Everything is connected.

The Final Journey

What Is Our Life

by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618)

What is our life? The play of passion.

Our mirth? The music of division:

Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,

Where we are dressed for life’s short comedy.

The earth the stage; Heaven the spectator is,

Who sits and views whosoe’er doth act amiss.

The graves which hide us from the scorching sun

Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.

Thus playing post we to our latest rest,

And then we die in earnest, not in jest.

For Sue, on her final journey to rest. 🌸

Glub, Now Under New Management!

Some books are most than just words on paper. They are the flesh and bones of writers’ journeys from obscurity and misadventure to their well deserved happily ever afters.
This is Glub’s story:

By Samantha Webb

I am so delighted to be writing this blog post. Glub, my curious purple creation has had a rough start of it and has been on a real adventure but I feel like he has finally found his true home.

Glub

I wrote the story of Glub around 12 years ago, after a trip to Paignton where we always go in to the arcades and have some wholesome family fun. My husband was adamant that he wanted to win a particularly unflattering teddy of Micheal Jackson because in his words “it is so bad, it is brilliant?’. Our then one year old daughter Lilly was horrified and was grabbing for the cute teddies and really no one would blame her. Sadly that day we walked away without any prizes but an idea was beginning to form in my mind.

Concept art by Jamie Webb.

On reading the first draft my…

View original post 692 more words

So long. Fare well.

It’s time to say good-bye to the year of change. Not only have we learnt, as humans, just how destructive we can be, we have found that love, compassion and kindness still exist. It survives and thrives on the burning embers and scattered remains of humanity’s desperate attempt to survive.

In the midst of the horrors that have occurred over 2020, we have witnessed the re-establishment of communities fighting for their weakest, holding up institutions filled with heroes willing to martyr themselves in their battle against an invisible enemy. Some of us less brave souls could only clap in unison to express our gratitude to them at assigned times each week, whilst others made sure those warriors were fed and watered during their most enduring of wars.

it is sad to mention a minority who formed a thick layer of denial against the truths of what was occurring. They rallied support through social media to defend their stance that a dystopia movement was imminent; our rights were slowly being eroded. Yet, they used those same rights they were afraid to lose to undermine the safety of others, choosing to be conduits for the deadly enemy, both mentally and physically.

And here we stand now, with the weaponry to keep the enemy at bay but racing against a ticking clock. How fast can we vaccinate humankind before more souls are taken or our enemy mutates again?

As we count down the hours to a new year, let us think of those brave enough to battle for our rights to live. Let us think about the souls already lost and those willing to use their bodies as conduits to test the resistance of vaccines against an enemy capable of mutating itself into new strains of monster.

Use these thoughts to help you cope with the silent nights and empty streets. We are all in the void together. Yet, we move. This won’t be forever. So, stay strong. Stay in. Stay safe. Tomorrow is a new year.

Happy new year to you all. I hope to see you on the other side soon.

The Importance Of Being Edited – Ritu Bhathal

Editing can be a minefield, can’t it? I wasn’t sure whether to write this post, initially, but after recent experiences, I thought, why not air my views, after all, they are only my thoughts, and not law, after all! Over the last few years, as I have been, (and continue to), hone my writing craft,…
— Read on ritubhathal.com/2020/11/22/the-importance-of-being-edited/

Day Three of the, This Is Lockdown. Blog Tour.

Marjorie Mallon has compiled a collection of stories and poems that capture our days in lockdown.

Hi everyone welcome to a socially distanced tea and chat with the very talented and lovely Marjorie Mallon.  Well make yourself comfortable and enjoy…

Day Three of the, This Is Lockdown. Blog Tour.

Sacha Black’s ‘The Anatomy of Prose’ is out!

I do not like manuals, self help or how to books! Yet, here I am endorsing an author who is not only a well-established Young Adult novelist, but has also written incredibly fun, readable manuals on prose, creating heroes and building believable villains. Her name is Sacha Black and she takes no prisoners when compiling helpful advice for readers and writers.

If you’re offended by a bit of profanity then this is probably not the book or author for you. But, if you’re happy to skip the bullshit and get cracking with the nitty gritty details of empowering your prose, order your copy today.

Sacha’s ability to capture the debilitating aspects of writers’ crutch words and faults and her straight forward advice on how to strengthen your knowledge on essential elements of drawing your audience into your prose without putting you to sleep or drowning you in condensed rhetoric puts her a cut above the rest.

Here is a brief outline on what The Anatomy of Prose has to offer:

Do your sentences fail to sound the way you want? Are they lackluster, with flat characters and settings? Is your prose full of bad habits and crutches?

In The Anatomy of Prose, you’ll discover:

  • A step-by-step guide to creating descriptions that sing
  • The key to crafting character emotions that will hook a reader
  • How to harness all five senses to make your stories come alive, deepening your reader’s experience
  • Tips and tricks for balancing details at the sentence level
  • Methods for strengthening each sentence through strategic word choice, rhythm and flow
  • Dozens of literary devices, and how to utilize them to give your prose power
  • Tactics for differentiating characters in dialogue as well as making it punchy and unforgettable
  • A comprehensive prose-specific self-editing check list
  • How to embody your character’s personality at the sentence level
  • The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid

The Anatomy of Prose is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create sensational sentences. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will power up your prose, eliminate line-level distractions and help you find the perfect balance of show and tell. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your sentences to give your story, prose and characters the extra sparkle they need to capture a reader’s heart.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create perfect prose, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting sensational sentences. Read The Anatomy of Prose today and start creating kick-ass stories.

Join Sacha celebrate the launch of The Anatomy of Prose at her website and order your copy here. Don’t forget to leave a review!

Struggling with homeschooling?

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