Monday, August 21, 2006

Literary Form And Stuff

I joined an online writers' forum a few weeks ago. It's called The Write Idea. Yes, I know, but then it could have been called Write Oh, Write On, Write Up Your Alley, or even, conceivably, Waiting For Mr. Write. Which isn't such a bad idea, actually. I'm sure people on the forum do get off with each other occasionally, and on the basis that a poem about fellatio has had 370 views and 63 replies so far, they're obviously a pretty frisky bunch.

One of the regular topics in the forum is to do with poetic form. Every fortnight one of the members comes up with a type of poem which has a particular meter, rhyme scheme or both, and other menbers have a go at writing a poem in that form. Some of the results are pretty good, actually, but I find myself inexplicably irritated by the whole idea.

It may just be that I'm intensely lazy, which I undoubtedly am, but I think that it's because, not being a poet myself, I feel that they should more properly be putting their energies into quaffing tumblers of absinthe while deflowering milkmaids or shepherd boys (according to gender and / or orientation) and other poet type stuff rather than having to worry about sets of instructions. For example:

"Capital letters denote identical lines.
Lower case letters denote rhyming lines.
(A and A’ are non-identical lines that rhyme with each other).


That's a terzanelle, by the way. Is it really? Well I never.

I mentioned this to my son, who despite being a professional musician is also of a literary bent. "This has nothing to do with writing!" I whined. "It has as much to do with poetry as doing a crossword! Or Scrabble!"

"I had a go at the ottava rima a while ago." he said. "I got into the rhythm of it after a while. I quite enjoyed it. And if you're planning to write this up try not to piss people off too much."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Road Trip

Unlike most Irishmen, who in my experience tend to come with a dangerously large helping of recklessness built-in, I've never been a natural risk-taker. I've always tried pretty hard to fend off spontaneity but sometimes it just creeps up from behind and starts humping your leg. As a result of carelessly lowering my guard in the Tourism Center in Dublin a couple of months ago, Sooz and I will soon be spending five days touring Ireland, Dublin to Dingle and back, crammed into a Landrover with two drivers and half a dozen total strangers.

I have a few concerns. At least one of our fellow-travellers could well turn out to be, if not exactly clinically insane, then at the very least the sort of bloke who drinks pints of Old Stoats' Scrotum and spends weekends with a group of chums re-enacting the Battle of Naseby. Other more likely other options for fellow-travellers, however, are Iowans in search of their roots, couples in matching cagoules who call each other "poppet", and of course, people who have decided that they quite like the idea of a road trip but also realise that their days of piloting the VW Microbus to Katmandu are over. People a bit like us, in fact.

Anyway, in an attempt to get slightly more grown-up about my writing, and spurred on by sporadic nagging from both Sooz (in person) and Toad (who sends me emails saying encouraging things like "write something, you arse") I've decided to keep a travel log and try to turn the trip into some kind of article - at the moment I'm trying to interest some magazines and newspapers in the idea, but haven't exactly been swamped with offers so far.

And, looking on the bright side, if the others on the trip are annoying enough I might even get a murder mystery out of it.