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Tag: cliches

A rage against Ratners fiction

11220095_10153209597673333_1041411994538382439_nI do not believe that real people think about moves to the country in the form of extended metaphors involving concrete floors slippery with fear. Not unless they are certain types of poet. So when a character in a novel is clearly not this type of poet, or any type of poet, why do I have to endure close third person accounts of such thoughts, page after fucking page? I find it a tiny bit annoying.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good metaphor, but they have to know their place. I have very slightly had it with self-indulgent pseudo literary crap being peddled as quality fiction. I love the sea as much as the next person. And, yep, I’ve been writing about it for years. But I don’t really expect anyone to want to read it, not on and off for a whole 60,000 words! Does the world really need another extended sea metaphor as novel? And the scent of lemons. More? Really? And don’t get me started on dust motes. It’s the same brand of crap Ratners offered. But they got found out.
I know what you’re thinking, sour grapes. Fuck, yes! I may not be George Eliot, but I can write something direct and authentic – I think (I write therefore I insecure). I’m sure I could do better. But where is my model, my inspiration, where do I look for the standard to meet if I aspire to publication. I want to get published. It is objective, ambition, dream. But there are places to which I will not go in pursuit of this. If this crap is where it’s at, I cannot and will not go there.
Let me give you an example. When I eat a croissant, flakes of soft, buttery pastry do not melt on my tongue reminding me of some fuckwit’s kiss or my childhood breakfasts with mother. My croissant gets dunked in hot chocolate that drips down my t-shirt leaving crumb-stuck stains that look a bit too much like dried breast milk. My croissant is from Pret and is eaten at the bus stop. (There is a bus stop theme in these posts. I’ll explain why one day, when I know you better.) My croissant contains calories that come to rest on my over plump belly. My croissant eating is just not… twinkly.

Pregnant pause

lava lamp You know those days when it has to rain and doesn’t. People say ‘It feels like rain’ but nothing happens. The sky is heavy and colourless, the air clammy. Nothing can be right again until it has rained. That’s what it’s like inside my head. Not writing makes me miserable. But writing is hard and the process of doing it makes me miserable sometimes. Creative writing is not my job, so many people’s response to my pained complaint that I haven’t written with a look that says ‘And?’ Why should it matter? It’s only a hobby after all. Try knitting or, better still, join a gym. I said this to the lovely CF and she said: ‘Don’t they think you’d choose something easier if it was just a hobby? Tap dancing is a hobby.’ (Personally, I found tap dancing very hard when I attempted it aged 13.) Writing is a compulsion. When it goes well it can be satisfying, but still you have to get over the hurdle of believing that it’s going well. How can you tell? It never seems to come out quite as well as you thought it possibly might. There is always something you can improve. You put it down and pick it up an hour, a week, a year later and realise all the things that are wrong with it – and how utterly shit you are as a writer. But you keep picking it up and you keep trying something new because you must. Although sometimes, the hurdle of insecurity is so enormous that you can’t get over it. In fact you are paralysed by the certainty that any attempt to do so will bring pain and humiliation (not unlike my attempt at running the 200m hurdles at school sports day). This blog in itself is an exercise in overcoming the critic in my head who says: ‘They’ll laugh. You’ll reveal how crap you are. You have nothing to say. And you’ll say it badly. You know your command of grammar can be shaky. And all those clichés.’ My critic has a lot to say for himself and never knows when to shut up. If I can do this to fight the bastard perhaps it will build my muscles and help me to get him on the ropes (cliché alert).