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The Hurt of Care Home Criticism

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“Well, I guess it’s the sort of thing you would have in a rest home, sitting on the table for when people are bored.”

It’s not the way I imagined someone talking about my first book of poetry. I had worked for years, endured deep thought and debate about single words in some of these poems and then fought hard to produce it all in a good looking book. And while I hope those unfortunate people who are bored in their rest home would find enjoyment and comfort in my book, it is not the location I had dreamed about for it. And I certainly didn’t expect to hear comments like this. As an intended compliment too! Seriously, the person thought they were complimenting me.
When you place your beloved “baby” into the public domain, it is perhaps done with immense trepidation. Even the most honest of comments, intended positively, can be soul destroying. I have found learning to smile in the face of what is sometimes coming across as abuse, difficult to master. And yet we heard this week how one disgruntled comment led to a bottle over the head.

It seems to me that sometimes the hardest things to learn in writing is not about the letters, words or spaces we form on the page. Neither are they about the formatting, publishing process, pricing and merchandising we are all a part of these days. Instead, it is simply being able to let your “baby” go.

When our children go into the world, people pass comment on them, sometimes praising them, at times not so. To let our kids loose on this world hurts, in comments and sometimes in how they change when the world gets a hold of them. Our writing goes through a similar process and we as parents must take the flak that comes. Our children grow by exposure to the world and so does our writing. And as parents we need to roll with the punches.
I think the hardest thing may be for screen writers, play writers or books that make it to film or television. Someone else then takes your child and changes them. Clips off the golden locks, dresses them in those gaudy colours or totally restricts their behaviour. Maybe the remuneration helps. I’ll let you know when I am there!

The simple fact is we can no more guard our writing from everything than we can our children. It is all about growing up. Yes we can vet who our writing is exposed to in some cases, change bad influences but ultimately we have to let some things just fly over us. Either that or ring every single care home and make sure there’s a copy on each table!

I’m currently publishing my first novel and the Kickstarter for Crescendo is running¬†here until 21/11/15. Please support if you can.

G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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National Poetry Day

It’s National poetry day so here’s one I made earlier in celebration. It’s from my poetry book “Four Life Emotions” and a wee favourite of mine. It tells of the relationship between my mum and my grandmother when the former was visiting the latter in a nursing home after the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. Sometimes life just flips on it’s head and we’re never truly ready for it.

My Child

She is my child.

She lies head caressed to my bosom, a babe in arms,
Seeking security of my presence.

She is my child.

I cut her food and instruct her on how to eat,
To take the joy of her new life.

She is my child.

She relies on me for the basic human functions,
Assisting her with her mistakes.

She is my child.

I hold her as she walks with unsure balance and direction
But with persistent agitation.

She is my child.

I am close to her and she to me,
For she said I’ll miss her.

She is my child.

She was my mother.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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This is a little piece that came to me over lunch. With so many refugees, it set me wondering to how I respond to them, and more so, how offensive my thinking can be.

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I wondered which rooms we could put them in,
Planned the beds, with that smug little grin
That says I am helping you, doing good.
We could share meals and show you good food,
Cut out the spices as our meat is pure,
Not rancid or left lying in heat.
Would you need some space for your queer little customs?
Maybe a car but it’s the left from now on.
And your children, we’d dress in uniforms neat
They would still stand out but their clothes would match.
After a time we’d show you how to fit in
Take up our ways, civilised things.

When I look back at the thoughts that ran riot,
I thank Him that at least we were willing.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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The Ponderings of a Past Poet

Lately I have been challenged when reading poetry with some of the wide differences in the voices of the past and those of the present. My father bought me a book of poetry by Yeats and reading it I began to wonder how he, or indeed anyone from a different time would react to the poetry of today. This poem flowed from that. It’s not a judgement or comment on today’s writings but rather a thought on how we see that which breaks our conventions. Is it modern and relevant, or are these people merely lazy and dismissing good form? Well that’s your decision.

When did poetry stop rhyming
With words and beat combining?
When did alliteration alight
And stark endings happen?
What would old poets say
To smiths who craft their way
Without reference to known style or grace
Cultured phrases lost without trace.

Am I just a fusspot, or poor in my sight,
That I flee from prose which although not trite
Occurs in a form that doesn’t suffice,
That neither flows or connects,
And loses its way in a mesh of
Exaggerated expletive and angered intent.

When did our words become free
And not molded by ourselves,
Broncos on the hoof, not birds on the wing.
When did all form collapse
So that now we write like a child,
Building his Lego from whatever is in the box.

Like the painter’s of my time,
We should tell of vivid but recognized colours
Of days that we recognize but honed
And polished into a creation
Which let’s us drive in comfort while
Allowing the road to be challenged.

It is prose, not poetry, Sir. And I reject it.

GR Jordan’s first book of his poetry “Four Life Emotions” is available at Amazon, Smashwords and other outlets.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!