Jermy & Westerman

It’s always a shame to  have to report a bookshop closing its doors for the last time but sadly its happened again, this time to my favourite second hand bookshop in Nottingham, Jermy & Westerman which ceased to be the last weekend.

I wonder if my continued support would have helped, had I not been abroad for the last year and a half, which in turn fuels my need to support the remaining bookshops when I have some spare Sterling. A noble excuse for being  a book junkie but the mutual enablement is pitched perfectly.

Despite being a small book space with only two floors and a few rooms there were always plenty of  good books on offer over a variety of subjects.  In fact being a regular I noticed there was a regular turn over of stock, to cater to the needs of the obsessive. Continue reading “Jermy & Westerman”

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Quality or Quantity?

Today I came across an email with the title, How many poems do you write? Quality vs Quantity.  As a moderately interesting subject heading it seemed worth a couple of minutes perusal as an accompaniment to my breakfast of coffee and pandesal.

The email asked if poets and readers favour the raw poem as first written, or an edited version, which may be technically better but dilutes some of the immediacy of the original writing.

It then went on to mention that a question often asked is how do I get published in the print journals? The short and underwhelming response to that bein; nobody really knows, its all subjective, people on blogs and websites won’t be judging to anything like the same criteria as journals.

It’s a shame there was no real point to the email, as asking and then avoiding any real exploration of the question (but inviting you to hop over to the website to discuss it) just wastes everyone’s time. Continue reading “Quality or Quantity?”

Dissonant Silhouette

Cognisant Dissonance

~

Ways well worn

This familiar place of stone and brick

Temporal, yet not entirely material

~

Spectres of the past

Intermittently visible

Return

~

memories distant impose themselves

On the present,

An overlay of times a world away

~

Paths intersected,

Long faded,

Recovered only in reminiscences

~

The bustling city

Shorn of its socialness,

A perturbing reminder of the past

~

Often we meet in imagination

Do I dream

Or the city? 

Wanderer’s Words

I love the solitary art of reading, of being alone, even in a crowded place.  Having never been much of a public speaker, its much more preferable to have the voices in my head – in a sane way – to be fluid and not stop/start like my usual delivery tends to be.

Editing, as my day job brings the same comforting seclusion.  This has been the way of things for the past year as I rarely venture out on week days.  The thought of staying within the literary world pleases me,  although this isn’t really doable in reality, of course.

I like books much more than I do people.  Part of that is down to the insulation that I put around myself, with all the various moving around that I have done in the past few years.  I find that I would like to know where I will settle before I commit to roots being dropped and making friends.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t some personal post to let you in to my mindset, but really just a post to get words out there as I am struggling at the moment to get anything down that is either coherent or interesting.

I also recently wrote a sports article which one rejection letter said was excellent.  I can’t give the article away though as nobody seems interested in taking it.  Further words will be forthcoming when I get my mojo back.

Received and Noted

Since 2013, most of the thoughts that arrive on this blog have first been scrawled casually, or furiously into my notebook.  A constant companion for just over six years, travelling with me over three continents. Inevitably, now it is sadly full.

We have travelled to plenty of museums, mountains, and bookshops together; whilst resting in many pubs, coffee shops, and parks along the way.  Sat in the sun, or curled up in bed, in all the elements, it’s been a delightful bonding with an inanimate object.

The style of handwriting, once neat and small, conserving the space, turned into more messy but better worded observations on places, books, ideas, etc, as time passed.  Blue ink turned to a mixture of colours as pens were ‘borrowed’ and never returned, leaving me no choice but to acquire them in the same way.  This is now one of my small pool of talents. Continue reading “Received and Noted”

WP 10th Anniversary

Whilst laboriously checking through all the WordPress notifications that had accumulated in my absence, I came across one informing me that I have now clocked up a decade on this platform, most of which is due to this blog, est. 2011.  Although it shouldn’t have, that milestone still came as a bit of a shock.

Plenty of things have changed in the preceding decade.  My writing and my taste in books in a personal level, but also the blogger generation that I first started with, sadly few are still writing after all these years.  I often wonder what the ones who left are up to, in my more melancholy moments.

My life has changed immensely thanks to this humble platform.  Travels abroad, new friends met from all over the world – some face to face – introductions to many new books and different ways of experiencing life, forays into the book publishing scene,  and those rectangular packages that sometimes arrive in the post.  And of course, most recently meeting my wife Crissy and subsequent move abroad. Continue reading “WP 10th Anniversary”

Book Memories #2: Ruminations on Train Travels

The second in a (very) occasional series about experiences that comes to mind about my reading past.  I honestly thought I had done more entries than this but a quick look at the 205 drafts saved, reveals a bunch of rotting posts in waiting, that need to be rewritten.

https://pixabay.com/en/gleise-seemed-train-416460/

Dashing off these notes in that zone of midday when the intersection – of which we reside on one of the corners – is devoid of people and noise thanks to the heat.  Only the whir of the heroic electric fan and the clicking of Rambo’s claws on tile as he wanders around intrude upon my silence.

As I read (the perfect pastime to aid digestion of the midday meal, and it’s not considered a meal unless it is with rice) my latest fiction book, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, one of those random thoughts arrived at the station of consciousness.  It was a memory of a train journey that I didn’t take.  Although the memory is hazy, I am certain it was a train journey taken by Michael Palin in one of his travel books, probably Sahara or Himalaya.

Judging by the two narrowed down titles, I am certain I would have read both in Summer, thanks to my ‘method reading’ and the reasoning that unless it is a book from a so-called cold country then Summer is undoubtedly the season to embark on book travel, as well as real.  It wasn’t the actual journey that was the focus of my thoughts though, rather the accompanying feeling to reading the words.  It’s that sense of the intrepid, a unique kind that is available only to the armchair traveller, accompanying through the words but layering it with one’s own imagination and experiences.  It’s an exhilarating call to the upcoming adventure and the unpredictability that inspires and excites creativity.

Unlike actual travelling which is on the whole less romantic, where the sense of the uncharted is undermined by all the research and planning, it is rather the sense of open-ended wonder of the unfamiliar that is placed in a comfortable framework of certainty.  This reading experience is by no means a common thing, rather it follows the reader around and creeps up from time to time, a welcome companion who greets me every so often, signalling a new part of a expedition, promising new perspectives and rituals to discover.