Tag Archives: Words Worth

On style

the wall

I just hammer something half way into shape, throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks… have a look at aftermath… maybe sugar and spice.

(J. Loving, private correspondence)

Doing what the customer wants is a recipe for conservatism and the reduction of humanity to a bunch of “yes” people with no innovation and certainly no improvement.

All the best writers (and philosophers) are clear and coherent. Those who are not are shams and silly children trying to be clever clever for lack of talent.

(Oscar-nominated filmmaker Anthony Howarth, private correspondence)

poets leak internal weather
the outside has less meaning when the inside is open
I like it when words do different jobs to their usual, proper ones. I don’t want to write if I am only prepared to stay on the safe side. There is no growth on that side.

I have my fave writing tools on the table always – black Bic, blue, green Bic, orange felt-tip, also, there’s a yellow felt-tip this week, and I like using a magenta felt-tip, sometimes HB pencils… and a red pencil I keep losing, then it all depends which one is closest to hand when I need to write… so it’s almost Random, but I’d say it’s emotional and aesthetic, too. Like if I was drawing or painting. My notebooks are my best friends, constant. They go back years and are jam-packed with thoughts, ideas, drawings, rough drafts etc. going back, sporadically, to 1973.

I call it MY writing, that’s all. It is MINE. It has to be Mine.¬†I have to make it MINE, make the words MY very own words. I wouldn’t bother doing it if I couldn’t find ways to make the words mine. Like, I’m facing a brick wall built by men, tradition etc. and I find my own ways to dissolve the grout, seep through the cracks, climb over, dig under, go around this ugly, brutish wall. Wall built by dullards. My only tool is the slippery part of me that is very me. Very me speaks my words, not theirs. Very me speaks their words in my own way. Their words – used by me – can become my words.

(Penny Goring, private correspondence )


In The Beginning

A fellow writer tells me how his writing career began:

My first poem was written very early in the morning in our bathroom with a highlighter on a crumpled piece of paper shortly after I’d learned to read and write in the second grade and was literally mostly composed of the words “I am alone” written line after line. I did not write it for anyone I merely awoke in the middle of the night and expressed something that had awakened me. My mother found the piece where I had left it in the bathroom and came into my room very angry that same night probably an hour or two later.
“Your sister used to leave shit like this lying around,” she said holding my first piece and yelling to wake me. “And you saw what happened to her!”
I did not realize at such a young age why my sister had gone I just noticed one day she was not around.
“I don’t want to see shit like this lying around anymore!” She said and slammed the door.

I love my mother.

This was my first poem.

I did not write again until the fifth grade to impress a girl and when I did her boyfriend began to cut himself out of jealousy and I did not write again until high school.

I have always refused to be brought to my knees by these things any longer than is necessary to rest. I suppose I was doomed to be a tormented writer. I suppose now the only question that remains, once I can finally convince myself that I am skilled enough at what I do to be truly proud of myself, is whether I will be a tormented writer serving drinks, dropping a fry basket and barely making rent for the remainder of my life or will I be barely making rent off of the word.

This is an abridged version of the original text sent to me by W.T. Johnston. Dare we like it? Beyond the pain provoked by empathy with the child, beyond the brutality of maternal rebuke, the unanticipated wrath of a jealous peer’s sickly/sickening eruptions of emotional inadequacy in the face of so much beauty – and I may say, humility, because I have read so much more by the same author in the meantime. Dare we? I loved it.