I I can’t quite believe it but I’ve made it to the end of my April A to Z blogging challenge. It’s been hard work yet incredibly rewarding and I’ve done it – I started a blog a month ago and I’ve actually written something that other people have read – amazing!
As I don’t have much spare time, the majority of these posts have been written late at night and some haven’t been published until seconds before midnight, just meeting the deadline. I’ve still managed to get up at 6:00 on weekdays though and, as a result, I haven’t had as much sleep as usual this month so I’m tired. Zzzzz…
Once I’ve had a few days to catch up on some sleep I’m definitely going to carry on blogging; I’ve got the writing bug now!
Here’s one of my favourite quotes, from Roald Dahl’s The Twits, on a photo I took yesterday in Cefn Onn Park (this week I’ve mostly been experimenting with picture quotes!):
What’s your favourite quote?
I like poems. I read English Literature at university, so I’ve studied a fair amount of poetry.
During my ‘A’ levels, I studied the work of a Caribbean poet called Grace Nichols; her poems fused English and Creole and were so different to anything I’d ever read before. They were so vivid. To demonstrate, here’s the opening stanza of her poem Caribbean Woman Prayer:
Wake up Lord
brush de sunflakes from yuh eye
back de sky a while Lord
and hear dis Mother-woman
on behalf of her pressure-down people.
Her work seemed so much more exotic and exciting than traditional British poetry; it spoke to me more. Pretty cool, isn’t it.
I read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road in my late teens and instantly became obsessed with everything Beat generation-related. While I like the Beat writers in general, I particularly love the convention-breaking ‘spontaneous bop prose’ that decorates some of Kerouac’s early work and the fact that the first draft of On the Road was written in just three weeks; he typed like an improv jazz musician.
I love the way that, in several of Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical novels (particularly On the Road, Dharma Bums, the Subterraneans and Desolation Angels), the narrator embarks on a journey filled with hipsters and hobos, yearning for experience of life and something to believe in, reflecting the post-war confusion of America’s youth at the time.
Through his writing Kerouac challenged the old American certainties about society, values, religion and authority much in the same way as James Dean did through acting and Elvis did through rock and roll. He wrote without inhibition and set up his own conventions of what is acceptable socially, morally and stylistically. Pretty cool stuff.