Saturday 28 November 2009

Beauty is truth, and truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Photo of a Grecian urnThe title of this post comes from the final two lines of Ode on a Grecian Urn, written by John Keats in 1819. I'm not usually a fan of poetry, but I do have a soft spot for Keats. In my humble opinion, he was the greatest of the Romantic poets, and it's a crying shame he didn't receive the attention he deserved during his lifetime.

Since I'm such a fan, I decided to go and see Bright Star, Jane Campion's latest film depicting his romance with Fanny Brawne. Critics are touting it as her best work since The Piano, and I'm deeply saddened to say that this may be so, but it's also by far one of the most boring films I've seen all year - and I forced myself to sit through the travesty that was Dorian Gray.

Scenes are left woefully unfinished as though Campion got so bored of her own work that she simply wandered off to do something else, while the actors seem prone to occasional fits of over-acting. The costumes are gorgeous, but the dialogue lets it all down as it attempts to be pithy but instead comes across as self-indulgent. The film focusses more on Fanny and her talent for dressmaking, which in itself doesn't bother me as it's nice to see a film that re-trains the focus on the muse instead of the genius. What does bother me is how happily the film skips over Keats' actual poetry, only occasionally referring to it, in favour of burning glances between the star-crossed lovers.

As a seemingly headstrong, independent young woman, I desperately wanted to like Fanny. She's at odds with society around her and simply wants to pursue her heart, regardless of convention or practicality. Yet I couldn't like her at all. Yes, she inspired some of the greatest poetry ever written in the English language, but based on this depiction of her...I can't fathom how.

Friday 27 November 2009

The City's True Face (Flash Fiction)

The darkness of the early hours surrounds me as I walk up the street. Flickering street lights hum quietly among bare tree branches. Silhouettes dance across shuttered shop fronts. A fox lurks behind a phone box, nosing through discarded food wrappers.

The low drone of occasional traffic ceases. For a few moments, no cars pass. Only the steady rhythm of my footsteps breaks the silence. Darkened windows gaze down upon me. Could I be the only living person left?

London briefly raises her veil and I see her true face. Centuries of history dance in her eyes, a knowing smile playing about her lips. The blood, sweat and tears of millions roll down her pock-marked face. She is mine.

A motorbike roars past, tearing open the night as it scatters fallen leaves in its noisy wake. Their dry whispering tries to tell me something, but the illusion is broken. I am just another citizen walking home at 4am.

Monday 23 November 2009

Using a writing prompt

I stumbled across this post and decided to have a go using the writing prompt provided. Make sure you check it out, and maybe try it yourself. For now...enjoy.

Your boat rocks back and forth, and you peer over the edge, catching a glimpse of something you thought was gone forever.

Oh no, is that what I think it is? It can't be, but it is. Right there below the boat. A dark red 1972 Dodge Charger. Rust spots the hood like automotive acne. I briefly catch sight of the Barbie doll head hung from the rear view mirror. The blonde hair floats in dark green water, caught in listless currents. A white hand still grips the steering wheel, swollen flesh pocked with fish bites. The rope binding the arms to the seat is almost rotted away.

A motorboat blasts by. The wake rocks my boat, sending splashes of cold water over my legs. The force of the wake stirs the Charger. The rope gives way and a body slumps forwards. Bill’s bloated face gazes up at me, his eyes open and accusing. The skin around his mouth hangs in strips, his jaw contorted in a grin. I scream while Bill laughs.

You can never keep a bad man down.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Death of a NaNoWriMo dream

There are still a few days left until the end of NaNoWriMo 2009, but I'm sad to say - I've given up. Changes in personal circumstances have left me way behind, and I've lost interest in my idea. I wasn't exactly pleased with the work I'd done anyway, and now I have no impetus to go back and try to catch up. On the up side, it's gotten me fired up for re-editing the book I wrote last year for NaNoWriMo.

Normal posts will resume next week...