Tag Archives: Writing

The gift that keeps on giving


This one is from a notebook going back to 1998.

It needed considerably more tinkering with than some of my previous ones.

If anyone else is suffering from writer’s block, I would definitely recommend revisiting some of your old notebooks or files to help ease you back in. It’s part editing, part writing.

 

DEPARTURES

By David Milligan-Croft

 

After a tearful embrace at passport control,

I walk through the departure lounge at Charles de Gaulle.

 

I head to duty free to pick up a carton of cigarettes,

And a giant Toblerone. I don’t know who the Toblerone is for,

But it’s getting close to Christmas, and a giant Toblerone

Always comes in handy at Christmas.

 

I pick out some Chanel sunglasses

To give to you on my next trip over. I know you’ll love them,

Because I saw you trying them on once at Heathrow,

On our way to America. Then,

 

Out of nowhere, I am engulfed by your essence.

A surge of adrenalin makes my heart pound and my legs almost buckle.

I spin, dizzily, to see if you are there. I scan the crowd,

Trying to spot your beautiful face amongst the throng of passengers.

 

Then I am consumed by sorrow, when I realise

I am standing beside the Yves Saint Laurent perfume counter.

 

For more of my poetry, click on the image below.

LETMEFAIL-COV-A

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More from the vault


Whilst rummaging through a musty old cardboard box, I came across some more notebooks.

I found a couple more poems whose jib I liked the cut of so I reworked them. This is one from around 2003.

 

Driven to Distraction

By David Milligan-Croft

I am trying to avoid your gaze,

When you look up from your desk.

I am trying to ignore you,

When you stand by the water cooler.

I am trying not to notice the way your auburn hair cascades

When you lean over my desk.

I am trying not to inhale your Poison

As you glide by the photocopier.

I am trying not to notice your smile

From across the boardroom table.

I am trying to avert my eyes,

When your slender ankles clip-clip down the corridor.

I am trying to be ambivalent,

About the new dress you bought in Paris.

I am trying to dismiss your emerald eyes,

Framed in dark-rimmed spectacles.

I am trying to be oblivious to the way you laugh,

The way you think – even the way you blink!

And, try as I may to ignore these things,

I carry them with me, every moment,

Of every day.

Although the above poem isn’t in my collection, if you liked the style of it you can find more of them by simply clicking on the cover image below.

LETMEFAIL-COV-A

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The gift of the notebook


If you’ve read my previous post you’ll be aware that I’m going through a period of ‘writer’s block’, so I’ve been dabbling with a paintbrush instead.

Another thing I’ve been doing is going through some old notebooks. I have scores (if not hundreds) strewn around the house in various boxes, on bookshelves, in bags and suitcases, cupboards and wardrobes.

I always have a notebook on the go to jot down ideas or do a little sketch in. The problem is, I hardly ever look back on them. I guess the thinking is, that if the idea didn’t present itself at the time, then it was probably a rubbish idea. For the most part, this is true. But, occasionally, a little gem pokes its head to the surface. (And, wasn’t that the point of the notebook in the first place?)

I came across a poem I wrote in 2000. I can see why I didn’t take it any further at the time, but with a bit of jiggery-pokery I think I’ve got something quite nice. (See below the photo.)

So, the moral of the story is:

  1. Always carry a notebook.
  2. Don’t leave it 16 years to revisit them.
  3. Good ideas will present themselves in the end.

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DENIAL

By David Milligan-Croft

 

I inhale your words as you exhale them.

And I place them into separate categories:

Those that I wish to retain,

And those which I do not.

 

Words such as ‘terminate’ and ‘over’,

I place into the carbon dioxide pile,

To be expelled into the universe

As quickly as possible.

 

But the words of love and affection

I send directly into my bloodstream,

To feed my heart and my brain,

Keeping my soul sane, for a few moments longer.

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Painting instead of writing


Earlier this year I began work on my third novel. I was making good progress until it all ground to a halt as Spring gave way to Summer. I think the expression is “writer’s block”. You may have heard of it.

Anyhow, I wasn’t too worried as the school holidays were looming and I would be spending much of it trying to keep my two daughters entertained. So the chances of getting much work done were slim to zero.

Now that they’ve gone back to school, the “block” is still here. And it’s very frustrating. I get quite depressed if I am not creating something. I worked in advertising for 30 years and every day I’d go into work and have to create something.

So, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I turned my hand to something else – painting. Mainly watercolours, but acrylics too.

Here are a few examples I thought I’d share with you. I know I won’t be getting an exhibition at the National Gallery anytime soon, but I quite like the colours and freshness of some of them.

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Self portrait in acrylic.

 

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Get your FREE copy of Peripheral Vision.


 

TOS26

Only kidding, you cheapskates. It’s £1.99.

April Fools’.

Now then, look down the back of the sofa for a bit of loose change and get yourself over to Amazon, as it’ll be £10.99 tomorrow.

 

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Get 43,415 words FREE!


That’s right, my collection of short stories, Ten Orbits of the Sun is F.R.E.E. for a limited time only.

Not only do you get 13 tantalising tall tales for gratis, you also get a sample chapter of my latest novel, Peripheral Vision, thrown in for good measure.

Simply click on the cover image below for your free copy.

All I ask in return is that if you like it, you’d be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon. (Indie authors live and die by their reviews.) Obviously, if you don’t like it, I’ll thank you to keep your opinions to yourself!

But it’s only free for 5 days so you’d best get your skates on.

TOS

Offer starts Friday 15th January, ends Tuesday 19th January 2016. (Although, I think this might be US ESB time.) Hey-ho, I’m sure you’ll manage.

Front cover photography courtesy of Mike O’Toole.

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The Boating Party with author N.J. Rayner


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of Q&As with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are one of the most important aspects of our civilisation.

Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy.

Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society. To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

Perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where is the creativity that will solve the world’s problems going to come from? Including economic and scientific ones?

In this Q&A, I am delighted to welcome author Nigel J. Rayner.

Nigel Rayner

Nigel J. Rayner

What has been your greatest personal or career achievement?

That’s a difficult one? I used to be a pretty serious climber in my younger days, and have enjoyed many magnificent and unforgettable climbs, but I suppose to pick just one, it would probably be being a dad to my son Ben. As for career achievements, surviving the 70’s and 80’s in advertising without any permanent damage to my liver has to be up there.

What has been your greatest sacrifice?

My bank account, after putting my son through private education.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My wife Valerie, who has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a full time writer, even though it’s a risky decision.

Who, or what, inspires you?

Creative people. Whether it’s writers, artists or filmmakers, seeing something really original is always inspiring.

What makes you unhappy?

Bureaucracy, bean counters, technology when it doesn’t work, and the squirrel glued to Donald Trump’s head.

What makes you happy?

My wife, my son, beautiful landscapes and getting nice reviews.

What are you reading?

Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Today has been a mix of Pink Floyd, Del Amitri, Steve Earle & Debussy.

What’s your favourite film?

The Godfather.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Either a nice cup of tea, or a cold beer.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

1967, HaightAshburySan Francisco.

What frightens you?

The people who run the world.

What do you do to relax?

Listen to music while walking in the countryside.

What do you do when you’re angry?

Become very petulant and irrational.

What can’t you live without?

My iPod.

What’s your motto?

God loves a trier.

Where is your Utopia?

The road from Grasse to Cap D’ Antibes, in an E-Type jag with Kaleidoscope Affair by Swing Out Sister on the stereo.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

Try and succeed where Guy Fawkes failed.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Bill Gates, because nobody should be allowed to get away with inventing bloody Windows, without getting a rocket up their arse.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Katherine Ross from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

What are you working on at the moment?

The Assassinator, book two in The Stobes Trilogy.

What is your ambition?

To write a Best Seller.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

The lack of humanity in the world.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Douglas Adams, Frank Zappa, Peter Ustinov, Margret Thatcher, Arthur Scargill & Peter Cook.

What would be on the menu?

Pie, chips & gravy.

What question would you have liked me to have asked?

Do you watch the news while standing in the kitchen sink dressed as Kirk Douglas from The Vikings?

Thank you Nigel.

 

Biography:

N.J. Rayner grew up in Mellor, Cheshire in the United Kingdom, where as well as briefly holding the record in the local “100 yard Tripe Juggling” category, he was also one half of “The Flying Yoghurt Brothers” a specialised trapeze act involving death defying feats of acrobatics on a plank of wood balanced on two upturned buckets.

He has played golf with Bernhard Langer, Des O’Connor’s Pianist and the man from the Oxo commercials, been a Dog Handler at Crufts – where he came last – and been ridiculed by both Billy Connolly and Stan Boardman.

He now lives in Kent, and is married with one son and two step children.

After spending over thirty years working in the advertising industry for several top agencies, he decided to become a full time author in 2014. His debut novel ‘The Time Table’ is the first book in The Stobes Trilogy. The second book in the series ‘The Assassinator’ will be published around July 2015, with the third book ‘The Exodus’ expected in December 2015. He also has a fourth novel, Peter Panic and the Book of Dreams due to be published at the beginning of 2016.

He firmly believes that Douglas Adams was correct when he said the world is a giant computer program run by mice, and refuses to take life too seriously.

Favorite authors include Douglas Adams, Tom Sharpe, Terry Pratchett, Stuart Marconie, Joseph Heller and Alan Titchmarsh.

Nigel’s Amazon author page.

www.njrayner.com

thetimetable_njrayner

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