Cut a length of wood into pieces. Maybe squared off-cuts. Now, feel the edges, don't sand the wood or file it down. The roughness is how your poems should feel. A poem when raw is ten times a poem that is polished.
If you find you cannot pick yourself up when you fall then your life is too heavy. Cut away the loose parts and tighten up who you are. When you stand again you will be fitter for the course.
A friend is a person who understands who you are. If there is ever a moment when that comes into conflict, you are only mates. I am a quiet person, an introvert, some days I can liven up. I enjoy my silence. I have no need to constantly talk. Being myself is more important to me than satisfying others.
For every rejection I have, is another window to open. I have learnt to allow the winds go through my world and blow themselves away. Yes, we all want hope and admiration for what we do, but you cannot let a storm live inside you. How are you meant to breathe if you do?
A poem is a moment in someone's life. As poet's we are creating history. Every poet needs to be read. Every poem they have written is a chance to see what they were feeling at the moment. It's a stamp of a few seconds. A poet may only write a few minutes of their entire life, even if they write a 1000 poems. But each one is important. We stamp our life onto this planet with words. Musicians are the same, and philosophers. Be proud you're a poet. You're giving life, a life.
If you knew your whole life before you had got there how would you feel emotion? Take everything that hits you as a test of character. No one asks questions when things are going well, why should we questions when things are going bad?
The poem I write today is the poem I develop three months from now. All new poems are scratches. Give each one time and then see what happens when you get to see them again.
If I was right as much as I was wrong I would have a quicker life. Sometimes it's good to be wrong. As long as you learn and realise why you are wrong. If you think you're always in the right, do something wrong on purpose. See how liberating it can be.
I used to give up on poems that didn't get published. Now I have learnt to leave them for months on end. Change a title, stanzas, add some words, delete some words. As longs as the skeleton is still there it doesn't harm changing the meaty parts. Never give up on what you have. What I know today I probably knew five years ago, but didn't see it.
Each day we change, it may only be a millimetre. If you look back where you were at twenty, thrity, forty and so forth you will see as a person you are different. This is why knowing yourself and realising life experiences is important for understanding your poetry. You have to realise that big changes in your life between redrafting poems may move you further away from the initial drafts. We may think a poem changes over time but it's us that change. We move as people in such a subtle way that we don't even realise it. A poem I write today and redraft three months from now is going to be seen so differently. At times during this earth experience we have quiet times. It can go on for months. If that is the case then your poems may only need a tweak as you as a person have only changed a few centimietres. If something big happens, like a death of a loved one, redundancy, ill health, divorce, marriage, birth of a child, moving home, lottery win, then the poem will have a bigger change because you will have changed by hundreds of centimetres.
We're all being tugged by a boat to the next life and beyond. You may not feel it but over time you will see it. Try and be in charge of these changes. Hopefully, you will see your poems better when redrafting.
As poets we all nudge each other. As a poet it's hugely important to read as many poets as possible. I don't like terms such as - best, better, like or dislike - of poets and their work. Buy peoples books and read them. See what door or window they open in your mind. See where they nudge you to.
You can view a tower from miles away or walk right up to it and stare up to the top. But unless you walk the steps inside, you will never know what you can see from it. Sometimes a bit of hard work can open your mind that much more.
If you want to know a person, see what weather they can endure on a walk. And you may be surprised that someone who likes the rain is a better person than someone who is a fair weather type. Be careful of people who come across as being soft.
Opinions create debate that then create thinking that leads to being more creative. Don't be afraid to share your opinion. Be proud but also accessible to what others have to say. As long as you don't believe everything you say is right then you can keep having an opinion. It will get you further than standing there and letting others rule your thoughts.
How you step out of bed is going to determine your day. Be brave, stretch and yawn before getting up, then make that first step a good one full of confidence and strength. The last step as you enter the bed make it light and thoughtful.
Being a poet is a way of life. But writing is a job.
Jumping to conclusions is one of my worst traits. Sometimes I have the dial too high when I cook food. I need to turn that down as well as myself. Knowing things may take longer but will be better to deal with when I sit.
If I couldn't be myself on this planet then who can I be? Pleasing others is the worst way to live. It's better to be liked by a few than you yourself liking many for the sake of it.
My mistakes splinter my life. Never shave these down. As all you will do is repeat them again months later. You will do mistakes for the rest of your life but do new ones. I would rather a 1000 mistakes than one being repeated a 1000 times.
Poetry is needed more now than ever. Society today is too shallow. Hence, people have no time to read poetry as it's too deep. We have created a planet where everything is quick and can be replaced. The reasoning of thought has left our minds. Poetry makes people think. If we use our brains with more depth we look after our lives better. There was a time when making the most of what you had was important. For some reason that has been diluted. Read and write poetry. It gives you a sense of hope and thought. And then makes you realise your own shallow life and you will take care of your world much better.
Always look people in the eye. If they drop theirs then you need to be careful with what's behind their back. A relationship is built on eye-contact.
The last few months have been tough. The last three years have been tough. But I believe there's a point to all of it. Some days I get lost and struggle through. Then there are days when I battle with everything I have. I don't stop because I may deserve bad luck, I carry on to create my own good luck. You can fill the glass yourself.
Whenever I meet someone I alwasy try and see the human being first. What successful people do with their lives is down to character, talent, outlook, consistency and having doors opened for them. The more you do the more things happen. If you knock doors some will eventually open. It's all about hard work. But, we're not all like that. Some are happy being themselves and living a routine sort of life. Not everyone wants to nurture their talents or find out if they have one. Underneath anyone's success is their human side. I am not the sort of person to give instant respect because someone has done somethng amazing or different with their life. A famous person is only known by more people. Take care of the people that love you and you love. If some big name pops up sometime see what they're like as a human first before giving praise and thinking your below them. Most of the time you are not.
Some poems will hit the buffers. And you have to accept that's where they will go to. Then there's some that will fly along the rails for a long time. It's not that they are better poems but some go further than others. Either way, you have to find the great ones and let the others sit. I don't mind writing poor poems. One day they will carry me to the next station. It's picking them to do that, that is the key.
A good poet will be like a good fisherman. When a fish is caught they don't give up and say 'Ah well! I will try harder in the next life' and then swim to the net. They struggle to escape. They take the hook to where they want to take it. A good poet will let the poem tire before using it for themselves. Let poems run a bit before puting it in a collection or submission file.
Be proud you're a poet. I had an interview the other day and one of them asked 'You're a poet? I cannot imagine you making much money from poetry' and he had a smile on his face.
I sat there. Slightly thrown by what he said. So I told him it's a life. These people who have no idea what poetry is, let them carry on like that. I am proud to live the life of a poet. For me, it's the same as a Zen Master, a Master Craftsman, A Martial Artist, A pianist, some of these don't earn any money. There's thousands of people who do Kung Fu but don't compete. They meditate, train, eat well, live a quiet fruitful life full of purpose. That's the same for me. I would rather be a poet and poor than a millionaire living under a fake sun.
If you try and please the world you will end up on your own. Be yourself and people will listen.
A person without identity is the danger. We need a purpose, a goal, something to strive for or build a future with. We cannot ignore our instincts and true self. Society is creating barriers for all walks of life and they need breaking down. When I started writing poetry I wasn't embarrassed but I was aware that some may frown or give sarcasm. People older than me, like neighbours or work colleagues. Poeple who think they know me and can for some reason, have an opinion. When I was young there was not much faith put to us, or hope. I was a bugger and did silly things but I always knew I could be different. If I had found poetry at ten my life would have been different, but whether better, is another thought entirely. Sometimes you have to experience life for things to come out. I have done many things wrong but none of it should pin me down to stop being who I am. I am a poet.
And the people who have always been negative towards me...what are they doing today that's different from twenty years ago?
The people who are in my life today are no better than twenty years ago. But their way of living suits me. It is who I am. I am happy to have known so many varied people, all have given me something down the years. Some are amazing humans, much better than me. With big hearts and an honest humour about their characters. I would like to think they have all contributed to where I am today and where I may end up. The day I stop remembering them is the day I stop moving forward.
Two choices - 50,000 a year job and lose my poetry. Or homeless and be a poet. I would choose the latter.
Why? It's who I am.
Sometimes we have to spar with our poems, othertimes we have to fight hard and throw all sorts of combinations at them. All poems are different, be careful how you redraft. You don't want it battered and bruised or standing there laughing at you.
A good chef is someone who tastes his food. A good poet is someone who values there reading. Fill your brain with as much material as possible, the body will digest it in due course.
You can only say one step at a time if you know how many steps are needed to get to where you want. I'd prefer to leap.
If you enjoy what you do, does it matter what level you are at? I am not into the next 'Big thing' or 'A list of UK's Greatest whatever' I think all that talk is elitist. Be proud of who you are and happy that you're happy. I take my poems each day as they come. I try to learn and improve. I will go on stage with any poet in the UK. I wont be undermined or have a feeling of inferiority. i will be happy to stand there and send out my words. To be a poet is a great find for me. But I don't sit back thinking 'that poet is better or I am better'. I get on with it. Zen Master's don't behave like that. They are proud to live a life that is purposeful. Ego's don't do nothing to the soul except shorten it.
Every person on earth deserves a life. If you ignore the fact that someone is being punished for what they are then you are as bad as the culprit. Having a phobia is not God's way. It is humans. We should be respectful of every person on earth. No one has a right to victimise someone for how they live. If there was one way to live we wouldn't have tendencies to live another way.
You cannot climb a ladder unless it is leaning on something. Find the thing
to lean on!
What a poet does between poems shapes their work far more than redrafting.
We go through life with what we see as true. But that 'Truth' is usually wrong.
Poems are plants. There's plants for every time of the year. They grow when they feel it's time. Poems are the same. They will let you know when it's time to flower.
My poetry journey keeps turning. I am now at the MMU writing school. It has started off great. I am hoping to learn much more. Whether anything on this page will change who knows? I hope some things do. As that will be a means of progress. The fog has been wiped a bit more from my eyes
When anxiety was at its worse I could not go on a train journey from the village where I live to the local town. It was too much. Silly thoughts flooded my brain. I was at times embarrassed. So I took the bus. The train journey was seven minutes. What can you do in seven minutes? make beans and toast and a cup of tea? Sometimes I would stand on the train with sweat pouring off me. My heart wanting out. Brain fizzing. Seven minutes when you have a mental ilness feels like six hours
Write a short story about you. Pick a day where you were in the wrong and treated someone badly. Give the story to someone you have affection for. Watch them read the story. How they react is what the other person felt inside
Imagine if we lived our life in front of a mirror. The mirror stayed around three feet all day. Everywhere we went we had this mirror. But the mirror showed us the instant past all the time. Replaying everything we said or did. Reactions and actions, smiles and tears. If the option came to rid ourselves of the mirror how many would be brave to keep it?
Lionel Messi may play with great players, huge stadiums, be loved by millions. We may all wish to be like him. But Sunday League player will play on bumpy pitches, exposed weather, hangovers, a lack of flexibility, full-time job. But if he enjoys it as much then he is getting the same feelings. Nothing should be graded or scaled. Your own feelings are as important as any other person's.
Trying to fit the human being into the primate is like putting on a pair of gloves. Even though you are wearing a pair. Sooner or later you're going to start to lose range of motion, feeling, sensation, point, touch, grip, usage.
Up until my late-twenties my mind was unbalanced. I tried to fix it with ways that were not nature based. I nearly fell off the world. Depression hit me and I ignored nature. When I started to see the things I had done, or said, I reached out to nature. She took me in. Brought sense to my mind. I have been progressing ever since. Very slowly but each year I get closer to who I am. If people look at me with the eyes they had back then maybe they should try nature too.
I'm 39 years of age, but I'm already confessing wrongdoings. Hopefully in time it will clear the way to have a good life
We live in a world where every one can have faults except ourselves. Even the dog. But we are at fault for assuming such a thought. Personalities are not to be rubber stamped. If you stop looking at others and pushed ahead you may find yourself being more helpfu
Today I was angry, frustrated, peeved. It took my whole morning up. People push you with their ways. After dinner I calmed. I went bird watching later up the hills. When I came back I realised my morning was wasted by me. I had tried to read and learn writing skills but my mind was all over the place. Tonight I ask myself this, does the earth get angry when the wrong weather turns up? Or does it allow the sky freedom of thought in hope the sky learns. Hanging onto emotion because of someone else is a good way to shorten your life. I must become better
If I could spend a day as a bird. Be able to fly as fast as I wanted or go as far as I could. I would ignore the eagle, swallow, owl, blackbird, and be a robin. The one bird not afraid to show itself even if at fault.
If I lived a perfect life how can I have emotion?
A word in a poem is a vessel. The gap between the words is a river. The first word to start a poem off is a drip from your mind.
When I started to ride a bike I realised the world was round. And it went on and on. It made me realise there's no ending. Just the odd red light or roadwork to deal with. Sometimes I had to fix a puncture or change a tyre. But when I cycled again life went on
I always find it amazing when a young person voices an opinion in front of adults. There is always that silence. Most of the time the point/opinion is valid. You see common sense, wisdom, hope, energy in their faces. The thing is we were all like that once. Where does it change and what is the reason for why we stop as we age? I mean stop as in seeing things clearly. The mind also needs window wipers
There is no plan after this life only what you have left behind for others to see
If a bird only sang for one summer and you never heard it. Would that mean it's life was a waste of time? No, It would mean you were not listening.
The circle below is my theory for humanity. Imagine this circle that represents the most important people in your life. You may have parents, wife, husband, children, grandparents, friends. Then you have a second circle that is bigger again. This circle may represent mates, work colleagues, school buddies. Then you have a third circle which is greater again. This circle may have neighbours, postman, local shop owner, facebook friends, mates, uncles, aunties, cousins.
Whoever you have in your immediate circle will change for all of us. They are the most important people in your life. The second circle are people you see as second most important and the third circle continues that. Some people will have four circles, others two or five. It all depends on so many factors. But if you live a progressive life then you can affect this circle. Making yourself a better person will affect everyone in that circle. Which in turn will ripple to their own circles. If you can make the people in the first circle have a better life then they improve and that will carry on in that persons own circle.
For example my first circle is my parents, Mrs and her two kids. If I make myself a better person then in theory I can affect the people in their life circle. Which will be different to mine. The Mrs has a sister and two parents. She will have her kids in her circle, maybe an auntie or brother in law. Eventually we will all have a better life.
CULSHAW'S CIRCLE OF LIFE THEORY
Doing something wrong is the beginning of learning something new
You put food into a slow cooker then let the hours pass by. When the food comes out it's beautiful. Your senses are touched.
The brain is like a slow cooker when asleep. Hence you need a good rest from your own day. I always feel fully charged after a good kip. My senses are raring to go
There's a wind in the breeze, but summer won't release it as summer knows it's too early. Be patient with what you have. There will be a time when the seeds need scatterin
Collecting seeds off this years flowers gives me hope that next year may happen. Learn from what you have right now. Take it into the next year of growth
To have sadness must mean you feel your past. Moving forward without feelings can lead you to more pain