Of Self & Circumstance

We are victims and beneficiaries* of self & circumstance. *A new character, an optimist called Benny Fisher-Rees? ©pete kennedy, watch it!

We arrive with whatever faculties we are blessed or cursed with, then ‘life’ offers up whatever circumstances it happens and we learn or unlearn from them. I love that saying attributed to Arnold Palmer, “The more I practice, the luckier I get”. It’s so true. It’s not so much what you’ve got, it’s more the what you do with it that makes the difference. My old headmaster, for whom the lack of respect is mutual, thought I had very little to offer, although he tried several times to beat some sense into me from the bottom up, in fact the welts from one side of my thighs to the other which changed colour over the next few days from red to blue to brown to purple were a kindly premonitional introduction to Abstract Expressionists like Rothko. I have tried to make the best of the little I had according to him. Not done bad for a poor boy from a 50’s housing estate built to house the riff raff post second world war baby boom.63 now and I have had one article published and in a world where every little helps the editor saying, “…and it looks good. It’s a very entertaining read.” was like manna from heaven because affirmation is hard to come by, for a poor boy. Today I found a note saying that someone called Carla Saunders, in San Francisco area, liked my earlier blog called Hemmed-In. More manna from a mama? Oddly my birth mama lives or did in the San Francisco area, she’ll be in her mid-eighties now, and I think maybe I am still trying to please her though I never saw her since I was 2 but that is down to circumstance.

So I want to say something (summat) about my writing (style/process/ability) in this blog. In fact what I shall write below is the way I have kept a journal now for 44 yearns. My journals are full of these swopping my ideas back and forth (like that beautiful passage in the film Lord of the Rings where Gollum is squawking to his self) passages intermingling what I know already with new knowledges etc. Weighing and balancing up my take on things. So, developing the theme of circumstance, I may have said to myself oh kay had one published stop now when you’re (yor) winning, but no I carried on and there’s a second article coming out soon and am looking to do a third, 4th  and on, but that leads to all the hassle and disappointments which go with the pitch. Heh Heh (said the mouse Ignatsz(?) in Krazy Kat – Herriman’s comic is still the beat EVER). So I make pitches and so many editors ignore them, don’t answer or say no. Bukowski must have felt like this? Well no, not really. But John Kennedy Toole (JKT) did and he felt so badly he took his own life purportedly cos he couldn’t find an editor willing to publish his manuscript for A Confession Of Dunces. His mother touted it around and one publisher loved it enough to publish it. I know the frustration of doing stuff and seeking backing etc in the field and not getting it in any meaningful way (see my track record with the arts council, oops sorry there is none). Luckily I believe in the Dalai Lama’s advice, ‘Never Give Up’, altho I did decades ago with the arts council and all of their ilk. I did weaken recently with a local landmark gallery and they declined my pitch for a paltry sum saying that it, my bid, wasn’t deemed to further my career, what career, so never no more will I darken the door of begging for backing. No thanks pleez it only meks me sneeze (ta Ringo). JKT’s title to his posthumous book was taken from one of the most influential writers of all time, Johnathon Swift’s “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that dunces are all in confederacy against him.” Which reminds me of one of my previous titles for a proposed book, “I Told You I Wer’ A Genius”, which will one day soon(ish) be coming out in a series of artisbuks^, or if not I want it on my gravestone!.

^I get so fed up of typing the words artit’s books, look see how hard it is!

I just realised…

I have realised the other day 14.12.13 how and why the late Layer based writer John Atkins couldn’t see how my writings didn’t need a narrative. (In fact the narrative in my writings is my life.) But. Reading Umberto Eco’s ‘Open Work’ has explained the fundamental difference between John and me. He worked from A-Z. I don’t. His narrative in his books is very much pre 20th century in concept; begin middle end. Mine is more an open work; rarely begins, all middle, sans end. I can bring his comments about narrative (how he suggested Apulhed in Wonderland  & I can appreciate his realisation (which he had instinctively) that my work  was (a bit) more like (say) the American ‘school’- Kerouac etc, whose poetry didn’t have capitals etc, more like the concrete poems of the late 19th century French and later Dieter Roth et al.

Apparently Ozick  http://www.rtlibrary.org/the%20shawl.pdf said ”All writing is presumption of course, since no one knows what it is like to be another human being.” and I’ve been looking at the art of writing and giving speeches with some deep and fascinating discoveries. As is my wont I am reading many books at once which include Barthes, Eco and seeing Dot Lessing on ‘Imagine’ the other night, well not her her ghost, well it was her when it was filmed but the audience only ever saw a ghostal tv image and then she died so the ghost in the machine is ‘real’ (?). Anyway so here is what I found:

In Eco’s Open Work  ed. Robey, ‘…to test Valery’s declaration “il n’ya pas de vrai sens d’un texte” (there is no true meaning of a text) Tindall eventually concludes that a work of art is a construct which anyone at all, including its author, can put to any use whatsoever, as he chooses.’


So, that makes my finding out that Barthes had ‘around eight hundred little notecards…containing bibliographic indications, some summaries, notes …the whole accompanied by several commentaries, cassettes…computer discs…on which are recorded…the totality of 26 hrs of oral presentation…in accordance with his view that written discourse should take precedence over the oral form’ most interesting. http://www.scribd.com/doc/36196704/Roland-Barthes-The-Neutral I do a ‘talk’ which is much more than a talk, it’s a piece of performance art, the likes of which I’ve been putting on sporadically the length and breadth of this fair country since 1973. What fascinates is the way real life situations as opposed to sitting in front of a computer typing in badly generate incredibleness. I was one of the lucky ones to see several times Ken Campbell’s ‘talks’. WOW, there was a GENIUS. Maybe I shall do a blog about him sometime, one of the greatest story tellers of all time, what influenced li’l ole moi meme self ‘ere, din’t ee.


My portrait (accepted but not hung by the RA) of John Atkins & Ken Campbell having coffee after west end production ‘Art’.

And then there is Bill, of the Drummond clan.Doris Lessing said, “…a writer…a machine for exploring experience, we plunge into experiences”. and A S Byatt says Lessing created a ‘Fragmented form’ thru The Golden Notebook.

(Watch out for my forthcoming article in The Blue Notebook) I would love to get all that material and create an artisbuk! More to the point it’ll influence or rather support my own ideas on such productions and on how one can present speeches. My work has always been fragmented, by life itself, and I am now ready to take it out, to have the experience of putting my words images and artefacts in front of folk and sharing their reactions et al. By the way for a small fee and expenses I can come to ‘talk’ to your group.

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