Tuesday, 26 August 2014

'we all arrive by different streets, by unequal languages, at silence.' (Neruda)

'there isn’t anything in this world but mad love. not in this world. no tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love. and of course, no reasonable love. also there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. but, who wants easier? we dream of love, we moon about it, thinking of romeo and juliet, or tristan, or the lost queen rushing away over the irish sea, all doom and splendour. today, on the beach, an old man was sitting in the sun. i called out to him, and he turned. his face was like an empty pot. i remember his tall, pale wife; she died long ago. i remember his daughter-in-law. when she died, hard, and too young, he wept in the streets. he picked up pieces of wood, and stones, and anything else that was there, and threw them at the sea. oh, how he loved his wife. oh, how he loved young barbara. i stood in front of him, not expecting any answer yet not wanting to pass without some greeting. but his face had gone back to whatever he was dreaming. something touched, me lightly, like a knife-blade. i felt i was bleeding, though just a little, a hint. 

(mary oliver ~'march, in white pine')

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


because of how you express yourself and how I understand your persona, there is a lingering effect, as if your presence were tangible in essence, aesthetic emotional affinity. It is and must remain abstract and yet I also am glad to know that such an experience is indeed about someone, not only a ghost, cause of imagination. And I wish you well in all your days, a wondrous unfolding of magic and light, caress of the earth in gentle shadows of lush hidden embrace. There is nowhere to return from, the past must race ahead and disappear. There is nowhere to arrive, the future is breath in all moments now made real. Eternity, our shared state of emotional freedom, the animal is naked: our worlds begin and end in love. (Seven Nova)

photo - Edyta Pekala

Monday, 9 June 2014

with Love

From a discussion with a friend about the wonderful metaphors that form the template of many spiritual philosophies focused on the concept of Awakening. Many will grasp it conceptually; some will experience it for a time and fall back to sleep; others will embrace it and continue the journey; some will get angry and ridicule it.

Western metaphor :

Birth ~ Bethlehem, Awakening
Baptism ~ Desert, First Dark Night
Transfiguration ~ Illumination
Crucifixion ~ Second Dark Night, Abyss
Resurrection ~ Mystical Union, Realisation

You won’t feel ready for it when it comes. No one does.
Castor doesn’t train heroes anymore. No, your call will come when you are folding the laundry, punching the time clock, sitting at your desk with stacks of paper in neat and organized piles. One day, when you are writing checks, the wind will blow through you, and you will wonder where that chill came from as you notice your windows are so safely shut, and the room is a comfortable seventy-five degrees. This is your warning.

For those who are prone to leaping off bridges just to feel the thrill of falling, your call may not feel like a call at all.
You might meet a tall dark stranger who extends to you a harmless invitation and find yourself suddenly hurdling through space- gleefully- while cosmic dragons hurl fire that whizzes past your ear, singeing your hair and giant spiders weave nets all around. Be careful out there.
Your call to adventure may come as a shriek in the stillness of the night while you lie awake ruminating about the rising waters, the secrets you keep, the way your lover turns away from you after sex. Or it might come as haunting and melodious pipe music you can only almost hear, being played by a nymph in the wild places of your dreamscape.

Your call might be a regal horn blown by the breath of a great angel through a million tree branches scraping against your window. Finally, if you’re truly destined for greatness, your call may not arrive until the skies catch fire, and set ablaze all the small comforts you’ve so meticulously collected, turning the house you were raised in to ash.

No matter how your call comes, it is the trumpet of your destiny. You will say that you have more important things to do: you are raising children, punching the clock, planning a vacation to escape from an oppressive life.

You will protest to the messenger. You will say he has confused you with someone else, that you’ve not a heroic bone in your whole body, that your Honda, your atrium, your sensible beige walls are who you really are- what you see is what you get- and you simply cannot accept his invitation right now. You’re too young. You’re too old. You’re not financially ready. You’re not emotionally ready. You’re blind. You’re deaf.
“But the makers of legend have seldom rested content to regard the world’s great heroes as mere human beings who broke past the horizons that limited their fellows and returned such boons as any man with equal faith and courage might have found…. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” ~Joseph Campbell
It’s already too late. When you are called, no refusal, no denial, no sputtering rejection can stop it from beginning, so don’t go back to sleep.

1. The calling itself is your qualification.
You don’t feel qualified? Good. Neither does anyone else. In the ass-backward and meaningless world created by our collective insanity, you must qualify. You must qualify to be permitted to work, to be housed, to have status as a human being. If you are bat-shit crazy and poor, you are diagnosed with a thought-crime from the big book of The Healthy State’s Conformity Manual (fake book title- you know the one).

If you’re crazy- and you find a way to monetize it- you’re eccentric and brilliant, a sharp and creative mind (relative to the growth and return on your bank account, that is).
How strange, to give so much power away in a world that measures the value of a human life with numbers in a vast virtual databank. What is your life worth? Do the numbers add up?
Are you qualified to receive the right to live with dignity and purpose? Do you qualify for healthcare? A safe home in which to raise your child? Food? This is a system that we collectively- and literally- just made up. It is insane. It is meaningless. Only our agreement allows it to exist at all.
Underneath all your concessions, your hold-outs, your hold-ins, your thrashing, your frozenness lies something original, unique and profoundly real, truly alive, bursting with creative ecstasy.
If you have done everything right-or even if you haven’t- and you don’t know why it feels hollow, how you’ve become so tame, so stiff and gray and boring, like the color has been squeezed out of you,  then your call has come right on time. Pick up. The phone. Fate knows you’re home. Don’t make her blow a tornado through your living room to get your attention.

2. Your life begins taking on magical or supernatural qualities.
Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell others.” ~Mary Oliver
Once you have been called it is not so far-fetched that you would begin to experience unusual phenomena. After all, you do not yet know what you are called to- what you will become could not be explained to you because it is not in your frame of reference.
Can you imagine a color that does not exist?
Even as you take your very first step, you are blind. It seems unfair to be asked to walk a path that you cannot see, but in exchange for your lack of sight, you shall be awarded vision. You will see with the eyes in your hands as you feel your way forward. You will peer into worlds that lay upon the dust under your physical feet; you will see the greater focus of existence and you will learn to let go your attachment to appearances.
With any luck at all, it will start small: a glimmer out of the corner of your eye, a strange encounter with an old woman who says the oddest thing you’d ever heard, the sense that you are not alone in an empty room. You will wish to brush these off as tricks of your clever mind, but failure to heed the secret knowledge of your gut will only result in more powerful demonstrations designed to dash the illusions under which you live to pieces.
If you think the chill rolling down your spine in the silence is eerie, just dare to ignore it.
If you insist on physical demonstration it will come, but great risks you take with this demand, whose form you cannot control. Do you really think you are ready to kneel before an apparition as solid in your perception as your own flesh? Do you really believe that you could withstand the light of your own being without being shattered to your humanity? Would you become a prophet or an empty shell housed in the nearest nuthouse?
You cannot answer these questions. You are too fragmented as yet to know what you are. We all are. If you do not think you are shattered, then you do not yet know even the most basic thing about your human condition. When finally you see yourself break, which may not become evident to you without great loss, only then have you begun to see what has happened to you in your sleep. This is the first hint to the true purpose of your journey.

3. You begin to lose your grip.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present.” ~Anais Nin
So tightly clenched have been your fists around what is left of your old life- of the pre-called self- that your fingertips have turned white, the joints in your knuckles ache, the ragged edges of your nails draw blood in half-moon shapes from the meaty bases of your palms.
Your old reality is now called into question. What was solid and true begins to warp and fade. The bedrock on which you built yourself is turning to dust beneath your feet, the walls on which you have hung photos of your dearest memories turn to ash before your eyes.
At every threshold you lose something: your shoe, your watch, your favorite negligée. Yesterday you needed these things; today the Universe teaches you that you don’t. You’re in a perpetual state of grief and wonder. In every mirror you will see yet another of your many faces.  The days of being two-faced have ended as you discover, slowly, that you are everything that has ever been.

What a great and terrible responsibility that falls upon the awakening human. Ever more weary as you tread, you cannot return for you have lost your way in the vastness of yourself now.
Time, you find, moves in every direction. The alarm clock still rings, you still drink coffee, your body still sits in traffic, but your spirit is stretched across eternity. Everything looks the same, and yet, not at all.
Your skin becomes increasingly uncomfortable as you try to contain all that you are. You find you cannot stuff anymore in, and so now you must begin to sort through the storage of your eternal self and cast out what no longer seems valuable, what no longer seems true, what no longer seems real.
You no longer look with your eyes, but with your inner sight. You see all the world, all its devious systems, the way it lulls, the way it oppresses, the way it is designed against all truth. You have fallen for so many deceits. You can no longer trust anything you once knew.  You begin to realize that this quest will claim your life, and one blink later…

4. The Abyss has taken hold.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~Joseph Campbell
Lost and empty, there is no longer a road, only darkness all around. It breathes, it hisses and all lights go out. You no longer exist, and yet you are in pain. All but catatonic, you lie there in your sweat, your tears, in the blood spilling from your broken and hopeless heart.
You believe in nothing, in no one. You are sure your end is upon you; you wish for it to come swiftly and terribly.  You can do nothing but wait for your heart to stop beating, and out of this long dark night, a distant, golden glimmer, and harp music calls you through the boundaries of worlds.

Finally, you’ve broken. Finally, all your defenses have been defeated. Finally, you have no choice but to see that all you have clung to is meaningless, that it could not save you. Finally, you have surrendered to the void.
“When there’s no sign of hope in the desert, so much hope still lives inside despair. Heart, don’t kill that hope…” ~Rumi
You die.
You dream.
So many sights from a life now over: streamers and cupcakes, past due notices and pink slips, campfires and moonlight. Here, in the nothing you face your fears, no longer formless they rise as phantoms in the dark.
War weary, fightless, you watch them hang you and light you on fire, drag you through the dust by a rope around your neck on horseback, throw you from bridges, chop your head off on dusty cobblestone streets. You hear yourself screaming, through the long hallways of time. You hear yourself wailing from a cavern on the ocean floor. Your spirit has carried this pain since the first time you took form. You are sharing the womb with thousands of selves, frozen in the traumas of ages in human time.
You begin to realize what you have done. You begin to realize that your cleverness is not so clever after all. You start to see that your mis-creations never die, not even when you do. You see that you have forgotten, but your creations never did; they cannot. They are bound to you and you are bound by the laws you made for them.
You are ready now, to accept your undoing. You are ready to become a stem cell again. Formless. Helpless. You might become anything: a liver, a heart, a uterine lining. A star, a queen, a priestess. You’ve lost your will. You await instruction from the vast dark womb of the Mother.

5. You are ready to accept your transformation.
The deep parts of my life pour onward, as if the river shores were opening out. I feel closer to what language can’t reach. With my senses, as with birds, I climb into the windy heaven… in the ponds broken off from the sky. . .” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
The cacophony of all worlds falls silent as you cross the bridge, the only direction you can now go. Behind you there is no life. It’s funny how you glide now, swimming through the etheric soup, no longer hindered by your clumsy body, loaded down with heavy, dented armor, or bags of worthless trinkets from a world that no longer exists for you.
It is dark in the womb, but it is peaceful. You have made it to the temple. You lost everything along the way, even your identity, which no longer hinges on what you do for money, what you do for specific individuals, what kind of car you drive.
You are utterly empty and without will,  you have come to realize that you cannot know what to be next and have finally let yourself go into the arms of the Great Mother, whose embrace is a soft golden cocoon where your emaciated self can finish safely disintegrating.

The caterpillar cannot imagine what it is to be a butterfly. The sperm cannot imagine what it is to be a human. And ever so slowly, you are being rebuilt. You are being made new.
You are going to be birthed one day, into a world you cannot yet fathom, into a life you did not know was possible. Where you have come from will seem like a dream, and your slate will be wiped clean by the hand of She who created you.
Though the home you now live in seems to get increasingly cramped and tight as you grow, you also have been given new ears and eyes, new limbs, a fresh and open heart, innocence. You can sense the excitement as you float, you can feel that a new dawn is now close.
You can hear their voices now, the voices of those who you are coming to save, to heal, to love into newness. You can hear them speak of you as the royalty whose arrival they eagerly await.
It takes some effort- the labor- it is uncomfortable and your new muscles, new lungs, new eyes work hard to adjust you as you squeeze through the same bridge you crossed as a tiny speck of pure potential all those long months ago, so you can emerge atoned, and blazing with soul.
“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.” ~Barbara Marciniak
You are no longer a slave, but a true and compassionate servant. You have no needs, only desires that burst into being by the power of the divine will you now are.
Your body, your brain, your singing heart exist only to embody God, as you, in a world that once seemed so scary, so dark, so dangerous. The dark armies are now like ant colonies.
They climb over your your big toe on their way to feed on the crumbs left behind by picnicking families, but they cannot see you, let alone harm you. Now, the dark cities where you were chased by monsters are the playground of creativity, mercy, joy, peace and happiness. Miracles are ordinary occurrences, and you give them away freely to everyone you meet. Your breath raises crystal cities, and your heart beat is the rhythm of the music that holds the universe together.

You are home again.
The phone rings.
Pick it up.

Friday, 6 June 2014

National Flash Fiction Day 2014

My short story, The Busker will be included in NFFD 2014 anthology, Eating My Words. In celebration of National Flash Fiction Day, there's a slew of events planned for Ireland and the UK. Further information available through the National Flash Fiction Day Blog and National Flash Fiction Day Website

Thursday, 29 May 2014

They are awakened for the purpose of helping hundreds, thousands, possibly millions find their way. Their union is the truest form of love that will ever be. It is protected by God.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear.” 




~ face everything and rise ~

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Eabha Rose Website  

have been updating my acting website - and it's starting to take shape

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Lost in Motion II

i found my true self through another, one who looks like me and feels like me and 
loves like me 

..and is that part true..is that what you want?

all of it is true

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Joyce for the forthcoming first anthology from Poets and Writers for a Different World Movement. During our meeting, we discussed John’s observations on the journey Irish art and literature has taken since the publication of his granduncle’s novel, Ulysses, and also John’s own work within the field of literature and music. These are some of of the more memorable observations from our meeting :

In holding a mirror up to society of the early 1900’s, [Joyce] explored what was really going on in terms of a country reputed to have had the biggest red light district in Europe at that time (this region of Dublin was immortalized in the ‘Circe’ chapter of Ulysses) as well as highlighting a society troubled by alcohol misuse, an issue we continue to trivialize

Dedicated to recording human nature with as much authenticity as possible, [Joyce] believed if he could get to the heart of Dublin, he could get to the heart of all the cities in the world. When Joyce first held up the nicely polished mirror, people didn't like it, and this discomfort was certainly to blame for the early rejection of his work.

Dublin has a remarkable literary heritage for a relatively small European capital, and Joyce as a forerunner in experimental writing, stretched the stylistic possibilities of the English language to their limits. He was attuned to the music of language and used this talent to cross frontiers. He took delight in playing with his medium. In combining the mythical with the absurd and using stream of consciousness, Joyce had a profound impact on future generations of writers and indeed his influence continues to make itself known.

Rooftop ~ Poetry

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Doves of Beirut

written by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian, read by Eabha Rose
(first published in The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology)
The Original Van Gogh's Ear Anthology 

Doves were arrogant in those days
feral, territorial of ledges.
I hadn't snapped their necks yet
Through grind of metal
on bone, stone
through air sharpened on greed hones

no scream left in punctured lungs
fate duct taped to fetal nights
barricaded behind shadowed ribs
that hardly rose for a fight
underneath rubble of lord's prayer and adhan

they pecked at concrete
heads bobbing - waiting
they knew I'd come
they knew I'd tire of walking
your curved dead -end streets
I knew those ledges well
gravel and loose feathers
wet with rain
stuck with white droppings
to my young toes curled on grit
but I knew your streets below better
lick of diesel on asphalt
grief's iron reek in gutters rising
damp alleys breathing
the way the old do
those who'd seen the blade
cut through flesh
a sigh every third inhale
a pause before funneling
jasmine and mold laced gasps into patched veins
tied to the stone
tied to throbbing ground
with historical claims,
to the sea breeze
that couldn't cool their burns
still rummaging for life
as they used to remember it

I walked on sweat of fig trees
on your sidewalks bleeding at cracks
when you had the pigeon for dinner
and I starving, gnawed on bones
where I'd tied my message
pleading for your unclutched claws
on my debt
I hear you like your whores younger these days
and you rather have your sons as killers
blind and foaming revenge at mouth
darbouka between their knees dropped for guns
streets mapped in bite marks
on time I served now dyed ash blond
I look away
the way the old do
eyes on the distance to your bleeding ledge

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Illustrated Word

To watch a piece of poetry come to life through performance has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences for a writer. My recent experience of watching this transition from one art form to another was like watching my imagination come to life. It certainly helped that the actors I was working with shared my hopes and goals for the characters. In carrying them into this new space, the actors brought with them the characters’ backstories and life experiences, played out through sound, movement and interaction.  My make-believe friends began to materialize before my eyes.  The more they did, the more I realized that these personalities are all elements of my own. I am never free from my text in the same way an actor is never free from the character they are living and breathing through. Each is dependent on the other for life.

Towards the end of the day, one of the actors, who is also a friend of mine, howled in exasperation after spending an hour shooting a scene in which his accomplice is leaning over a toilet bowl as he holds up her hair. ‘Trust you to write something like this…’ he said to me.

All in the name of art.

The following video is a reading of poet Silva Zanoyan’s poem, ‘Choices’. I chose this because I realized as I set out to record ‘Choices’ the importance of the relationship and understanding between poet and narrator. They too share an historic journey.

architecture of meaning

Montreal author Nicole Brossard's book of poetry (translated into English is entitled Notebook of Roses and Civilization), Cahier de roses et de Civilization, explores the movement of language and gender through language and the lyric abstract in both French and English. 

What is it about her language that overcomes, like a slow wave, sweeping in and drowning you? What is it about her language that makes you welcome the process of being overcome?

..once again the exact time the street
the cigarette we don’t light
again the time the sex of lips
existence silence that deafens
another metamorphosis
arms open

'The heat of summer on an earlobe, a parking meter, the shadow of crabs and pigeons under a cherry tree, an olive, a shoulder blade - In the poems of Nicole Brossard these concrete, quotidian things move languorously through the senses to find a place beyond language. Taken together, they create an audacious new architecture of meaning. Nicole Brossard, one of the world's foremost literary innovators, is known for her experiments with language and her groundbreaking treatment of desire and gender. This dexterous translation brings into English, with great verve and sensitivity, Brossard's remarkable syntax, sadness, and sensuality.'

Brossard's book does not include the French text, but the two translators, 
Rober Majzels and Erin Moure are experienced and the monolingual writer can trust them. The language moves confidently, flowing without obvious transitions over a range of themes: beauty, love, language, war. The rose is associated with nature and passion, civilization mostly with war and power. Three "Softlinks," prose poems dispersed throughout the book, offer the reader some ways into the meanings of the elusive lyrics that make up most of the work. Brossard is perhaps referring to the SoftLink library automation systems: libraries, repositories of the word, contain much of what is good in civilization. The outer world, the poems tell us, is not only a world of natural beauty but also the realm of men with "eyes of Kalashnikovs." 

The second "Softlink" decries the power of men in white shirts who traffic in weapons, and trade women and children. This is the darkside of civilization. Yet the urban, the core of civilization, can be associated with the erotic: the speaker remembers the '80s in Chez Madame Arthur, a famous Paris nightclub where "women wrapped their arms around / nights of ink and dawn."

If there is any resolution of the dichotomies of the rose and civilization, it lies in the words, which are treated in "Softlink 3" not as mere signs but as real entities. Any word, any language. In a passage that calls to mind Rilke's "Ninth Duino Elegy," which says we are here to affirm being through words, Brossard summons up the sorts of words that drive and haunt us: names of places and people, of cherished objects, words of pleasure and pain, words that "shoot up before our very eyes like cloned shadows replete with light and great myths." The word is entangled with civilization and its discontents, but also preserves and exalts the realm of the rose.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

This is a little late but very proud and wanted to share! Paul's exhibition at the Agora Gallery took place between January 14th and February 4th. It was a huge success and the feedback has been wonderful. We are so proud of him.

Here is Agora's write-up as well as a pic from opening night!

'As he creates images infused with the purity of the moment, Paul Hartel paints with a playful sense of freedom and an energetic vibrancy. His paintings surge with an expressively joyful abstraction, filled with explosive movements of color and texture, at times referencing reality with elements of figures and scenes as he brings to life a rhythmic spontaneity and raw dynamism. Throughout Hartel’s art one discovers a celebration of the inner child, as he makes the subconscious visual with an interpretive jazz styling. Building his works in oil and acrylic paints on canvas, Hartel occasionally adds charcoal and uses a variety of tools and techniques to apply his mediums, including pouring, scraping, and his fingers.

Raised in upstate New York, Paul Hartel has lived throughout the United States and Ireland and now resides in West Virginia, where in addition to his career as an artist and photographer, he also works as a physician specializing in pathology. He has achieved a Master’s degree in Psychology and Medical Science as well as his Doctorate in Medicine.'

the strange creature

is she the lone hunter the mammal of the dog family but not quite

who tips on snowed benches
watch her scuff with the paw and poke with the foot
the little schoffel 
the fox-grape eyed, the mastering-chaos-mustering muscle and bone
what empathy for all your sins she carries
what well-deserving, bickering teeth she's got
lying beside you in the bluish rooms
now go now, choo
the fur will soon be changing into reddish-brown
spring on the way, muzzle up _ roll up and sail secure

(for Carol)

This heart wrenching piece of poetry is from the blog of Setty Lepida


Monday, 7 April 2014

Thank you, photographer, Michaela Alex for your patience and enthusiasm. This is one of my favourites!

Cut Up! - Oneiros Books

delighted to have two poems included in this new anthology available through the following link - http://www.paraphiliamagazine.com/one...

CUT UP! An Anthology Inspired by the Cut-Up Method of William S. Burrough, Brion Gysin

Edited by A.D. Hitchin, Joe Ambrose
In Paris in the late Fifties the Beat Generation writer William Burroughs and his sidekick Brion Gysin developed the cut-up method. It involved taking a piece of finished text and cutting it into pieces – then rearranging those pieces to create a new text or work of art. Burroughs wrote that: “When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” The cut-up had a profound effect on music, writing, painting, and film. Devotees of the cut-up include David Bowie, Radiohead, and Kathy Acker. In addition to bringing together new work by new people, CUT UP! also salutes some better known 20th Century voices who kept the spirit of Burroughs and Gysin alive.

Contributors include Kenji Siratori, Claude Pélieu, Nina Antonia, Billy Chainsaw, Cabell McLean, Mary Beach, Marc Olmsted, Allen Ginsberg, Spencer Kansa, Michael Butterworth, Robert Rosen, Nathan Penlington, Sinclair Beiles, Gary J. Shipley, D M Mitchell, and Edward S. Robinson

“Burroughs used the cut-ups to write beautiful poetry, or he would cut up his friends’ personalities and see what emerged. The cut-ups are the runway to the magic universe. Everybody should cut their lovers up for better sex. Everyone should get themselves CUT UP!”

Victor Bockris, author of Transformer – The Lou Reed Story; Andy Warhol – The Biography

“Since Gysin sliced the papers and with Burroughs saw the realm of the possible, the cut-ups have always been essential as experiments across all media. This volume returns to theories, texts and images; it looks back, looks forward, and cuts.”

'This Is Not a Review' - Robert Rosen on CUT UP!
'A word of caution to those with delicate sensibilities: Phrases such as “corpse fetish pussy gangbang” (which I’ve cut from Siratori’s “Phishingera”) occur with frequency.
More adventurous readers, however, may argue that they do not occur frequently enough.'

- Robert Rosen

Read the full article here:

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Illustrated Word ~ Flash Fiction

One of the first known usages of the term "flash fiction" as a literary style was in the 1992 anthology Flash Fiction: Seventy-Two Very Short Stories, edited by James Thomas. The term "short story" was the most common term until about 2000, when it was truly overtaken by "flash fiction".

In China, the style is often called "smoke long" or "palm-sized", with the comparison being that the story should be finished before the reader could finish smoking a cigarette.

There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category; however, many publishers impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.

There is something very satisfying about working to condense a text into a few hundred words, paring and cutting the narrative while staying true to the story.

One of the most famous pieces of flash fiction is Ernest Hemingway’s six word story (he considered it one of his best works). It simply reads - For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Illustrated Word

by Eabha Rose 

(share from Plum Tree site)

“The deep parts of my life pour onward, as if the river shores were opening out. I feel closer to what language can’t reach. With my senses, as with birds, I climb into the windy heaven… in the ponds broken off from the sky..” Rainer Maria Rilke

I was reminded of this powerful Rilke quote when I reflected recently on my teen years and the hours spent making soundscapes through cutting up songs and pieces of music and stringing them together to create something new. I now see that it was an attempt at reaching beyond the arrangements, breaking them apart and rebuilding them with the teenage dream of touching the mystical and finding new meanings.

‘At fifteen, my passion was creating my own music cassettes, recording my favourite bands and (as teenagers do), playing them over and over until I knew every word and note by heart. I started to experiment with cutting up pieces of music and sound and static and creating audio stories. I would use people’s voices, household sounds, traffic sounds and string them together. The stories for me were mostly built around spirits and visits from other realms. In a sense, I conjured up stories and then built sci-fi soundscapes around them. I think I hoped that in some way my creations would open a portal through which I would be inspired and maybe even informed. I suppose I was looking for messages and of course for escape.’

t is a process I was to later return to using the cut-up technique whereby pieces of text are cut up and re-arranged to create a new piece of work. It was used by Dadaists of the 1920s and was popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by writer William S. Burroughs, and has since been used in a wide variety of contexts. Gysin introduced Burroughs to it at the Beat hotel and later, together, they applied the technique to printed media and audio recordings. Bowie also experimented with it. Burroughs was one of many artists who gave it a mystical quality. He saw it as a form of divination, saying, "when you cut into the present, the future leaks out'. Artist Taylor Ellwood (magicalexperiments.com) talks of the process as a ‘rewrite of reality’ - 'First I’d cut-up the conventional reality that had already been created, and then reform it into my own collage message to the universe, complete with a reformatted space and time. The universe has always been kind enough to respond'.

With renewed fascination, I travelled to London's Horse Hospital last year and met writers and artists, Joe Ambrose, Antony Hitchin, Nina Antonia and Jerome Alexandre whose interest in the technique inspired Cut-Up! - an anthology featuring new and historic cut-ups.

During last years Tom Cat Festival in Limerick, Mikael Fernstrom and Sean Taylor of Soft Day recorded my cut-up poetry during a live improvisational performance at Dr John’s, accompanied by flautist, Niall Keegan and sound artist, Robin Parmar. It was a particularly interesting experiment in that we were actively involved in the process of interpreting and recreating words and music live.

Below is a little excerpt from Soft Day’s, Amhrán na mBeach (Song of the Bees), and as explained by Soft Day, is 'based on four years of scientific data about bee diseases and colony losses in Ireland. Soft Day created musical scores for the Glenstal Abbey Choir, organ and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. A sound art composition was also created by the Softday Apiary Ensemble, based on field recordings carried out by the participating beekeepers in their respective habitats'.