Phases of Poetry

Expeditions in poetry, sometimes discovering short stories

Guest Blog Entry

Here is a link to a little piece I wrote for another blog. I was asked to talk about my inspiration and/or characters. It was interesting to write a piece about why my book has these topics.

Have a read, leave a comment, start a conversation!

Link here: https://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/guest-post-by-karen-klement-author-of-insight/

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What you discover when publication becomes real…

This has been on my mind for a while, and I actually voiced it during a public event where I promoted my book.

I was lucky to be shortlisted for the Pen-To-Print Book Challenge organised by Barking and Dagenham Council and supported by the arts council. This meant I was given a mentor to help me finish my book and get it ready for publication.

At the time it was already finished as such, just needed editing and tweaking, which my mentor was willing to help me with. A lot of the time we talked about grammar and punctuation. But throughout the entire process my mentor kept pointing out something she thought I did well. Something I had never even really considered as something I was perhaps particularly good at.

Up until that point people had told me that my dialogues were fun and quick and that my poetry included lovely imagery. But this was different: My mentor kept telling me how good my characterisations were, how real they felt and how all were clearly different from each other. I don’t recall being told that before. And it struck a chord. It pointed out something in my writing that I hadn’t been consciously thinking about and that, to be honest, I am quite proud of.

And now I have received a review that has pointed out the exact same thing:

It has been a long time since I have read such an enthralling story with so beautifully designed and most of all authentic characters. Side characters are equally well-written, they are authentic individuals, and every character has its place in the story.

Am I conscious about how I write characters? No. I used to think good characterisations was the one thing I could not do well. I’m not sure I know what I might have done well in this case. I might have to read the whole book again to figure out what I have been doing right.

What I know is that it feels a bit strange to have been going through writing life for more than 20 years and to only now realise that perhaps one of my strengths is the very thing I always thought was my weakness.

 

Extract from “Insight”

He didn’t hear the door of C Block opening, nor did he hear the faltering of steps as he was spotted by two pairs of eyes. Instead Alex only turned around when he heard a bone-chilling cough tear through the air towards him, as if somebody’s lungs desperately searched for something to hold onto because the body they were in wasn’t suitable enough anymore.

Eleanor had her arm around Will’s back, as he was bent over ever so slightly. His shoulders were tense, straining with the inner turmoil of wanting, but not daring to throw off the caring hand. His body was turned to the left and his head bent down, while he continued to cough into his hand.

Alex was glad he was allowed some time to get over the initial shock. He was glad he could spare Will from that first look of pity; the one he, Alex, had a minute to work on hiding. If he would have heard that kind of cough in school, that  child would have been sent to the doctors or even the hospital without hesitation  and with the biggest fuss.

‘Breathe in,’ demanded Alex silently.

Will stopped coughing, a wheezy drawing of air concluding his attack. Eleanor looked up, immediately found Alex. Even from the distance, Alex could see the worry lines across her forehead. He knew she allowed herself the same short moment as he had just done.

Lowering his hand away from his face, Will straightened up but before he’d turned towards him, Alex had already started walking towards C Block with a confident stride, trying to plaster a genuine smile on his face. A blunt bolt of lightning shot through his body as he saw Will’s eye; as he saw the deep red bruising like make-up daubed across a fragile canvas, two healing scars that looked as if they were drifting away from the deep red and a white film covering the pupil like a diffusion filter on a camera lens. It was obvious on Will’s face that he had seen the momentary shock and as they crushed together, Alex wasn’t sure whether he was holding on so tight to comfort and reassure his boyfriend or whether he needed more time, just… more time. Nobody had told him anything. The coughing, yes, that was to be expected. He knew enough about chemical weapons to know that chlorine gas caused strong irritations to the lungs. Nobody had told him about the eye.

He suppressed the urge to take a deep breath, afraid it would make it seem like a chore to pull back and look at Will.

“Hi.” Alex was conscious of trying hard to look into both eyes just as Will avoided his completely. One of his hands automatically wound itself upwards to lay across Will’s neck, who looked up, eyes wide and searching Alex’s face, recognising their little ‘welcome home’-ritual: a family-friendly kiss while Alex’s hand calmly rested at the back of his neck; the lips and the hand functioning as stabilisers.

The kiss was interrupted by another bout of painful-sounding coughs; a tanned hand clinging to his arm forcefully.

“Let’s go home,” suggested Eleanor and Alex nodded, even though all he wanted was to hug Will again.

 

 

This is just a small teaser of my newly published novel. ‘Insight’ is now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Insight-Maren-Klement/dp/1789552427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537472446&sr=8-1&keywords=insight+maren+klement

I also have a goodreads author page now. Go have a look. 

writing

I write to recognize the world

and so that the world recognizes me

as if my words become a reflection

flung into the atmosphere

and bounced off the edges of the universe.

 

I write to feel, to cry and laugh and rage

and free all my emotions from their cages

I write to understand why I can’t write

and then to do it anyway

I write to be myself,

and writing turns me into myself.

 

 

by MarenKlement

 



this is my final post of this month. I posted something  every day and sometimes, working full time and long hours, I really struggled to get something out. I’m quite happy that I did.

the outside reflects my soul

cold, biting anger

nibbling away at the warmth

“We need to talk.” He said.

“About what?” I said.

“I don’t know.” He said.

And then there was silence, only a ping sound from my laptop indicating a message had been received.

He said nothing else.

The lights weren’t twinkling in the night. The river was sending them into a panic, flickering, twisting, breaking, disappearing just to emerge again and continue their painful dance. She couldn’t follow any of them, it was the chaos of a battle field. A small boat tore through it drowning everything in its path. It left waves behind that seemed to merge single lights together, a pool of whiteness collecting as evidence of the massacre.

She smiled.

This is what she’d been waiting for. The perfect picture.

 

origami

life is an origami

it’s twisted, folded

becomes a piece of beauty

A deontologist once told me that it’s our duty to keep promises

A moral obligation to never break them

But you died

So where is my promise now?

The golden liquid flowed slowly burning down his throat. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

A car horn tore apart the silence and the neighbours dog barked in reply.
His eye lids opened heavily. It was difficult to rid his eyes of the pain the fatigue had brought. In some nights he only slept four hours, which was enough to somehow get him through the day. Only towards the late afternoon did he start rubbing his eyes and swallowing one paracetamol after the other.
In other nights he only slept an hour, perhaps two, before the dreams hook themselves into his head.

Then, only the whisky helped him with the forgetting. At the beginning he had managed to get drunk enough so that his head was surrounded by a dark emptiness and pretended to be asleep. He wasn’t much better rested, but at least there were no images ghosting around in his head.

He poured himself another – half a glass full – and drank in one go. The whisky flowed its familiar way.

Therapy had been recommended, but the therapist had as little knowledge about his circumstances, the causes of his dreams, than a professor for art history. The sessions had been a waste of time, only making his dreams worse. The dug up things that he had successfully suppressed and a bad dream followed another.

His mother had given him drops of valerian. He told her that they had only made his dreams slow down, which didn’t necessarily make them easier to bear. They were things that you didn’t need to see in slow motion.

And so it was the whisky. In measures that would let even the hardiest of drinkers become awestruck.

And so it was the whisky; and the scenes in his head that stole away his sleep and made his being awake unbearable.

And so it was the whisky.

In alternation with with pain killers.