Archive for writing

Writing, for who?

Posted in Autobiography, education, Poetry, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2017 by kathydasilva
camus

Albert Camus: writer of A Happy Death; Exiles and the Kingdom

I hope eventually that the novels, that I continue to write, might finally have their own independent voice. I have read over  a lifetime, so many books and quite a few from a previous century. The style of writing, in the Victorian era, which is described as the Romanticist period,  and a bit before the gothic/romantic Mary Shelley, included, held quite a few marvels, that seem forever, to be taught, and remain, subject for study, at university level at least. In my mother’s era, they as children, were given George Elliot’s Silas Marner at school, but, by the time, I came to do my final O Levels, the main study novel was indeed, the very famous To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The American’s had usurped the English novelists, in importance! The consolation was Shakespeare for a playwriter, Romeo and Juliet, and still this was backed up with a visit to the local cinema to see Franco Zeffirelli’s, version of the famous tragedy. I am saying ‘backed’, because even by the time, that I came along, in the mid seventies, for O Level study, television, and the newly growing Hollywood film industry, had already made its dent, in the call for an attentive audience. In the fast growing technology of the TV playscreen, from black and white to Technicolor, there was an obvious demand for screenplay writers, and the need would have had many an aspiring, author in its clench. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed the replays of black and white movies, the early movies of Tennessee Williams’ screen play talent. There was a great sense of classicism, in the story lines, and emotional outpourings of the  characters,  who became iconic, to the next generation of would be actors and starlets. Great screenplays, added to great acting and directing, was bound to create diversion, and in the same breath,  an addictive pastime. I think the arguments for ‘where the great novel’ went, is thoroughly, embedded, in this call for time on everyone’s leisure moments. Hedonism, was with us from at least the post war era onward. However, it is true, that great novels, have been written that then have been made into films. But, it is also true, that not every novel, of our modern era, makes the same impact as something like, Wuthering Heights, or Gone With the Wind. And between the original novel, and the screenplay, there exists, a transformation, which does not always translate the greatness of the original text. I am mindful of something I recently, watched, but, mainly for the actors, and some of the ‘romance’, element of the story, the novelist Nicholas Sparks, who wrote Message in a Bottle, did not get to write the screenplay which is by,Gerald di Pego. I kept wondering throughout, about the flimsiness of the characters, and, so, yes, what could have been, an awesome, and, deep statement about bereavement, fell a little flat. Grief is a very complex, state of being, and my heart wanted to feel, something for the man who had lost his wife, Catherine. I could not create in  my own, head any more connection, with the entertainment of the film, than just letting the wash of the sea that eventually consumes the ‘hero’, wash over me by the finish.

Novels, That Last the Test of Time.. is that a better heading? Well I suppose the film industry is never really going to run out of great classics, as there are plenty of ghost stories and Tolkien went down a storm! Will that make people read the original novel. Well in my case, when they filmed,  Thomas Hardy’s, Jude the Obscure, I directly went out to Waterstones in Brighton and bought the book.

‘In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitization of print.’ (Will Self)

Saving the Great British Novel? Well I am not worried too much about the novel, and whether to write it or not, as there is a market albeit for electronically transferred data, thankfully, long train journeys and commuter traffic will ensure, some readership, and a growing population of retired people, which is on the increase. I am not sure whether to rely on Will Self, as a ‘weatherman’ for trends, over literature, but, I guess, given, that the classical element of some high-end writing, meaning literature, might well be suffering, some lack of recognition for the modern-day author of works of a more aesthetical nature. My thoughts are in this sense, in the days of the writer, James Joyce, who married and kept his family, not only by the means of his authoring of books, but, also by whatever job, including teaching English to foreigners, in Switzerland, and working in clerical positions of government, still kept to his goal of breaking the mould, and experimenting with poetry in the prose form.

 

Will, himself is probably way out in the frontier zone, with abstraction, and by that meaning psychological realism, to the full brunt of interactive text. With all of the content of ‘Shark’, in mind, the social comment, and the whole drama of events described vividly, throughout the story, I found myself battling with the text, and surprisingly, ending up with quite a lot of memorable scenes to describe, after laying the book down.I am intending to write a bit more in due course, but, perhaps, in the past authors, did not  have the privilege of knowing what kind of response their work would create. My question perhaps, instead of why it is suggested that society is evolving away from story telling, is it not the case that much of what is life, repeats itself, even between centuries. Science creates new subject, and new subject will always inspire more story telling. Star Wars, and Star Trecking included! And there we have that wonderful tale, Hitch Hicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My theory too, is eventually any true intellectual, will become bored fairly soon, with the tittle-tattle of new fandango gadgets, and plump right back to a source of enduring quality writing. Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust) included!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Story

Posted in Autobiography, education, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by kathydasilva

I was remembering parts of the content of a dream, recently, enough to say, that I felt compelled to re-evaluate, the meaning. To search a bit deeper, as to why, certain images appeared, and in doing so, understand the will of my maker, the eternal God, whose birthday is celebrated today. The light coming into the world, as some would say. To explain, and by way of more detailed explanation,   a small but signifcant thing that had occured in my early twenties, when trying after graduating to get a job, and somehow, start the process of progression, away from the dole queue. I had already the creative art ambition, already, practiced some of that ability at the college where I studied, but, my interest in writing, had begat the need to learn, touch typing in order to ‘punch’ out a  book or two at some point. And the most significant thing was a purchase of an electrical typewriter. I had asked my mother and then my father who had  by this  time, begun to live a wholly separate life from my mother, could they help with the purchase. I had begged the money from them, and bought the WH Smith typing course book. This had been recommended to me by my sister Alison. Between all three, I am now touch typing this. I learned to touch type on the electric machine, but, when times were tough and money less forthcoming, I did sell the typewriter to a pawn shop in the Tooting Bec area of London. The pawn shop, was a kind of swap shop, too. But, on this occasion, I took the cash. I was grateful. I did not know how my father, who had probably retired by this point, as I was born, late in my mother’s marriage, when she was about thiry-eight, might have reached down into his heart, and let me have the cash. After all, an electronic type writer might have been at least ninty-nine pounds, at the time. I had relinquished ownership of this wonderfully functioning machine with also a digital editing window, without much thought at the time, but, need for food and other things, had been higher on the list, and I mean the need to eat, and keep, on living. I took a while before employment came my way, but, I had felt sure typing would help me to this end. Computing and wordprocessing were just around the corner, in terms of development and mechanizing of the whole publishing industry. I did the typing course and have not regretted for one moment, as inbetween, different employment, temping and VDU input, were the only possibility of anything, slightly secretarial. I watch people doing the two forefinger effort, and wonder why they do not do the same thing. And now we  have

Padlock with drilled part

Padlock (with drilled part)

hackers.                                                                                                                                                             And now we have thieves of intellectual property. And now, yes, perhaps slowing down invention, might make honest persons of us all? I found my locked cabinet, opened without ‘breakage’ of the lock? I saw the small padlock on my laptop case, had had a hole driven into it, and wonder who would do that? What a sad human. And sad for me, as I still retain, what rights I try and protect over my intellectual property.  This is how horrid our world has become.

My dad, had done a thing which was essential for  my survival. My mother had helped organize that, and my sister, had helped because she cared that I would be able to get a job. And to me that is family. And how sad, now, because all three are with Our heavenly Father. The dream, I will now tell you the dream. I was walking down a wide London street, a clock tower in a parallel road, similar to Big Ben, but, in any case, it was the feeling of a Sunday walk with an elderly parent on my arm. My mother wearing a dog tooth check winter coat. Her right arm, hooked through my left arm, and the unspeakable thing happened. The weather was as normal, the sky quite clear for a winter’s day. But, still, the unspeakable happened. There was an explosion. The buildings in the parallel road, were bursting, or exploding, one after the other in a kind of wave, and my only thoughts were to run with my mother, to shelter, to get out of the open road, to try to protect us both. Where we ended up, was the doorway, that looked not dissimilar to the pawn shop, though a charity shop in Romford does look similar equally. But, listen, the windows were empty, and the shop had no lights on, probably because it was a Sunday. I sheltered there, but, in the air, and remember this is only a dream, was the voice of Johnny Depp, saying ‘Let go of your mother’. I am not sure why, but, Johnny Depp, spent some time in London whilst filming a few things. I am not sure, why, but, as I looked, all that remained of my mother, was the bit of her right arm, that was hooked through my left. The blast must have been nuclear. The tragic image, was as bad, as I could imagine. Why had I survived, well God had said, I had signed for peace. I signed a petition, at Greenbelt festivals year 2002, against our country invading Iraq. It is the oddest thing, but, now too, God is trying hard to speak to us all. I vote left wing in the elections for I personally believe in helping the poor in the most logical sense of dividing wealth evenly, as evenly as is possible without taking the wind out of the sails of industry.  The prophecy, is continued, in my own life. This year, I have been severely injured, in a car accident. An unmarked police vehicle in Ilford, ran me down on a crossing, it was going the wrong way down a one way lane. I have suffered a fractured right ankle and also the wheel ran over my toes, my falanges, or bones in my feet are still not right.  The  honest people must take heed and do what is right, and take up your cross. But, it is still on my mind that closed down shop. The place I sold my electronic type writer, and the whole, thing that parents do which is bolster and help, at personal sacrifice to their own needs.

I started my own personal search for expression, at a very young age. But, most significantly, was my discovery at an age of independence of the author John Steinbeck, and then from about art school onward, there was a veritable fountain of suggestions. History is very helpfully noted down and documented when writing novels. Indeed in a hundred years time, I am sure writing will still be as relevant and as important, as the time of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. We need a voice to take to task, illumined screens and computer/gadget madness. Thank God there is a poetry revival in tow country wide.

NB To budding authors….

Will Self types his first drafts to his novels on an old fashioned non-electric typewriter.

 

Buried Treasure

Posted in Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , on December 7, 2016 by kathydasilva

I was feeling a bit down about some of the world elements that seem unchangable at this time. But, then started to look back at the year just past. The books written so far in my rather strange ‘year off’ would not have come into fruition, had I been doing my usual nine to five job. But, the flow is all ongoing, into the new year. And it is to coin an expression full steam ahead, and hopefully by next Christmas everyone will be able to see Looking for Pearls and Battlefield though this might bear a different title by then. I am very sure that the sci fi one, will be the easier of the two to write, but, I am making that one an all out fiction. Life up until this last year was filled with obligations. Through all the tragedy in my  family, various deaths in the family, and then having to grieve, it has made me realize, that there is no time to sit still. It might seem kamikaze of me to just plainly push myself to write and publish, like a wild fire, but, in the end, it is keeping me alive too. Here’s to the year ahead, she says with raised glass. (this is imagined too!)

Why Writing is Important..

Posted in education, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2016 by kathydasilva

I live in  my flat, surrounded by nearly a lifetime’s worth of books spread out around the place even some on shelves in the kitchen. I started to collect and develop, my own taste in authors works, around the time, I came to live here in London. Mostly as a student, I collected second hand novels and the saving, made it possible to read plenty of the classics, that I felt my education up until the age of sixteen, had seemed to ‘leave out’. Bar the fact my mother taught us to read from a young age, and allowed us a choice of books from the school catalogue, she also made sure there was a good enough supply of abridged versions of classics with illustrations, so that as young as we were at the ages of say four to six, there was plenty of stimulus to look at books. And in a way, I am glad to have been her youngest child. I had an absent Godfather who also sent me wonderful books, and dresses.

With e-books becoming popular, I was thinking of cutting down on the scale of the collection, but, to be truthful even the covers, and the secretiveness of the content of a book, make it a mystery. It is like looking round a second hand shop full of curios. I especially like rediscovering tales that have been quite original and different in the backdrop of another culture or far away destination, and possibly time.

camus

I picked up Albert Camus’ Exile and the Kingdom, from the shelf this evening, to find the story The Renegade.  It is a story of extremes, both in the condition of the characters, and the landscape of the  hot desert of West Africa. The narrator mentions Taghasa, and wikipedia informs me it is a region of saltmines. The story is about a missionary who has encountered a tribe of ‘savage people’, who cut out his tongue. He had gone to the desert people to take them the message of Christ, but, had been made to bow before their Fetish of a god, and was entrapped and beaten down.

‘What a jumble! What a jumble! I must tidy up my mind, Since they cut out my tongue, another tongue, it seems, has been wagging somewhere in my skull, somthing has been talking, or someone, that suddenly falls silent and then it all begins again – oh, I hear too many things, I never utter, what a jumble, and if I open my mouth it’s like pebbles rattling together.’ The Renegade, Albert Camus.

He ends up hating the people who had encouraged him to go out there, and wanting to prevent the humiliation of another missionary by intending to shoot him before he arrives in the city of salt. The entire story is unique, I have never read anything quite so extreme, and the only other author whose story The Immortals, Jorges Louis Borges, is there to make comparison.

And writing like this  is something that belongs to deep felt emotion and experience.

‘Squatting, as I am today in the shelter of the rock and the fire above my head pierces the rock’s thickness, I spent several days within the dark of the House of the Fetish, somewhat higher than the others, surrounded by a wall of salt, but without windows, full of sparkling night. Several days, and I was given a basin of brackish water and some grain that was thrown to me the way that chickens are fed, I picked it up.’

Yes that is why I collected books! I think story telling is important, and all cultures tend to write or story tell, and that is true throughout history. If we as humans should stop, what would there be to hand to the next generation? And then that image of H. G. Wells out of the Time Machine, of spinning discs, and books that disintegrated, as the man from our age, sees the future, through his travel. The books had been archived, it would seem in a library rarely visited, as the future inhabitants had become slaves of the Morlocks. The Morlocks, looked like savage ape-men, with no hint of intellect left, who had become cannibals! That was Wells’s  view of the post-nuclear war world. I see something different. And I hope for something different. We must make something different!

Life stories..Looking For Pearls update…

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2016 by kathydasilva

 

It’s that time of year where nostalgia can grab you as the Christmas seasonal fanfair begins. But, I am in the middle of writing, the memoire/fictionalized version of my life story. I am feeling a tad freer from changing names deliberately, so that while the book will of course go public and be available for sale hopefully I will save my relatives from invasive problematical interest, or potential interest in the future. I am anticipating, this will feel my best work, because essential to biography or autobiography is some honest recounting of events. I was becoming very focused on loss recently, and also have started the ‘novel’ from a different time point, than originally planned. It looks a bit more logical though to go backward from a recent event that was momentous or devastating or life changing at the very least. An lo, springs an honesty, from the many things observed, and funerals, as well as weddings, bring family members together. I am now more hopeful about finishing this one sooner. I had to have a little time away from just typing up a story line, as Driftwood, also became an emotional burden, in part because I am an artist, and events are still current politically, and now even more so, the recent American elections are showing the turmoil and uncertainty of our age. So back to Looking For Pearls, and my fight to create something with some of the poetry side of me still coming through. I always think writing takes something of the energy of the interior spirit of a person as you go along, so that when you finish, you do feel like it is a kind of intellectual birth moment. I am feeling helped along this week, by staying home a bit, with the heating on, thankfully. Here’s  a little extract of Looking For Pearls, it is loaded with emotional ups and downs as a book, but, my artschool years provide quite an interesting, backdrop to London, and the art scene in general. In the extract, I am harking back to my mother’s funeral. (All names are changed to protect identity).

There was tension within the family group and then her grandson, Martin, had told us he could see her, first at the church kneeling at the side alter, and then when we met at the wake. A teenager with second sight, though I am not sure how that happened, he had had visions since his youth. And he could see my son who had passed, and he could see my dad, who had passed, and he could see, my elder sister, and she too had passed.‘ extract from Looking For Pearls by Katherine Da Silva

I have had to live through about a decade of relatives, passing on. So it is all going to go in there somewhere, as life has to appear as real as it is. Though there is plenty of humor as our family, and hopefully my adult self had to cope with such a lot of striving, to make  things happen. I am glad that TV today is getting so predictable and repetitive if only for creating the need and urge in me to make something different. In a way, the whole fictionalized future dwelling semi-scifi, genre, of recent film, has so much forboding attached to it. I too have my version of something like that, in ‘Battlefield’, this will eventually have a different title, but I have some stories up my sleeve, for the year ahead, well at least two or three story lines. The film Hope and Glory leaves us in the period in which it is made, and although this perfectly reflects a certain nostalgia, of a time when people pulled together, through rationing, and bombing raids, the parts I like most are the family exchanges, and rituals of eating together, from grandad to grandchild, all understanding their place, and all interacting.

I was bequeathed a few old photographs recently from the war period, and childhood of my mother. I was so pleased to be in receipt of them, as there is some wonderful historic element, in the styles of clothing and hats. My grandfather on my mother’s side had come from a farming family. And it is with some delight to remember that age, when families would expect to eat food grown in their own gardens. I think the twentieth century has gone so far into the financial element of material things, the era of the super store, that people, and community have truly suffered. My mother’s era, were much more family orientated, and everything especially during the war years of my mother’s youth, was home grown, and they had a small holding. And then of course they had the war to deal with, and for as long as I can remember, every  now and then, my mother would become very thoughtful, about this period of her life, reliving the things, people went through.

 

 

 

 

Cartooning…….politics, society…

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2016 by kathydasilva

colloseum3

Yes..I think I could get to liking drawing in marker pens, cartoon satire, or, just illustration, or both..! There is something awfully freestyle about marker pen usage. I can totally understand some artists doing this… when I have worked up enough images I’ll put them together in a book, or fit them into Driftwood an illustrated version, as the subject gives itself to an attempt at the provocative element. Each destination of Irene and Michel, in my story,has been set there with purpose, and the significance of which gives inspiration for their drawings, and commenting on what is happening in the current political sphere of Earth. I have only barely suggested these things as, it is more about feeling uneasy, and pursued, by something as if we are all tested by our own convictions and beliefs for what is going on in society. How can society take in all of the violence of conflict and the new displacement of whole populations…

I often think, with the probable and uneasy position some world leaders take, with regard to war or no war, scenarios, that, we the citizens must try our best to influence back, and feed into the arena of talks,  the subjects of which concern us all as humans. I remember when it concerned quite a few of us, humans, the use of nuclear weaponry. In particular in England there was a reaction to the positioning of cruise misiles designed in the USA.  Although there is less damage, done with ‘reduced’ plutonium missiles in terms of area affected when the bombs hit the ground, they still do leave significant pollutant radioactive particles, and this affects human life in the future, in particular new human growth of foetuses, and young children are more prone to  cancers. The problematical issue is who is left to sweep up, the radioactive dust. The wind does blow the stuff around, significantly.  And too, I am mindful of the Fukashima disaster, which is still upon us, in the northern hemisphere in particular. I am so very worried, that a lot of our current political ‘mayhem’, is mere distraction from the reality of what might be upon us very soon, with much more of our Earth’s atmosphere, contaminated with the ‘particles’. When Cheronbyl, happened, even milk in the Welsh hills had to be thrown away because it had been contaminated, with rainfall, and too, this is often swept away into the archives of past news. But, it is still with us now. And so more to the point, we must consider all these things, when agreeing or disagreeing to war, with use of such weaponry.

I look at arenas, the political ones in particular. The Colosseum, is a place of fascination even as a ruin, but, it represents, a time when a dictator had absolute rule, and used people as pawns, in games which ended in death. It is one of those frightening moments in human history, that the wealthy and influential should choose to be thus entertained. I must say at this point, too in literature recently there seems to have been a return, although technically only in ficitional form, to the theme of such a game. I did not  take to the book The Hunger Games, and given its popularity it made me wonder if we as humans had progressed at all toward civility.

I have looked at the USA, arena recently, seeing something that to me sets an absolutely frightening, precendent. That the use of new technology, is and has been, to target it for new use as weaponry against, ‘the foe’. The problemmatical issues, have not even been discussed. The people were not informed or asked, whether certain weapons represent something that is good or essential. And how frightening for ‘all’ of ‘us’, that new weaponry, is about rule, not defense of the nation. I am not a Globalist for this reason. I believe in democracy, as the only civilized way forward. When I saw the author Barrett Brown being set up for a jail sentence, and subsequently imprisoned on a plea bargain basis, I also saw, that the whole justice system had been manipulated to deny, a certain, truth from emerging. I am glad, too, that some of the corruption is about to be dealt with, well hopefully. But, imagine, the effect of three and a half years jail, upon a young ambitious mind. His investigative journalism was effectively hilighting, the use of private contracted firms in ‘possible assassinations’. I cannot say for sure, whether ‘assassination’ were carried out, but, with certain movies suggesting the kind of ‘black ops’, that may have already taken place, yes it does bring to mind, that our leaders need more scrutiny, and I would wish for a more honest approach in politics, not a threatening ‘new arena’ not unlike the ancient Colosseum of Rome. Citadels of power need to be scrutinized. It is the job of the FBI, to take issue with irregular behaviour of politicians too.

The Americans often say in God We Trust. But, who is left to be Godly, if all have departed from the faith?

Chicken, rice and broccoli…anyone?

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by kathydasilva
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am cooking late lunch, having fiddled with computer equipment and then, the hunger hit, and I had to down tools, and eat. And it feels like a Sunday not midweek. I found my mother’s funeral service leaflet amongst all the draw of computer software, and the poem that I had tried to construct for the graveside gathering. I describe my mother as ‘a rose without a sting, or bite’, and cheesy as that might seem it is accurate for the most part. My memoire hopefully will appear in part to show the gentle side of my childhood. When I read about education and part of that reading included a little book by the Montesore education system.  It describes how we remember things, and likens the attainment of knowledge to the lungs breathing in air for the first time.  And it is this that I want to put into the memoire. In essence, there is a reason for feeling a bit empty, or unsure when we are young, as lack of attainment of knowledge, is in part, to blame.  The more I read, as I went along in life, the better my understanding of life became. Socially, we are ‘what we eat’, in terms of knowledge. And I think that shows up a lot when you get people from different backgrounds trying to work side by side, and not really understanding eachother.  It is something I have noticed over the years, and the reason sometimes I felt isolated, when others around me had not really been interested in studying at degree level, but, had taken different paths.  The film story Educating Rita, just comes to mind, that for some people gaining further or higher education, might help them to a better position in life, but the route toward that elixir, of upward mobility, whether that means class or riches, I am not sure. Socially, people become set apart, and sometimes it is not their fault. In the film Rita’s friends change, and she separates from her working class builder husband, to delight in the fruits of her reading and learning. She grew to respect herself a lot more for obtaining a final degree at university. I cannot knock taking the time out for study. And whenever life has been really bad, books take you to another place, and you can find a kind of transcendance to greater things occuring.

My only complaint, I guess is I didn’t go higher! And when I have worked in ordinary jobs, the serious lack of intellectual exchange, has left me often lonely. Not just being alone, but, because, I need now to exercise my mind with people who are at that higher level.  Reading is satisfying but, not enough.  So writing, well it does feel better too, to be doing something, with the knowledge.

I have not summed up the past five years yet. I felt as though I was sinking into a hole, of routine, while working in a library. I still liked to have a salary, but, was not wholly satisfied at all. Serving students really is not teaching, well in some part it is if you sort their problems out with I.T.! I may even have to bow to the greater judgement of others. But, I  am progressing ideas for writing, and it is a bit more entertaining. I need a  high dose of patience.  What a winter’s day.