Aug 02

Rants and Rambles: The Muses

Sing to me, oh muse, and let thine inspiration run true. 

 

Is that how the Odyssey starts? Well it all depends on which translation you’ve read. I’ve just paraphrased several translations of the opening stanza and stuck them together to create a point. The Greek writers, when reciting their work to a crowd, would  pray to the nine muses asking for their favour. While things have been hard for me recently… I’m not that desperate.

Hello everyone and welcome back to my writing blog. After an unplanned hiatus of two and a half months, I’m back. Almost.

Writing has been difficult for me during the past couple of months. It isn’t Writer’s Block as I still have the itch to write but I’ve been lacking the mental energy (and the time!) for writing. The reason behind this is that that I am working from home full time and at the end of the day I feel drained. Although I have over ten articles in various states of completion, I have been unable to edit these. While this has been irritating and down right maddening for me (like many writers I rely on the act of writing to keep myself sane) there are obviously people around the world who are enduring much worse.

I have booked several days off this month in order to resume my craft. I will return to those articles,  complete them and then and continue posting until Christmas. I can’t promise that these articles will be released exactly two weeks apart but they will serve as something I can aim towards. As a quick side note, all my goals for 2020 have been scraped. Can you believe that one of those goals was “Explore more of England/The World”? No way that’s happening anytime soon.

While we’re here I want to touch upon a topic that is relevant to the above and a topic that I have wanted to discuss for some time on this website. The muses!

Muses

I wasn’t joking when I said ancient Greek writers would pray to the Muses before a public reading. The nine Muses (and the rest of the Greek Pantheon) were an accepted part of life to ancient wordsmiths. In Greek Mythology the Muses are the daughters of Mnemosyne (memory personified) and either Zeus or Apollo depending on which version you are reading. Each Muse had a certain genre or subject assigned to them.

Calliope – Epic poetry

Clio – History

Erato – Love poetry

Euterpe – Music, song and lyric poetry

Melpomene – Tragedy

Polyhymnia – Hymns

Terpsichore – Dance

Thalia – Comedy

Urania – Astronomy

Aside from delivering writers inspiration, the Muses also played a minor role in the Greek myths. They performed a singing contest at Mount Helicon which causes the Mountain to swell up with adoration. This resulted in Poseidon summoning Pegasus to trample the mountain back into shape. The Muses are also present at the singing contest between Pan and Apollo and witnesses to Apollo cursing King Midas with the ears of an ass. The Muses also had a darker side. In some versions they are responsible for the murder of Orpheus by ripping him limp from limp.

Donkey ears

Does anyone else think that Donkey’s ear are cute?

In the modern age the meaning of the word Muse has slightly changed. Now a Muse is normally a person who’s beauty inspires an artist, musician or writer. A Muse can also mean something that fills you with joy like a morning cup of tea. While I like the idea of nine beautiful Goddesses whispering ideas into my ear or drinking from the font of inspiration I don’t believe in either notion. Sorry. I can already hear the fictional Goddesses plotting their revenge.

I don’t know where my ideas come from but they don’t come from dancing Goddesses or magic potions. They’re just… there. In my head. I don’t know when they entered my head and I often don’t remember when I first started thinking about them. All I know is that suddenly, I’m turning over a new idea in my head looking at it from all angles, like I’m solving a rubik’s cube.

I have so many ideas buzzing around my head, my mind is like a motorway.

Hopefully you’ll hear from me soon.

 

May 12

Five Year Website anniversary

Happy anniversary!

Hello everyone. I wish we could celebrate this milestone under better circumstances.  Five years ago today I created and published my first post on this website. I won’t go into too much detail about that moment because I spoke about it not that long ago in February when I celebrated by one hundred and fiftieth post. I will say that when I started this website I didn’t realise that it would still be running five years later.

If you have been watching and reading at any point in the past (quickly checks Google) 1826 days, I thank you.

I don’t have any new content to share at the moment but I can provide you with a quick update from myself.

Continue reading

Apr 23

Rants and Rambles: Who was the real Shakespeare?

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing your best to stay healthy during these trying times.

It is currently week five of the UK quarantine. The death-toll from the Coronavirus in the UK has surpassed 18,000 people and globally over two million people have been infected. I don’t wish to make light of the situation but it does sound like the start of a dystopian novel.

quote-i-wish-it-need-not-have-happened-in-my-time-said-frodo-so-do-i-said-gandalf-and-so-do-j-r-r-tolkien-34-71-59

Last week I was meant to be on a writing retreat in the South Coast but this was cancelled due to obvious reasons. It is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. Instead I have been plotting out website posts and while doing so I noticed that noted that today is the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.  As such I’ve decided to examine the Shakespeare Authorship Question. I hope you enjoy!

 

Today, four hundred and fifty six years ago, William Shakespeare was born. Or was he?

Shakespeare

I’ll admit that I never used to be a fan of the bard. I think the problem was I had been forced to study Shakespeare at school but when I choose which texts to read I found them more enjoyable. In particular I found Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth deliciously complicated. When you consider that the man we call Shakespeare wrote thirty seven plays and over one hundred and fifty sonnets that we know about, plus co-writing and contributing with various other writers, in an age where most of the population were illiterate, it is  remarkable. To capture such a wide range of human emotions perfectly, emotions that still resinate with the audience hundreds of years later. If the man existed, the man was a genius.

If. I’ll admit that I do believe that there once lived a man called William Shakespeare and that he did write all of his own work but I do find the Shakespeare Authorship Question fascinating. In this Rant and Rambles post I’ll be examining the question, who was the real William Shakespeare?

Continue reading

Mar 22

Coronavirus Update

2020 is going well so far, isn’t it? World War Three was threatened at the start of the year, most of Australia was on fire and now the Coronavirus…

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars

Hello everyone, I hope you are keeping well in these difficult times. As you are no doubt aware, the world is currently in the middle of a health pandemic. The Coronavirus, also known as COVID 19, has at time of writing killed thirteen thousand people, over two hundred of which are in the UK.

The UK Government has taken drastic measure to slow down the spread of the virus.  Everyone is to either work at home or stop working for the foreseeable future, apart from key workers. All restaurants and businesses have shut aside from take out deliveries and supermarkets. Everyone is to practice social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and public transport. I think it is safe to say that everyone in the world has been effected in some way by the Coronavirus and everyone in the UK will know someone who has/will die from it.

I am working from home, for the foreseeable future. I am in good health as are my family and I have a good support network in my friends. The main impact on me at the moment is that I have canceled by writing retreat at Easter and that I currently have less time to write. I’ve also been less active on social media due to preparations for working at home. A small price to pay compared to others.

The purpose of this post is just to say that my future articles will be posted more sporadically. I have articles already written and many more planned but due to the on-going health crisis I don’t feel comfortable publishing them right now. When the Coronavirus has passed normal service shall resume.

I want to end this short post with a quick message. Listen to the Government and follow their guidelines. Don’t attend public gatherings. Don’t panic buy and keep an eye on each other. Although it seems like the world is a grim place when you read about people stealing toilet rolls, hoarding food for themselves and selling hand soaps for outrageous prices there is still light in it. Supermarkets in the UK have special shopping hours for key workers and the elderly. Businesses such as Netflix and Audible have made their shows and books free to help people in quarantine and self isolation. On our street the neighbours have started a traffic light system, giving us signs to place in your windows, to show if you need help or not.

 

This is one of my favourite quotes and it is now more apt than ever.

“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough…”

– Lemony Snicket.

Mar 08

Spitfire Review: Doctor Who series 12

Last week Doctor Who series 12 finished broadcasting and the internet is riddled with reviews, fan theories and opinions. It was certainly a decisive series and I thought I’d add my voice to the mix.

Doctor Who

Generally I think that this series was more enjoyable than the previous one and I think a large part of this was to do with expectations. Series eleven had a lot of objectives. It had to introduce a new Doctor, new companions, a new TARDIS and a new dynamic and feel to the show. While series eleven met some of these goals (if you want to read my in depth review of series eleven click here) series twelve was not bound by restraints, the groundwork had already been set. You could also argue that series eleven left the bar low for series twelve to succeed.

Continue reading

Mar 01

Spitfire Review: Moments by Courtney Visser

Hello everyone. This Spitfire Review will be breaking from the norm. This is the first time I have interviewed a musician on my website.

I am a fan of the buskers on the Southbank of the Thames and through them I attend several music gigs in and around London. I first encountered Courtney busking in Camden Market several years ago. I took one of her business cards, watched several of her live streams and the promotion for her latest EP Moments over social media. Moments was released on Thursday 20th February to critical acclaim. I knew that Courtney would have a very interesting story to tell and the story behind Moments is explained below.

COURTNEY_FRONT smaller size

Continue reading

Feb 23

Spitfire Review: Shakespeare’s Globe

I am relentlessly curious about theatres in particular backstage. What is is like back there? Is it as glamorous as the rest of the theatre (that depends on the theatre in question) or it is basic? My only experience of working in the theatre was in my first year of university during my Writing for Stage module in 2012 and the production of my play Captured in the Chelsea Theatre in the same year. I’ve been a Friend of the Globe for several years but I have only just managed attend the the Heaven and Hell tour where you are led into the attic, the basement and backstage of the iconic building.  Here are my thoughts on the experience.

Restaurante_The_Swan,_Londres,_Inglaterra,_2014-08-11,_DD_113

Continue reading

Feb 09

150th post!

This post is my 150th website post.

I can clearly recall the moment I started this website. I was sitting in a computer lab at London South Bank University. The rest of the class were publishing The South Bank Review, an online magazine created by Creative Writing students in their Third Year. I had finished my contribution, a short story titled Urban Exploration and a review of John Green’s Looking for Alaska (links can be found under my publications tab) and was putting the finishing touches on this website. Then I hit publish. This was back in May of 2015. Although the type of content, the regularity of uploads and the look of the website itself has evolved over the past five years I like to think that the style and essence has remained.

Looking back at my first couple of posts (which you can read here and here) it is interesting to see how much as I have grown as a writer. Although I’ve been writing since I was about ten I didn’t take it seriously until I was sixteen. I think younger Jack would be proud of current Jack. I’ve published a novel, Empty Nights, and read the opening chapter to a live audience at the Brixton book Jam in 2018 (it was also around this time that I celebrated my 100th website post), I’ve maintained this website for five years and I’ve had a series of publications.

Here’s is a quick writing update from me.

I’m still editing the manuscript for my next two novels, The Truth About Nicole and The White Wasteland. I’ve also prepared my website posts in advance so I have a month’s worth of content prepared. I’ve submitted fifteen short stories to competitions and I’ve booked my writing retreat for later in the year. I’m still on track with my 2020 goals and I’m currently happy both with my writing career and my job.

Once again, thank you for reading my work. Without you, this website would not be possible.

img_2515

 

Feb 09

Spitfire Review: Troy: Myth and Reality

Brit usium

The British Museum’s front entrance.

Despite it’s controversies (click here to hear more about them) I find the British Museum a wonderful and fascinating  building and could wander around its many halls and galleries for days. In particular I love their Ancient Greece exhibition. I find the ancient Greek culture fascinating, their pantheon beautifully flawed and their stories and legends captivating, especially in the retellings. I have visited the Greek wing of the museum countless time to gaze at the pantheon marbles and the remains of temples. When I heard that Troy: Myth and Reality was opening, the fact I would be attending was inevitable.

Continue reading

Jan 26

Rants and Rambles: Trigger warnings.

Hello everyone. Welcome to my first rant and rambles post. In these articles I’ll be talking about a topic that is somewhat writing related. Sometimes I’m complaining, sometimes I’m making an argument. Sometimes I’m ranting and rambling. Enjoy.

The first topic of rants of rambles is Trigger Warnings.

A trigger warning, also known as a content warning, is a message given at the start of something to warn that the following content may be upsetting. Although trigger warnings are more popular online than in novels, they are becoming more common, with some universities even applying trigger warnings to required reading texts. These include academic essays and classic novels such as Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  The rise in popularity of trigger warnings has sparked a debate on their necessity and their usefulness.

img_0065

Here’s an example of a Trigger Warning from the BBC, taken from my iPhone. Note the trigger warning at the bottom.

Continue reading