Postscript to Censorship at The Guardian (part 2)

There’s been an unfortunate confusion of categories in conversations about posts made to vaporise on the Guardian‘s books blog. For one group of blogging comrades, it’s all about GU banning particular bloggers.

At the risk of boring careful readers of earlier posts witless, by repetition, . . . the problem I’m most disturbed by is rather larger. It has to do with the Guardian’s refusal to explain or discuss its reasons for censoring this post of mine — supporting Margaret Drabble’s criticism of the excessive commercialisation of book publishing, and objecting to secretive deletions of earlier complaints on the same theme. I’ve explained some of my reasons here.

A message to bloggers from a Guardian Community Moderator on October 27 could be partly responsible for the confusion. It didn’t so much as mention my many requests, on the books blog site, for enlightenment about censoring policy. It only stated that the blogging privileges of banned bloggers couldn’t be reinstated — and attempted to make a case for limiting ‘off-topic’ discussions between bloggers that, in practice, are always perfectly okay except when critical of heavy-handed moderation.

This isn’t to say that I have no sympathy for our banned comrades. Or that I agree with the Guardian’s reasons for and methods of locking people out of the site. More than once, I’ve joined other bloggers in protesting about these policies and suggesting that they need reconsideration.

What our separate objections do have in common is (i) the surreptitious and unacknowledged deletion of posts by GU; (ii) the Guardian’s refusal to discuss the evolution of censorship and moderation of the books blog with bloggers, whose posts are the lifeblood of that site.

Trying to stifle criticism of an ever-slicker and more mercantile book publishing business by conflating it with policing bloggers’ behaviour – and crushing all forms of disagreement under the same indiscriminate censor’s boot – seems to have an unfortunate parallel.

Isn’t it rather like the subject of so many recent Guardian blogs and editorials warning us that with the excuse of protecting us from terrorists, the government is vastly over-extending surveillance and stripping us of every last shred of privacy?

Yes that’s a bit of a stretch, on the surface. But in each case, controlling the unusual behaviour of particular individuals (murderous militants, as opposed to nonconformist literary bloggers) is being used as an excuse to deprive entire populations (the British people in one case; a blogging community in the other) of what our Enlightenment culture deems basic rights.. . . Incidentally, I can’t help but wonder whether the Guardian’s curious treatment of Jo Glanville’s article about Western software companies doing the actual work of censorship for repressive governments might have had something to do with this part of John Ozimek’s blog, to which I’ve linked in the last paragraph:

Recently, the home office informed me that “the government has been working … to develop filtering software [to protect] against illegal material that promotes or encourages terrorism”.

. . . Yes I do see that this isn’t the sort of thing we escapist books bloggers discuss ordinarily. I’m keen to move on to more lighthearted conversations on, for instance, Chris Power‘s charming reverie about getting real straw between his teeth. All I’m asking for, for the moment, is proof that the Guardian is going to stop behaving like book publishing’s drooling poodle, apparently not caring a whit about that industry’s wrecking of literary standards and culture.

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23 Comments

Filed under Book publishing, Censorship, The Guardian

23 responses to “Postscript to Censorship at The Guardian (part 2)

  1. Hi Wordy.

    It’s good to see someone so committed to the principle of Free speech.

    The thing that is glaringly obvious is that all this draconian stuff was brought in on the back of going into Iraq on the incontravertable intelligence of WMD’s, and (is it logical to posit?) because the person responsible for these decisions is still in office (till jan), then this is the primary cause for no open debate.

    So the UK and America make a monumental mistake and instead of addressing that, they pretend it never happened, and all the fear generated about *terrorism* stems from this mistake, in my opinion, and thus the gobble dee gook blanket phrases to justify the *increased alertness to blah blah blah* and prolifireation in the language of the censor, who is here on false evidence.

    There is an argument that the radicalisation of muslems in the UK is down to Iraq, a false decision of WMD’s, but the brits refuse to speak rationally due to being unable to face hinestly their imperial legacy. They have Brown telling them what a fair nation it has been traditionally, wiping out centuries of oprression and genocide dressed up as fair play and cricket.

    The bottom line is the GU, for all their talk, are a commercial organisation and i have no problem with their antics as it is just the game of an artist to me. When someone writes something, the joy i have now is exposing it as hollow. All these GU poets and critics writing about the humanity, of dead people spinning themselves as humanist beings who would help others, when the logic of their positions are tested and push comes to shove, most of them are just waffling and their word is not really worth the air it occupies to be heard, as they would not reach out and assist others in a human way. So we have the two sides, the above line writers who all try to act as spokesperson for humanity, and the incongruity of the stazi who do the patrolling and silincing of *problematic content*

    So we have people allowed to spam porno under the guise of poetry and a doctor of it speaking of love and peace, who is the osama bin laden of the BB, which can only further my career as a bore, especially when the longer term forces of poetry kick in and their position exposed as sheer discrimination on a variety of basis, mainly class and race.

    that’s the theory anyway, after all it’s only talk.

  2. wordnerd7

    Yes indeed, talk is all any of us are doing, Des, and I agree with nearly every single sentence in your post.

    === committed to the principle of Free speech.===

    Do you know, I’ve only realised the full extent of that through the conversations over the months about ;) — and with — you, and from finding myself on the same side of the moderation arguments, over the months, as cynicalsteve, seanmurraydublin, liberaldogooder, ISA, UnpublishedWriter, Alarming, elcalifornio, StevenAugustine, obooki, OffClowns, oscarmacsweeny . . . I’m too blogged-out to attempt a complete list. You’ll have noticed that those are almost all old-timers or people we rarely see now, and I’m afraid I can’t include anyone who has to my knowledge clicked on ‘Report this comment.’

    Anyway, I also owe this most interesting experience of a blogging experiment to all I learnt from watching and posting on Steve’s, ISA’s, oscar’s, obooki’s . . . and of course, your site. . . Little do the mods know how much they could learn from you about what you’d do differently if you ran a forum again (haven’t been to Irish Poetry lately; will soon). . . Do you remember having to create Scraps? I seem to recall that it only ever had one post: cs saying something like, ‘Well, [wordnerd] ? . . .’ . . . :) . . . Don’t forget, I’m predicting that this is the sort of thing we’ll all be reminiscing about in our dotage.

    Btw, please will you tell Suzan that my single mention of Evening is the Whole Day in, I think, the ABOUT section of this blog has brought me as many Googlers as ‘World War 1 poets.’ Amazing.

  3. BaronCharlus

    Hi Wordn, Des,

    As a relative innocent in the online world, I’m not sure I have much of use to add; my instinct with these things is that they’re usually due to incompetence more than conspiracy (Poster Poems still shutes down every Monday). Of course, Des, you’re correct. The GU is a commercial organisation and has its interests to protect. I guess the only reason that’s a problem is that it still carries the sheen, for liberals, of a moral apartness from grubby commerce. But rather than expecting GU to change perhaps it’s better to disabuse yourselves of that notion and use the now-limitless facilities available to say whatever you want as frequently, obscenely and with as much verbosity as you please.

    Des, whilst I agree with most of what you say, it does seem a mite spurious to attack others for egoism whilst so frequently and extravagantly proclaiming your own greatness, even if it is (as I suspect) a rather tongue-in-cheek affectation; the assumption that GU contributors “would not reach out to assist others in a human way” is a bit weird. How on earth do you know? Did you disguise yourself as a blind man and hang around on Farringdon St until Carol Rumens strolled past, then walk into traffic to see if she lent a hand?

    Two things you say are marvellous: I love the idea of a GU blogger sitting down to write and thinking “what should I, as a spokesperson for humanity, say about point-of-sale book promotions?’

    Even better, Gordon Brown, at a public event, praising the UK’s history of opression and genocide.

    No insult intended; just gentle humour. Hope you take it as such. Thanks for inspiring thought.

  4. BaronCharlus

    Another thought, related, I think, to Isa’s:

    Institutions have a difficult time trying to implement principals; the further the directive gets passed down the line, the less of a guideline it becomes and more of a rule to be implemented by individuals several times removed from the source of the decision and the reasoning behind it. This was, perhaps, the source of the various ‘political correctness gone mad’ stories a few years back – Baa Baa Black Sheep school bans and so on. It’s almost impossible to impose a principal the way one imposes a law or rule (the very word ‘impose’ highlights the tension between the concepts); which is, perhaps, why liberal-leaning institutions are so much more vulnerable, or deserving, of accusations of hypocricy.

  5. We are all human baron, and what got my goat(among other things) is when i first went on that gaffe, after a few months i wrote to the editor asking about the possibility of writing for the blog, pieces on bardic lore, and in return got a dear john, eff off from a moderator who writes soft porn for a hobby. The ed wouldn’t even engage with me, and she a poetry critic.

    But i am not moaning as it is just a game opf principle to me. i write not to rail at some percieved injustice, but for myself, and the pieces i write are for me first, detached, not for any campaign there.

    My learning has been unique and that gaffe when i first got on was just a dumping ground on the path of my learning and when i hit the final ollamh stage in September, the posts where left on and then took off, indicating they didn’t know how to handle the content, which used no swear words, were very eloquent and i think it was the satire was just too much for them. No one likes it if you appear cleverer than them and their staffers getting shown up in print, is the top and bottom of it, along with a latent superiority thing, that only they can dictate who the talent is.

    . i have never submitted a manuscripot to any publisher, never been rejected, though have had plenty of poems in rags. it’s just i stopped sending out when i got accepted onto the galway arts centre website, just feeling there was no need as poetry publishing – especially – is more about submitting, admitting the publisher is the more knowledganbe than you are. If you have ever gone through this game, some rejection letters are all about the editor and their hang ups, and the biz abounds with comedic tales of inflated egos telling ppl, you’ll never have yr poems accepted anywhere if i have anything to do with it.

    Don’t get me wrong, i would love to have had a book of poems published, but the way i looked at it, i didn’t want to get rejected and give someone the satisfaction of saying that.

    i got an A in my mock O level and a U in the real exam

    A B C D E F – U

    and it took me 24 yrs to suss out, some adult git took out there hang ups of me being talented, by penalising me for having a precocious talent, i played shakespeare at 14 on stage star of the show, and after 20 years digging holes in the road before returning to education and getting my potential developed to its full, am the fully rounded article, and i see now it was best not to send out manuscripts as

    1 – it was too early in my development

    2 – now i see clear as a bell the politicals of it, i am laughing, as there is not one poet in the world i cannot engage with and speak as a normal human being with, and the boot’s on the other foot. Now wherever i go, (and bear in mind i am in dublin, the HQ) it is others who start acting weird around me, as in *look, there’s the Poet* and so it’s game on, a right laugh, the hard effort paid off as the truth is, the relaxed poet is just laughing at how the rest have all this stuff in their heads about what a poem and poet is, daft berets, silly clothes, verbal affectations, when the truth is, you see Heaney and the boys and they are just dead normal people, who just happen to be very good at what they do, and any illusion is on the part of people like the GU critics and poets in res who act like they are soo superior.

    The bottom line is, i am banned for being myself, i do not swear and ok take the mick now and then, and if you had my side in print and the mods side, their side would be as human as a council meeting dictat, full of bullshit about *user experience..problematic content* and talking like they are robots.

    They use fear and guilt, divide and rule, making you feel like you are a worthless piece of humanity, just for talking stuff they would rather you didn’t, asking questions about the monarchy for example, in a reasonable tenor that goes to the heart of culture there, that’s all i’ve done as well as create pieces of art and been happy doing so, and as wordnerd says, i have my eye on the long game, these jokers are only thinking of the short term. i am a problem because of nothing to do with me, as what happened was i got slung off every poetry board for trying to air a text from the 7C which explains what poetry is from the point of view of a 7C druidic bard.

    Naturally, no poet who likes to think they are fab, is gonna say – of course i know nothing about this 1200 yr tradition, and yes, this text i do not know of, is incredibly important and thanks for bringing it to my attention, i will just know bin off all my learning and re-rder the priority of its importance, now you, the only one person talking this stuff, has appeared.

    What they do is try and pretend i do not exist, pretend i am not here and then, da da – no problem. Like they do with the war in Iraq, just don’t talk about the reasons for going in, pretend that even though it was on false evidence, it was needed anyway. Like the Queen and the Labour party, just pretend that they didn’t come from Kier Hardie and people who thought the monarchy was the root of inequality, and talk about how fair and great everything is, when the signs say different, that no one is gonna feel as good as Harry Slotter does, coz he gets to be called Your Highness as opposed to a *lower* middle-working class person, and lower as in *beneath..inferior to* just because of who is parents are.

    The fact is i got slung out a chat gaffe for airing this by a bruising poet who is not an intellectual in any sense, and a year later she sees me happy and comes to try and top me in print in battle, and within two weeks was expressed to a potw slot by Rumens who put her crappest poem up which got slated and in the aftermath of this, i was banned for good. This poet, as soon as she arrived, began calling a friend of mine who i met on the blog, who now lives in Dublin in the same house as me – *stupid vacuous air head* even though this person had never uttered a word to her.

    So as a result of getting slung out her gaffe for airing Amergin, going the guardian, she comes back a year later after i had put in a lot of effort and the poetry there taking off big time, after slinging me out her gaffe, for what?

    The evidence suggests she was jealous and not only wanted me to not speak in her gaffe, but when she saw i was doing well on the guardian, to try and muscle in on that, ie a bully. So she gets expressed to the top of the tree on the basis of who she is, just coz she has a book out and got her eye hugely wiped by the regs who trashed her crtitically as they didn’t like her behaviour or the fact she just waltzed in and got star treatment.

    Basically the old one way address days of print, are dissolving. All i have done is write and as long as i am writing, well that’s the main thing, and being honest i am too busy writing to be bothered about putting everything i have in a book. my theory is, just keep at it and eventually if you work ten times harder, write ten times more than the competition, you will win out, which is what’s happened.

    I know plent of people in poetry who have good jobs out of it, who rarely write and the whole ethos is to treat the odd scrap they do as somehow from a holy source, whereas the truth is, they get by on bluff and pretend, and do not like me, as i am the real thing. Which i haze not a problem with as the genuine ones we all know each other as we aren’t that arsey. if i say something outrageous, i will apologise and not get hung up on it, whereas the monarchy centrics who make up the most of posters in the UK, oh dear, no room for being human and saying yeah well sorry, lets carry on, as any transgression is like shitting on the queens head, unforgivable.

  6. BaronCharlus

    Des,

    Quite a tale.

    I love previously-unknown traditions and am too ignorant to take offence that they might be stepping on the toes of agreed-upon theories of literary evolution. Anywhere I can find out more about Amergin (if that’s the fellow’s name?).

    It certainly is frustrating to produce work that goes against a current consensus and to see others rising through connections or through producing work that meets current tastes as established by an elite. I do know that, and so do most of the writers, actors, screenwriters and artists I know. The fact that there’s a lot of us out there doesn’t make it any less infuriating.

    Until last year I was focussing on writing literary fiction until a GU article on Booker nominee sales (and a gentle nudge from my agent who had just had the pleasure of taking a novel of mine through several rejections) highlighted quite how narrow and refined that world is: I had thought I was aiming for a popular audience (so, I think we’re coming at things from opposite ends, you and I, which is why I’m interested in your thoughts – full disclosure), not a market controlled by the tastes of a few, creating conditions for writing that were as restrictive, if not more so, than in genre writing. I think it was Alan Parker who said something like: “If you’ve got something important to say, say it genre.” So that’s what I’m doing.

    I also wanted to say that, whilst I don’t think we’ll agree on ATF, I do respect that your defence was motivated by strong admiration.

    And isn’t shitting on anyone’s head fairly unforgivable? (with maybe one or two exceptions)

  7. BaronCharlus

    Wordn,

    I’ve had look at your salvaged posts and, yes, even if there’s nothing sinister going on, the Graun’s refusal to disclose or discuss seems at best high-handed and at worst arrogant and protectionist. Nice point about the adware.

  8. wordnerd7

    Oops, I’ve replied to you both in not quite the right place . . . here:

    http://acacciatura.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/censorship-at-the-guardian-part-2/#comments

  9. Baron at the risk of seeming like a GU poodle as regards the PotW which featured a “below the line” contributor.

    Whilst the poems offered got a good ( and in some cases rather predictable kicking and to be honest they had a few moments but really weren’t that good ) what were more problematic were the conspiracy theories offered up as to how they got there. These were more than a bit OTT and quite personal at times towards Carol Rumens.

    I don’t know Carol Rumens from Adam and as I move in a different artistic circles ( or more accurately rhomboid-shaped-trapezium-like- squarish-blobs ) am unlikely to ever cross paths with her. I’m not a poet so I’m not in competition with anyone, however one might quibble with her choices but otherwise the range of poets chosen seems fairly broad. I accept I’m not an expert and if there was an experimental outdoor theatre show of the week thread I’d probably be just as critical about perceived omissions. Her choice that time was probably wrong but she didn’t deserve all of what she got.

  10. BaronCharlus

    Alarming

    You ain’t no poodle. Sounds like a balanced, outside perspective to me. I’m also no poet (I know, it’s a shock), and know more people in theatre and your line of work than poetry. I think your final point is bang on and, if Des does feel he was passed over or gazumped, then the ire is understandable.

    I do know, not from first hand but from people close to me, how savage it can be to come off at the sharp end of club machinations despite having done great work. It can be heartbreaking.

  11. wordnerd7

    Hello @alarming, welcome back. I’ve been meaning to post on Chris’s blog about your sensible and irreproachably Darwinian solution to being invaded by those unwanted beasts. . . There’s no Baron in sight this morning, alas . . . but I’ll leave anyone else with an appetite for discussing that subject to go over the details.

    All I will say is that regular bloggers’ reactions to the featured poem were remarkable for their near-unanimity. Bloggers who agree about very little else came out to support each other after the poet made the fatal error of reacting ferociously to the first critics.

    I think Des came in about a third of the way through the discussion and said, in effect — with a great big smile between his lines — ‘See? I told you so.’ . . . Some of us have noticed that he has excellent taste in verse, which isn’t to say that I always agree with his opinion of particular poems and poets. . . and he doesn’t often get a chance to demonstrate it.

    Now, I agree that we might all have felt differently about another poem by the same writer. With a more moderate and humorous reaction to the criticism — instead of the unprecedented threat of a writ (!) — who knows, we might have been charmed into looking for other examples of the person’s work.

    No more on the subject from me.

    . . . Since I’m unlikely to have time to post at Chris’s for some hours, . . . I’ve seen enormous hairy men dressed in Stetson hats and cowboy boots setting out for an annual ground-squirrel hunt in the American outback. I had to ask the person explaining where they were going to repeat the sentence to me at least three times to believe it. . . I was invited to go with them but, well — I don’t expect you’ll be going to watch the mouse massacre, will you.

  12. wordnerd7

    Oh good, the Baron came back . . .

  13. freepoland

    I have no problem with Carol Rumens’ choice of poems, but the discussions of late below the line have been turgid and long winded. And there seems to be an undercurrent of paranoia ready to manifest itself at the smallest perceived slight. So I keep off for the most part, and enjoy playing with Billy Mills instead.
    But there are clearly some teenage moderators around at present on GU with nothing much to do, and not much sense of what freedom of speech might entail. When the average posting attracts fewer than ten responses, the idea of keeping on-topic seems trifling.
    I have no opinions about buried advertising. Since I never buy anything at all, it seems irrelevant to me. Perhaps someone can tell me what conspiracy I should most fear and abhor …

  14. wordnerd7

    === about buried advertising. Since I never buy anything at all, it seems irrelevant to me. Perhaps someone can tell me what conspiracy I should most fear and abhor … ===

    Not quite a conspiracy, @freepoland. The point is that GU keeps proving over and over again that it cares far more about pandering to the demands of an increasingly slick — mass-market and celebrity-driven — publishing industry than about protecting literary standards.

    Once, newspapers were only beholden to book publishers for advertising. Now, on sites like the books blog, they are effectively selling them access to our computers and intimate details about our tastes — and information about where we go and what we do online. . . This is all being done with great secrecy, and it’s making papers like the Guardian ever more willing to dance to publishers’ tunes. Remember, the dominant publishers are now giant multinational corporations.

    In those companies, it’s people with MBA degrees, most comfortable with spreadsheet analysis — who know or care very little about books or ideas — who are deciding what does and doesn’t get published. That’s George Steiner’s point . . .

    The market research software being siphoned into our machines supports the reshaping of book publishing into a business indistinguishable from the hawking of deodorants and frozen fish fingers. . . How I wish I were joking, but these are actual facts.

  15. BaronCharlus

    Wordn (posted this on your other thread but it seems to fit better here, sorry if you already saw it), more new burble below,

    For my many deep, peculiar sins, part of the way I’ve been making money recently is to read a lot of articles on internet security (so I really can’t bring myself to click that link of yours), so I do know that adware can be a rather grey area legally – at least one company spreading the stuff has been to court with Symantec or McAfee (I think) after they were flagged as phishing software by a firewall; this suggests that adware can still be classified – by security companies no less – as invasive. It hadn’t, in my innocence (I know, an innocent sinner, how Edenic) occurred to me that the GU would be flytipping tiny spies into my laptop but of course you’re right. On most of your comments above I now think you may have a point, especially since the blogs overhaul that links posts to advertising. I’ll get me fig leaf.

    I’ve said this elsewhere on the GU: I’m not sure publishing has ever been much more than commerce and, if it was, it was a rarefied industry for those with private incomes, meaning that unmonied authors were unable to generate a living from a writer’s advance (BS Johnson springs to mind, although one of you may be able to disabuse me of that). That, at least, has changed, and it’s possible for some writers (in genre, anyhow, but more frequently in lit-fic) to get a living from their work. To balance that opportunity, there are more and more writers trying to get in the door. Do you know anyone who isn’t writing/planning a novel? We’re a highly literate society (outside the nation’s vast sink esates but it’s not nice to talk about those) and the industry reflects our appetites and tastes, responds ever more swiftly to success (i.e. books with the word Code in the title, boy wizards or cover designs aping David Mitchell’s, all on the shelves within months). It’s not a conspiracy, we get the industry we deserve – everyone complains about Tesco but two pounds in seven of UK spending goes there, some of us must be hypocrites. Crikey. That was tangenital. Sorry.

  16. As regards the earlier posts, they were written fast, trying to it out all i a rush, the residual effect of disappearing as soon as it is posted, perhaps, ha ha. Yeah Poetry, what’s it all a boot>

    I didn’t feel a grump at *gettng passed over* BC, in relation to the poet n question. It was more a case of settling a long standing poetic score, compounded by the fact that when she first appeared, she laid into a real life pal who lives with me, without this person having spoken to her.

    At that time, this pal was being targeted and textually abused by a group of fifty summat males headed by one particular rich guy who even set up a blog specificially to ridicule her, basically saying – you stupid woman, your writing ambitions are ridiculous, you are not an intellectual but a thick bint.

    This pal has now proved she is far from this, but at the time this poet i have previous with turned up, she had not flowered and the one who was expressed to the potw after a month, joined in this online bullying with relish, but what happened is the gang of male bullies all turned on her after sevral weeks when she got potw slot, and i make no apologies, i was one of her stanchest critics, and she slunk back off to her chat gaffe where she carried on her act of being appalled on behalf of the nation.

    Basically over the course of time i have been engaged as a fellow poet with this poet, she has slipped up many times, her past utterances proving to be spoken for effect. For example, when she first appeared on the gu, she was saying how her sole concern in life was reducing carbon emmissions, and basically because she is a bruiser, ends up looking thick, and the poetry game she cannot play that well.

    As regards Rumens, when she first appeared, she explicitly, over the course of a couple of weeks, acknowledged every single regular there but me, and it took her 3 months to say hello, and when the VIP turned up and talk was in the air of getting a slot on potw (which i proposed for our VIP’er, as an act of mischief) Rumens over the course of a few weeks, though it was like pulling teeth, made it clear she did not consider me a *real* poet as i haven’t had a book of poems published. Now do not get me wrong, i have around 200 plus poems and my first two collections, are done and dusted, just waiting for the right moment to be sold, and naturally i got the hump that the person who was making a good number at GU out of online poetry, refused to counteneance a poet could exist online, as this meant she was denying me my practice as a professional.

    But over the course of the next few months, Carol too got sacked, in the sense of intellectually and all the rest of it and now i have only good feelings to her. But as i sayy, my interaction with GU is unique, the reasons i went there in the first place, being because of the VIP poet slinging me out her gaffe and then coming over after a year thorugh jealousy to cause aggor to me professionally, by slagging off a woman she knew i was close to – the fact i had a real hand in getting the poetry there to its current state of health, and the fact i spent three years study before i even appeared in public trying to engage with others, as Poetry to me, it genuinely is a love i am addicted to, and i know that in the longer term all will come good as i am the only person i know on the path of learning i am.

    My philosophy is, there is the best poem in the world on a piece of paper, locked in a drawer, and no one has read it but the author. Now whether that poem appears in a billion books or one piece of paper, it is the same text, and that is my bottom line, and i think what happens though it is changing swiftly as the online writers just keep plodding on and getting better — is that the old guard like Carol, whose whole relationship with poetry and writing has been that to exist as a pro means paper and Books, published as in the old days where on person picks who is who — this mob are naturally going to be less able or willing to embrace the new topography, and i have discovered as i have gone on, that the tiny seed of belief i had at 34 when i started, that even though everyone had written me off, i hadn’t – has flowered and i got *there*, here boring you lot, speaking with the eloquence i always dreamt of. And it is just a game to me, i have nothing to prove, and i love you BC, and wanna have yr babies.

  17. Just in case i am not clear, that i am coming across as a sad git with only th GU to rant on. i went there through a variety of factors, instinct being one and the reason i did – apart from her jammers slinging me out her gaffe for airing Amergin – is Shirley Dent slagged off a do i was appearing at, and i had a ball trashing her with eloquence. Then the longer i was on, as i have only ever been lead by instinct, i just put my faith in the fact it was all leading somewhere, apart from becoming ranter in residence.

    At that point it was my main palce to out what was inside my head, and in the first year i wrote around 2000 pages of A4, around four of five novels worth of word count, and i see now, like the article mentioned about 10,000 hours practice being the norm to get expert status – that i took on the discipline of a full time writer in that year, whislt also engaging in getting a round of blogs on the go, like a dog with a lampost, lead by instinct alone.

    Then about four months ago when i was approaching htting ollamh, the various online lampsosts where i squirted off, all on instinct, by zooming about and responding (or not) on instinct to whatever deposits the authors had left – all the gaffes joined up, and so instead of my main focus being at GU, i got a variety of places in which i am now talking. So – for example – when we were having the argy bargy the other night about atf and it all got too draining and emotional, i zapped off to another gaffe, wrote a piece there and when i returned to the blokes bog, my head was back to being perky. And one of the side beneifits of being totally banned, is that knowing what i say has only a very short shelf life of 12 hours max – is that i can say stuff i wouldn’t if io knew it was going to be left on. Let out the borderline thoughts i wouldn’t express because of politeness of i wasn’t osama of the books blog.

    And there is method in this madness as it means, once articulated, the little grumpy bits, once out they are said and it is like a swearing wall you can write anything on, a release, making this portal work for me, rather than being a consumer whose internet habits are getting trawled by adware. I think this is why they do not like me, becuase i am using it to help myself and get better as a writer, rather than as a shopper getting sold who they say is the next hot bluffer.

    But either way, thanks very much wordy for this lamp post, i am sure it will get a lot more squirts.

    gra agus siochain

  18. BaronCharlus

    Point taken, Des

    I know from experience that it’s far worse to see someone you care for suffering at the hands of others than to suffer the same oneself. The behaviour towards your friend sounds appaling (know you love that word), and cruel. A fair point clearly expressed.

    Re your ‘world’s best poem in a drawer’ theory. Wow. We couldn’t be more different. I don’t think you’re wrong (wrong and right, don’t buy it, only limitations of perception, mine and others’) but every time I have a novel rejected, and there have been several, one of the things that hits me hardest (aside from the fact that it’s going to be another year of work before I have the chance to risk rejection again) is the thought that my work, of which I’m always – at the time – proud, is never going to be seen or to reach the readerhsip I had imagined for it. For the first day it’s like being punched through the heart: all those characters speaking to no one.

    Funnily – I had a look at your blog, will read more in time – re your favourite movies; a project I abandoned last year was a – genuine – attempt to write a comic novel using the structure of selected tales from Ovid in the style of a Confessions movie (I never got as far as reading Timothy Lea’s novels). I intend to go back to it one day.

    Exeunt.

  19. the comment from the modbots chez GU warning us to refrain from mentioning Mr. Swords may well have been a wind-up but parallax has just been deleted on the Blackbird thread for mentioning him in connection with this Gaelic bit of verse.

    I’m extremely anti the concept of martyrdom – there are two sides to almost everything – but the GU is going about this in a very dumb way.

  20. 3p4

    thanks alarming,,i was wondering how plxv got modded on such a benign tone of thread,,did pv
    post a link pointing here ?,,i expect that will get you cleansed pretty quick,,hardly surprising,,there was a post on that thread from des for a while,,did you see joans post ? anyone know why pink just got whacked ?

  21. 3p4 as far as I remember pv said that Des ought to be on the thread as the subject matter was right up his street. I can’t remember any link to anything but it could be that.
    They do delete them when things get personal although even that can be randomly done. Some of atf’s stuff about me on the rap rap remained up there whilst other bits got canned.

  22. 3p4

    pink just said his delete was for the same reason,,
    maybe the “dont speak his name” was not a joke
    which would be an ugly can of worms indeed,,
    pinks poem was deleted
    joans post seems to have disappeared

    the water thread was boppin along really nice after Talan(t) turned up,, ‘was’

    maybe i am too sensitive,,

  23. 3p4

    i am pretty sure the “dont mention his name” post was a hoax since the monicker “communtiymoderator” still exists but lists no posts,, was that you deswn+1 ?

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