Thursday, March 31, 2011

Poems blow the top of my head off

Tomorrow we start writing a poem a day. Actually I've already started. With the proviso they are likely to be unpoetic, at best. This is my last apology, though, before I start posting poems here.

Last night I dreamed my old poetry tutor took me for dinner in a windmill. The building was an open structure, an exciting design. I was looking forward to eating exquisite food. We climbed to the second or third floor and I realised the mill was made out of cardboard, shaking in the wind, and very dangerous.

Then I had to put gloves on and serve the customers.

Something fell away

I can cut a pattern from your hands
I can pin your shadow to the cloth
I cannot stop you from outgrowing this life

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What not to miss

First up, Erika Lust, interviewed at Erobintica's blog.

Also interesting is Erika's Manifesto for good porn, here. She's inviting women to join in the 'pornographic discourse'. Which I'd like to do, sometime soon, when I have some spare time. Whenever that golden day may be.

And coming up this weekend, I'm venturing out of this wee bloggy and over to 'Oh Get a Grip' to talk about taboos. Hopefully what I've written will make some kind of sense. There will also be a film of me confronting a personal taboo. (Which is not nearly as exciting as it sounds, and nothing like an Erika Lust film, I should add. Really. Not even slightly.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Poetry and a a Magical review

What are you doing for April?

Fancy joining us for a poem a day? I imagine I'm going to produce an awful, awful lot of very, very dodgy poems, but it might be fun. Or something. I don't know, but I promised Shanna I'd do it. Who could resist her?

More here!

Also there's a lovely review of Dream Lover at Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews. They had this to say about my story:

'Old-Fashioned Glamour by Nikki Magennis is a wonderfully magical take on the idea of ‘who says you can’t go home?’ Returning home after too many years away, Amy tries to move amongst the villagers in a nearly invisible haze of magic, until Scott sees right through her glamour. The faith that love endures powers this little short, bringing back together a love that was always meant to be.'

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time, again, always time

While the baby sleeps, I have revised a story, worked on a poem, a film, an essay.

It's like collecting a big pile of wood chips - you start at the edges and pick up chip by chip. If you don't look at the centre, it gets smaller much more quickly.

Lately I'm also learning to edit in my head. This is hard, like trying to remember a dream, but it's good mental exercise, too, I think. Working the brain muscles, stops them going soft. I hope. So when I'm settling the baby to sleep or out walking, I can compose a piece of writing or edit it, ready to make the changes when I next find time.

Working while typing or staring at the words is faster, easier. But I wonder if working while you're looking at the inside of your head, your memory, your thoughts, also has advantages. The ideas seem to be slower to form and different in quality. Who was it that hated writing for the fact it made his disciples lazy thinkers? One of those old Greeks.

Edited to add: 

'...for this discovery of yours [writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.

Plato, putting words in the mouth of Socrates in Phaedrus

- and imagine what the internet is doing to our memories! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I just got a rejection, the first in ages.  That sounds a bit full of itself, but mostly it's because my submission rate has fallen to practically zero in the past year, and I've often been subbing in response to a direct request, so I've been more likely to score an acceptance.

Anyway, rejection. Funnily enough, it no longer raises even the littlest nosedive of disappointment in me. Why? First of all, Kristina Wright's excellent blog post on an editor's job and how stories are chosen. Read it here. This wonderful article really helped me to dispel that lingering sense of persecution over rejections. I read it and finally really got that it's not personal.

Secondly, and this will sound maybe a bit odd: I subbed a story that I was unsure of. That I was experimenting with, taking a chance on. I'm happy that I took the risk, tried something new, happy that I failed, in essence, because it means I challenged myself. These days I have so little writing time, I only want to work on things that push me. That matter. That may fail. I'm not interested in publishing for the sake of it anymore.

Lastly, it helps when a rejection is nicely phrased. Yes, even a form rejection can be done with grace. I do wish all editors would be so thoughtful.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Is alive in the forked body, an anchor between the legs, irresistible magnetism.

Is sweet in a hungry mouth, wet in an angry kiss, tender against the lips.

Is like gravity.

Is all the flowers in Scotland blooming at once, from the pretty feathered catkin to the dense, wicked thistle.

Is bulldozing through conversation, laughter, misunderstandings, tearing through words like so much wet newspaper.

Is felling us. Pinned and skewered, we scream merry hell. The huntsmen, deer, hounds and dogs all tumbling, howling, fighting and biting - taut, intent, obsessed, devouring scent, inhaling bodies, dismembering each other bone by bone.

Is enough to fill and refill my glass, to sip and swallow and taste the long finish.

Is enough to shake me. Leave me undone, naked in soft, fresh air. Make me sob without tears.  

Is a glorious, blessed, joyful fuck, hallelujah, the first of Spring.

Friday, March 11, 2011


A jewellery case, given to me years ago by an anonymous admirer. Inside, ruby red earrings, like drops of blood. A necklace like a cut-throat. A note, illegible.
I wear the jewels, I step out into the city in ruby red shoes, my mouth lipstick'd. I am carrying letters, marked by my red kisses. A handsome movie star invites me to a shuttered, derelict building, to sit with him at a banquet at a dirty table. He is trying to seduce me. The table is covered in drug dust. Dumb, as one is in dreams, I sit down, I accept. 

occassional 100 word flash

Monday, March 07, 2011


I never could have imagined how much time a child takes. Before I had one I admit I used to wonder, baffled, what it was that mothers did all day. I suppose I thought the child would Play, burble away to itself for hours, at regular intervals I'd feed it and once a day I'd wash it and then it would Sleep, wouldn't it, for hours and hours. Like a little baby.


So anyway, I generally have about two hours a day in which to try to do my work - writing and/or painting and anything else that happens to be on the cards at the present time. Not including the housework, the housework can go to hell (until I feel like I'm drowning in mashed banana and dirty towels, when I shall scream and grudgingly do it), paperwork, any semblance of a social life, etc.

What's this moan for? I don't know. It's just to say I'm tired, and I have no time, and there's so much I want to do. If you listen hard you will no doubt hear similar stories all over the world, from people far less lucky than I am, with more children, less time and even more obligations. So I'll shut up and get on with it, and see what I can pull out of these two tired, sleep-deprived, worrisome, precious, precious hours.

The first thing is to sit for fifteen minutes and try to do nothing at all.