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January, 2008

Mark Levine The Fine Print

Writing Piffle
Pure drivel
By  Chris Chapman

Alcohol may induce creative brilliance, but in the re-read a lot of drivel is written.
In days far gone, I always found that basking half-submerged in a bath, smoking a very large herbal cigarette, was a wonderful way of starting off the old grey cells. In the meantime, my fiasco (a far better description of my wife-to-be than fiancée) would sit on the loo seat, drink half a case of brown ale, and take notes of my creative thinking.
The herbal induced creativeness, aided by the extraordinary thought processes inspired by the brown ale, would yield story lines of unimaginable drivel.

And yet…and yet, out of the plethora of scribbled, hardly decipherable notes, there was nearly always the germ of an idea that blossomed, nay sprang, into the most marvellous story line or passage of prose. A piece that even a certain Mr P.G Wodehouse might well have ticked as sportsmanlike.

This bath was always taken at four in the afternoon, after the compulsory two-hour postprandial nap, and mandatory bottle of wine. The evening was spent decoding the aforementioned notes and bashing away at an old Remington with another bottle or two of the grape and Duke Ellington or similar burbling away in the background. The night usually finished in a self-induced coma, caused, in part, by resorting extensively to Mr Roget's lovely invention that, although having no story line, at least explained every word as one went along.

The cold light of morning always brought an air of sober thought into the proceedings when the past night's scribblings were analysed and put into some sort of order. This was when, if the nicotine and caffeine levels were up to par, the convoluted story lines showed their true colours. The ideas, those that seemed plausible, were rewritten into a state of semi-comprehensibility.

At midday the first of the wine corks flew across the room, indicating luncheon. Soon after the body had been refuelled, a horizontal pose was affected affording the mind the same sort of replenishment. Upon waking, we’d fill the bath and the whole process started over again.

This mode or method of artistic creation can go on for months if not years. Indeed, when you are imbued with this way of life, birthdays, Christmases, New Years and all other holidays go by without a murmur. You don't notice them and certainly don't miss them.

Now the problem with this wonderful mode of writing bestsellers, blockbusters, and what have you, was the fact that at some time you had to go out and shop for replenishment, i.e. food and wine, not to mention brown ale. It completely spoiled the thought processes and threw you off the finely tuned balancing act that the routine had inculcated. The best method of shopping was to send out. If you could not, you made it quick and made sure that the thought processes were ticking over somewhere in the dark recesses of the cranium.

We were married during one of the very few times we ventured out into the wide world, but neither of us can remember the year let alone the date…the twentieth century rings a bell though.
All good things come to an end however. Now we sit in front of a screen and the inspiration comes from surfing the net, and suchlike or in my case the occasional glance at my online bank balance. Depressing, isn't it?
I think I'll take a walk up to the herb garden, run a bath, and write this article.

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Chris Chapman is a retired old codger living in genteel poverty, but with a host of humorous memories stashed away in what resembles a brain, has been writing humorous nostalgia for many years, (Published in too many to remember, but most very forgetful) coupled with a load of funny stuff accrued from a lifetime wandering around the globe, in a fit of drunken debauchery. Visit or contact Chris:  or

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IN This Issue
Easy Readers
Write Angle
Writing Piffle
Remember The Reader
Making It Real
Out Of Order
Reality Suspension
Devilish Details

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
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The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
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Letter Perfect
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Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
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The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

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The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
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We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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