Wednesday, 18 April 2012

about writing by benjamin king/rollerfink


I'm just going to jot down some random thoughts about writing. And me. I feel like if it was a movie Owen Wilson would be me and a dumb monkey would be my writing.

I write everything directly in blogger. Oh you should check out my blog if you don't know about it. That's where I put my stories. Yes I still use blogger. I am too old for tumblr. I started one but didn't really get how to use it so it's nothing.

Anyway, I only write when I feel inspired to write. I never sit down and think oh I should write a story. Sometimes I will go months without writing and sometimes I will write three stories in a day. It stays fun this way. I never want to make it a chore.

Usually the first line or two will just pop into my head and I will bandy the words around in my mind until I get to my computer and see how the rest plays out. Sometimes I feel strongly about a specific theme and that will be enough to get the words rolling. It usually takes me about two hours to write a story (almost all of them are very short). When it is done I hit publish and then read it through to check for typos etc. Sometimes I'll do a minor edit at that point but after that I very rarely go back and edit. Most of my stories are babies that come into the world and I accept them for who they are. I love them even if they are not perfect.

Then I twitter and facebook a link and check my stat counter for the next couple of days to see how many hits I get. I love to see comments on my stories but people don't comment much these days.

When people ask me what I write about, which is pretty rare, I tell them death and loneliness. That's funny but it's also a bit true. Even though I am neither dead nor lonely. In fact my writing is very much not autobiographical, even though much of it is in the first person. The truth is I am very happy in my life. I married my first girlfriend and am still in love with her and I love my kids and it's all pretty good really. When I write I like to invent characters and inhabit their minds and write the story out from there. I guess I just find death and loneliness interesting. My dad died when I was 8 and my wife had cancer pretty bad when I was about 28 (I'm 40 now) so I guess death and thinking about death is a part of me.

I really hate submitting stories for publication. I used to submit about one thing a year and it would get rejected but this past year I submitted about 20 things and had about five or six accepted. It's nice to be accepted but it does not balance out the feeling of rejection. I don't think I will submit anything for a while. Maybe go back to my one a year policy. I prefer to contribute to projects that my friends are working on rather than trying to get into some lit journal that I never read anyway.

I am mainly a stay at home dad these days (it's great) but my career is also writing. I still work a tiny bit (about four or five hours a week). I write marketing materials and business proposals for a company in Connecticut (I worked in their office when I lived there). I'm pretty good at it but it does not interest me the way it used to. The company is struggling a bit so that may not last anyway.

Ultimately I would love to write a novel even though I recently read that writers don't make money anymore apart from the mega writers like Steven King or JKR. Now that my kids are getting older (6 and 3) I am getting a bit more time so maybe I can make it happen.

It is a bit tough for me to reconcile some of my writing with the fact that I am a dad. Like if I write a story about vaginas or handjobs etc. I don't know what to do about that. I don't want to not write a story that I think is funny or great in case it offends but I also don't want me kids to think I am some kind of deviant. I don't know, I'm a good dad.

Whoops that was a bit long. I should have started off with "Dear diary;"

Sunday, 1 April 2012

So I guess I put off/forgot about writing this for two months

Writing about writing is hard. I often think that people think that since I write I should be able to express myself well. In my opinion, the truth is the opposite. I think that most writers write because they have trouble expressing themselves in conversation. I write because I live inside my head and it is easier to get out the stuff from in there when I am by myself, without anyone staring at me. I have never been good at making jokes spontaneously. I used to rap. I was awful at the actual rapping: the flow, the breath control, the enunciation, the swag. I was even worse at freestyling. The one thing I think I was any good at was writing the lyrics themselves.

At first I mimicked my favourite rappers. I learned various techniques from them. I ticked off the various skills. Punchlines. Metaphors. Multisyllable rhymes. Internal rhyme schemes. Blah blah blah. It took a long time for me to begin writing verses about anything but how amazing I was a rapping. It was when I stopped boasting about how skilled I was that I realised how skilled I wasn't and started writing things other than raps.

Of course the timeline isn't that simple. I was trying to be a writer at various times before then. When I was nine I wrote the fourth Harry Potter book before JK Rowling did. When I was a little older I wrote the first page of an epic fantasy novel and then never returned to it. I wrote various stories and poems that I thought were fantastic and my parents encouraged. Blah blah blah I guess writing has always been a thing for me whatever.

Now I think about writing every day. I think about novels, and novellas, and stories, and poems, and chapbooks, and collections that I want to write and the intricacies of all of these. I think about my career. I think about collaborations. I spend a lot more time thinking about writing than I do actually writing. I also spend a lot more time thinking about reading than I do actually reading. I read reviews and blog posts about books and built detailed ideas about the books without having read them. I often find myself disappointed when I read a book because it fails to live up to the version of it I created in my mind. I am certainly more often influenced by these dream versions of books that I create than their paper and ink relations. As I said earlier, I live inside my head blah blah blah

Sunday, 26 February 2012

will someone pay me to write a email

like stacey i have been stalling over writing this post for a while. but i have been doing a lot of other writing which is pretty good. a lot of the time i feel my general wellbeing is linked to how much writing i do. feels as if i need to 'write things out' a lot of the time. that is how it has always seemed.

for the longest time i have felt like it really helps me to write a notebook where i write specifically to someone. in high school me and stacey did this thing where we would mail each other our notebooks that we kept. for a time we even had one that we would both write in: one would write in it for two months then send it to the other and repeat. it was a cute idea. sometimes i remember things that stacey wrote in there, like this quote from gilmore girls (i'm sad and mad. i'm SMAD) and maybe some things from grey's anatomy about hearts. sign o the times. but i remember having good feelings about 'writing to someone' because it makes you feel like you are less alone. and when we weren't doing the notebook things i would sometimes just write letters to stacey (or other people, not exclusive, but nearly, i'd say 90%) on looseleaf. it always gave me purpose even if i didn't feel like i was writing anything in particular, not a poem, not a story, not even any type of memorable correspondence probably. just seemed important to feel less alone in any way possible.

so at the moment i am writing a notebook to someone back in australia. when i first started writing in it i was homesick for this person and a lot of the writing was about what i was doing in america and how people were and how i was finding it all and generally missing the person. now i am nearly settled in the uk things are sort of settling down and i am trying to write more poems and stories, so a lot of the time i find myself writing in the notebook about the ideas that i have and things that i am trying to get out via actual writing. it's just a thing i thought i would try to see if it works, like if it helps to be quite conscious of what i am trying to write. not sure about it so far.

usually when i try to write something (like a poem or a story) something will have just 'come' to me. i was explaining this to somebody at work the other day, and whenever i tell somebody something like this i think of how i heard ages ago that one day harry potter just walked into jk rowling's mind, fully formed. i was explaining how sometimes poems or stories just come to me and it is all clear to me, what needs to be said and how to do it, or thereabouts, with a bit of work. but not always, and not frequently. so that is why lately i am trying to write about things i want to write about in an expository way, so hopefully i can work out the way that works best, or how i can encourage things to 'come' to me more often.

also i sort of battle with the 'style' that i want to write in. the person i was talking to at work about this stuff asked me what sort of things i write about and i was like "um.. whiny.. girl.. feelings.. type of stuff". which seems accurate. i am a little concerned that i actually write about the same thing over and over. and that when i write a thing that people like i will just try to replicate it so i receive similar praise. at the moment i am trying to think of the good poems i write and the way that i write them as a sort of place in my mind that i can get to in a few moves, if i am just willing to try to do them.

anyway so my relationship with writing is pretty much the above at the moment. i have some writing type goals for this year and they are
- write enough stuff to make a chapbook
- submit stuff to places so people will be interested in a chapbook of mine
- make a chapbook

also it seems to me like reading and writing go pretty well together and my ratio of writing to reading this year is pretty on par.. thoughts?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

ways that i write

the irony of not being able to write about writing has been getting to me so i'm just going to write about the various outlets that i use to facilitate my writing instead

my notebook
when i am not at home i write in my notebook. it is black and lined. i keep buying the same one from whitcoulls because it delivers all that i desire in a notebook (the fact that you can write in it, mostly, but there are also several other factors to consider such as appropriate size to fit into bags, colour, general 'vibes' and so forth)

this notebook mostly contains stream-of-consciousness type musings, which i usually look at when i get home and compile into a poem via typing it into my mac book. i find writing a poem or anything easier via a computer. i usually carry my notebook with me at all times. yesterday however, i forgot to take it and had to buy another notebook (and a pen) b/c i felt that if i didn't write something down i would go cray cray. the notebook i bought was on sale for 30c, a '3B1' type affair

this is what the most recent page of my notebook has on it:

if i could record the sounds of my body right now it would be something like a mountain goats song and cicadas singing loudly (drunk)

rubbish bags, noodles, pesto, cheese, wraps, spinach, apples, pasta sauce, tofu, snax (shopping list)

usually i write tweets when i am in bed feeling lonely/sad and listening to ridiculous pop music to make me feel better

text message
i suppose these are similar to tweets in a way sometimes, only directed at specific people

instant messaging
i do this daily via skype, facebook and gchat, usually with the same few people but occasionally i branch out. there tends to be a range in content, but common themes are sadness, food, things we have done today, posting links to hip hop videos and saying 'lol'.

usually correspond with a few people at any one time. it's a good way to converse with people, as it allows you to feel cathartic via typing out recent things you have done/ways you have felt whilst also saying things that relate to the other participant

textedit via macbook
i have this text edit document called 'notes' which i write everything in. under 'poetry' i have bits of poems that i couldn't make work or have been discarded from other poems, and i go back to them every now and again and eventually it becomes a thing. usually draft blog posts and anything else i want to write is in there

i write things in zines that i am making

sometimes i write things on my hands

i think that's it

Thursday, 2 February 2012


I've recently heard from various people that they haven't heard much from us antipodeans recently and I feel we should explain ourselves, perhaps by describing our relationship with writing at present.

Here are bonus pix of what we have been doing lately (hanging loose, chillin', being bffs)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

I want to

Read at least six books of over 500 pages

Finish an Online Diploma of Creative Writing

Write a book

Get a job

Get my Restricted Driver's License

Saturday, 14 January 2012


i think in 2012 i will go on the internet less, instead of this i think i will sit outside and read and drink tea

i have to get a job

i also want to go visit people i like that live in different places

go to more gigs

that's all

oh, and listen to more diana ross and the supremes