“… It cuts me up inside and the only person I share that with is me. You don’t know me…” – On Poetry, emotions and reactivity.

girl staring darkness

My poems are very personal. This August challenge literally makes me feel like the whole world is looking inside my journal and they are going to know exactly who and what I am writing about… Which is false. We are usually just projecting ourselves and at the end of the day nobody was there for me, nobody was around when things happened so they cannot possibly know…

People deserve to take what they want out of a piece of art and I hope that at least they can get some kind of comfort, recognition and feeling of belonging from my poetry that they are not the only one feeling the same way or have been through similar situations.

I really like recalling lines from film or TV or art or anything that captures how I feel. The above headline quote is from an episode of the 90’s TV show Angel and it sums up how I feel about my poetry even though the original context and meaning of the line is irrelevant to my poems.

The point is we need that understanding from someone to explain and surmise a state or emotion previously beyond our comprehension.

You are welcome to share lines of my poetry that make you feel something and ignite a feeling of connection from writer to poem to reader to your heart… Tag me on twitter @CattVaughan or share poems from my Facebook page /CatherineVaughanWriter.

At the end of the day my poems are about my life yet are also not about me and they are in some ways about “saving somebody’s soul” [Angel, Sanctuary S1 ep 19] and then they end up being about everyone, particularly everybody that is hurting right now. I’m very conscious of the fact that souls need to be saved, I’m so aware of human suffering on all levels…

Notably it’s too agonizing to write about certain hurts or traumas all the time so in this upcoming August poetry challenge some poems are about lovely things like cherry blossoms others like “Tiara” are completely imaginative and fictitious and some bare my deepest secrets… In my earlier published works it was autobiographical yet expressed in a veiled manner as I did not have the audacity to say what I felt whereas now I am more explicit with my feelings yet the events described may overlap it may be about more than one person or there may be some artistic licence and imagination to bring a poem to life…

I know how important and meaningful certain song lyrics and quotes are and how they make me feel and I truly hope and would be honoured if any of my poems make you feel that sense of deep connection.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t control anything or anyone. People just think what they think regardless. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know how to think other times because they’re just closed up in their own minds. I made the assumption that when girls said to me they have dated a guy like the one in my poem 2am that suddenly their relationship pattern played out the same way mine did. But in reality they could tell me what the guy did and how it made them feel and it could be totally DIFFERENT to the situation I was writing about. Sure the poem has resonance but it’s possible the sentiments or situation differs vastly. I’d hate to explain the literal meaning of a poem and then it is totally at odds with the reader’s initial interpretation it would just give the feeling of dissatisfaction like when a book is turned into a film you can’t be happy with both versions because one conflicts with how you imagined it to be.

I’m still at a very early stage with my poetry and there is no gap or separation from my words and me. Some Poets have a totally separate identity from their art and heart they can convey personal experiences in poetry yet remain detached. At this phase in my life I haven’t got to that level but I just have to remember that I will someday and everything I’ve poured my heart and soul into will just be words on screen/words on ink. Eventually I’ll reach that threshold and be detached… Or perhaps that’s the beauty of my art that it truly is an imprint of my heart and soul and maybe my poems will forever make me suffer and I will become a tortured artist because I cannot let go…

I felt the need to maybe explain some poems but what is the point? It would still get misinterpreted anyway… Unless someone was in that period of my life and was right there next to me as I wrote the poem they would simply have no clue what it’s about, they don’t need to. They can just take whatever they want from it. I relinquish control from then on which is a very important step to making poetry.

Explanation isn’t required in art. I’m only just starting to understand this. Misinterpretation also acts as a liberator and gives me the permission to write what I need to write.

I may have published “my heart / your art” in a self-conscious moment as I lacked the bravery to admit that “my heart is my art” but now I come with full force to declare to the world “I chose my art over my heart.”

I have to remember I’m still young and it’s so early in my literary career. I haven’t even started. These emotions fuel my art and help to counteract writer’s block. As painful as some of these poems were to write, ultimately, it’s inspiration and is helping me build a body of work. It comes at a huge cost but I couldn’t not be doing what I am doing.

I’ve come to a place of acceptance and maturity. Quite simply all this pain and anguish is a creative catalyst, without it I would have no art. Literally. It is just who I am.  It took me a really long time to realize it and understand what my style is but it is romantic, not necessarily filled with lovey-dovey stuff but with attention to detail, appreciation, sentimentality and nostalgia.

Juxtaposed with the fact that in my mind I keep thinking that my poetry and my novel will (verbatim) be “the death of me.” I really do die a little inside each time I write poetry particularly when I have to read my poems aloud. So much of my art is simply a mirror of the cocktail of chaos that my life has been, so I have no choice in what I write.

You have to be so painfully honest in art. At least, that’s the standard I hold. I guess it’s because I’m so intense and an all or nothing kinda person. It doesn’t mean you have to be explicit like describe how they look or outright explain that it was your best friend who screwed you over or whatever the case may be. It just has to be the absolute truth of the emotional dynamic or the wave of emotion or ’emoji’ has to be accurate you can’t downplay it.

If Van Gogh didn’t go all pointillism on canvas we wouldn’t have Van Gogh. If I hadn’t have experienced repeated lost love and unfulfilled love and dissatisfaction with the philistines I dated I’d never have have my novel.  If I had the bohemian boyfriend I always thought I would have my novel would never be conceived and I’d be lost and never found.

From absence and lack we can make our best art. A lack of love or a lack of understanding can create a covetous cocktail of creativity.

I guess without it I’d be stuck feeling like I had something to make and do but coming up blank. If you want to be a writer you have to have something to say…

It’s the dissatisfaction that keeps me moving forward therefore I’m always searching. I shall continue to be on the search for everything and may spend a lifetime this way.

Join me on my journey…

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A New Style for 2017

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So last night I just randomly decided to change the entire design and style of my lifestyle blog CatherineVaughansWorld.com.

This choice has been determined by my recent foraying back into the blogs I enjoyed back in the day. On my gap Year in 2009 and in my first year of University I was dipping into to blogs by Leo Babauta, Tim Ferriss and Cal Newport. I became frustrated as well as deeply affected by the horrid things that had been going on in my life since my teens and needed a new outlook on life, a vision of how life could be. I was insatiably materialistic with a huge propensity to excess (in attitude and habit) in those days and knew it was not the way to be. The bloggers and writers mentioned above are somewhat collectively LifeHackers, a term fellow British readers may not be too familiar with as life-hacking techniques are not particularly present in our culture. It’s a very American concept and one that I didn’t realize I had been doing since my teen years before I discovered these online writers.

I felt the need for transformation on my blogs. Things had been brewing for a while. I had successfully updated, revitalized and changed the entire layout of my arts blog NouveauBohemian.com and now it was time for my namesake Lifestyle blog to get the same treatment.

This former website design and aesthetic is simply too much. Too colourful, too bold. It’s crowded and distracted. It’s time for change. Time for simplicity. Time to pare things down to the bare essentials.

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It reflects the old me that had to be bold and striking but now I’m fed up of that approach and crave simplicity and spareness, even boringness.

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I want to go back to the roots of my reading and writing style. Previously I thought my obsession with efficiency and discipline would reduce my artsy credibility so to speak, but then I realized that firstly those qualities shape me and enable me to find pieces of success in the arts field and secondly fellow admirers of productivity tips are actually quite Bohemian. The likes of Ferriss, Babauta and Newport are often contrarian in their views. They’re non-conformist types. If anything efficiency and productivity are non-conformist traits because there’s so little presence of it in daily conventional life despite it being necessary for a functional life.

I was watching an interview with ZenHabits.net blogger Leo and FourHourWorkWeek.com blogger Tim and realizing these guys are the Zen Bohemians that Laren Stover writes about in her book The Bohemian Manifesto.

Something else I’ve also had to accept in life is that these kinds of people are basically the top in their field and that such discussions in the video just do not happen in real life, sadly. It’s not a typical topic of discussion at all… Though it seems quite natural to me….

I no longer have to choose either side as both sides of myself the artistic, romantic and sensitive dreamer can work in unison with my detail-orientated, productivity-seeking and perfectionist tendencies.

I’m glad I’m embracing this side of myself again and also discussing such writers because they’ve been so influential on my life and are cumulatively a supreme bank of knowledge. I hope maybe some readers of this blog will check out these incredible writers mentioned on this post:

Tim Ferriss
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2ikY071
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2hkiSvm
Blog:
FourHourWorkWeek.com

Cal Newport
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2i0nLGT
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2il9RC1
Blog:
CalNewport.com/blog

Leo Babauta
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2hQGTZE
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2hgA4QI
Blogs:
ZenHabits.net
Mnmlist.com/archive/


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Redefining Luxury…

According to the Oxford Dictionary “luxury” means:

“A state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense.”

You do not need a million dollar car. You do not need to travel far. You just need to make the most of what you have and appreciate everyday life and honour your workspace, bedroom etc. Material things come and go but it is qulity relationships, a comfy home and good sleep that does wonders for us and can truly make us feel amazing-and it costs very little!

The use of the word comfort to describe luxury is an intriguing one. It is usually a word that we may forget in regards to luxurious items. On the one hand we associate luxury with feeling good whether that be through the delicate feel of a luxury cashmere sweater or feeling like a million dollars when we wear designer sunglasses. But the comfort levels with luxury items denote an occasional feel and something hard to get. “Affordable luxury” is a sought after selection but again it is applied to things in our life that have singular purposes like a handbag or make-up; it does not necessarily improve the quality of  our lives.

But what is luxury really? Is it useful? Is it necessary. I would argue it is absolutely necessary. Having given up my superficial consumer-driven ways I now channel my desire for material things specifically on luxurious items. Paradoxical? Not at all.

Let me explain. I no longer waste money on yet another luxurious handbag or piece of clothing. Instead I shop for everyday luxury. Look out for luxurious commodities that affect your daily life and well-being, things that help with sleep, cooking, relaxing.

It is so precious to have quality sleep and eat good food. Nowadays I ensure to purchase high quality everyday items like bedding, kitchen appliances and the like. It is a really wonderful luxury to slip into clean, comfy pyjamas and beautiful, soft bed covers. Give yourself the gift of luxury everyday. Better to spend on comfy slippers for the home than a rarely worn, hard to maintain embellished cashmere sweater that is trendy right now.

Luxury is not necessarily bound by wealth and a high-status neighbourhood. It can be so much more accessible. Luxury can make you a more grateful person. Now I define luxury as having a beautiful, clean, organized bedroom; stylish, reliable everyday shoes to wear; and most importantly all the necessary tools and gadgets like a good smart phone and laptop to work on and capture memories for life. Luxury-buying should be a means to upgrade the necessities of life like friendship, cleanliness and beauty sleep so that you can experience these rejuvenating aspects of life to the fullest to be the best version of yourself.

You do not need a million dollar car. You do not need to travel far. You just need to make the most of what you have and appreciate everyday life and honour your workspace, bedroom etc. Material things come and go but it is quality relationships, a comfy home and good sleep that does wonders for us and can truly make us feel amazing-and it costs very little!

How do you guys feel about it?

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