Street Writer (part one)



Perhaps, like me, you didn’t have much education in creative writing or art and that’s the whole point of this column.

It is to show YOU that you don’t need to go to university to get a degree to become a writer or any other kind of artistic form.

Some of us learnt our craft by reading countless books, listening to musicians of all kinds, watching cinematic films and TV shows and observing great performers.

I have been successful enough to land this column and share my stories as an artist and a man.

I have achieved some wonderful stuff in my years of writing, but I’m still working on it to be a full time gig.

On the other hand, I have fucked up in many ways too. I have made mistakes, I have had failures, and I have looked foolish and criticised for the content in my material.

But it is like I said in a poem one time ‘it’s not like you’re being beaten up, murdered or raped’…

As long as you grow from it all and continue to graft at your art and make it your life, then you have nothing to worry about.

I am going to take you back to the first time it hit me when I wanted to write and it all starts with a toy typewriter my sister received as a gift one Christmas.

As you can imagine I was young… probably so young I wasn’t wanking full time like a desperate man.

Me and my sister were sitting in her room… back when we were all still a family. I was reading this book about a bear. I don’t remember exactly how the story went, but after finishing it I thought ‘I could do that’…

I saw my sister’s toy typewriter sitting on the floor that she hardly looked at all day. I slid down onto the floor, put the paper into it, lay down on my stomach and started.

I got several words into it and I went blank. I realised it was a hell of a lot harder than I thought. I wasn’t furious… but it made me think that this is definitely something I could go for in life if I could learn and practice more.

Of course I didn’t look into it much after that one time experience. It lay dormant for a while, but when I look back now, I see it was a seed and it would blossom at the right time, like all good things.

Like the time my sister came in to see me and told me she had lost her virginity that very night. I asked her “were you safe?” and she told me she was. I asked her if she was ready, she told me it was definitely the right time for her. I asked her if she enjoyed it and she just laughed and so did I.

Nobody’s first time is perfect and it is the same for your craft. You could be lucky to get somewhere with it within the first few years, but for most like myself, it takes longer.

Now that I am a 30 year old man (almost 30 odd years old) I am only finding my feet now. So, from a kid with a toy typewriter to being where I am now has been the most triumphant experience of my life and the most difficult.

You see, the harder it is the more rewarding it becomes.

I will go into more detail about my writing epiphanies as we go along and the other stories that came along the way. But for now, we will stick to one story at a time.

I could have gone down the route of becoming a life coach and a martial arts instructor, but I spent most of my time running about on a skateboard with my boys and writing whatever the fuck I wanted and in as many genres as I could.

You see, with the life coaching and the training (and I am even a certified counsellor) there were too many restrictions. But with the board and the pen… it was pure freedom and I loved that.

As a writer: I have been published in print, I have had poems read out on radio, my films have been screened at a film festival and I have performed in the major cities of: Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, London and New York and I did all this work myself with very little help.

I only wanted to tell you this because there are opportunities everywhere; you just have to look in the right places.

The internet is a fabulous thing.

But go for the porn sites when you’ve finished your work not during it ha-ha.

I am going to leave it here for now, as it is the first story that blossomed the idea in my mind’s eye to want to be a writer in the first place and that’s a pretty good start for now.

I have talked about my sister in this article – she is my life and she is only now just off the phone with me calming me down, because they fucked up my medication today and she told me she would start an argument with them to get it sorted. It didn’t have to come to that thankfully, but she would kill for my wellbeing and for my aspirations towards wanting to be a writer and an artist.

She even sat up one night to let me back in when I told her I was going to a party, as I jumped out the living room window, 14 years young. Later on I would do the same for her, as she stood talking to her friends at 5am while I was going out to train in the gym. All her girlfriends wanted a bit of me, as they watched me with their too young for me eyes ha-ha.

I will be publishing a poem with every article written and I think one about my sister will suffice for this one. It is called: The Perfect Sister!


The perfect sister


She is

More perfect than the moon

Or the stars

Better than a first kiss

Or a last

A poem would do her no justice

Not even a god either

She is the mother

She is the earth

She is the sky

She is better than what they make heaven out to be

Her love burns better than hells fire

Not an angel forgotten

But an angel that brings out another poet in me


She can laugh




Paul Butterfield Jnr

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