The Restless Main Blog – Felix Ratcliff

Over the years one accumulates quite a hefty backlog of blogs to follow. Some blogs die, others sit and don’t do much for months, maybe years. There are bloggers, like myself, that post in spare moments, procrastinating, adding bits like clay until it’s ready to burn. There are also those writers one admires because of a certain discipline and dedication to their art. Writers that I tend to rely on to inspire me or just simply enjoy their company on the page. I see them all the time, a beautiful compulsion to work out mind bugs or just share moments that may make a connection.

I came across Felix, a Sydney blogger on one of my regular mind strolls. A diarist of thoughts, his poems on his The Restless Main blog http://www.therestlessmain.blogspot.com.au/ is a stunning mass of days that flip like barrels of foam and blue on the page. The formula clean cut. Image and words, filled with moments of sand, salt, family and sky.

Your Squinting Face

by Felix Ratcliff

pic - Felix Ratcliff

pic – Felix Ratcliff

Sometimes it’s enough
to just sit and watch,
feel the spray shape
your squinting face
into a grin, 
then a smile,
that seeps, 
then pours
through 
pores 
via veins 
to bones
in search 
of its own.
 
It’s then 
you both 
remember 
and forget,
it’s just you,
the sea
and the sky.
Neither and none,
ever alone.
IMG_20140618_213540

pic – Felix Ratcliff

The Restless Main reads like a diary, what compelled your first entry?
 
I’ve always struggled with keeping a diary, I would usually only make it to Easter then chuck them away! My first entry was a way of publicly asking myself who I was and was the path I was following the right one. I’ve always enjoyed pulling different pieces of personal and cultural memory together, blogging seemed an excellent way to do that. I’d also stockpiled a lot of unpublished writing, poems prose etc and felt it was time I put it out there. Some are diaristic, some experimental. All are crafted to clarify ideas and to identify key themes and motifs in my thinking.

 

The first post of yours I read was from the beginning of your blog from Feb 2010 called Water’s Edge . Such a wonderful piece to set the tone and pace. They were bulkier yarns then, these days they are more streamlined, encapsulated…why?

 
Two main reasons. The first being that I dislike long reads on a screen and also spent most of my recent working life (I chucked my job last September) reading endless posts and emails. I also felt that what I am primarily interested in is distilling experiences and language into forms that are easy to read physically but are still multi-layered and have depth. Late last year I began posting each piece along with its accompanying image on Instagram as well as at The Restless Main. Both those audiences can access the writing easily. On a personal level, the confessional aspect of blogging can often negatively dominate. To counter this I decided to reduce the straight narrative approach to hopefully a more nuanced shorter form of writing. Posting content each day also makes preparing longer pieces more prohibitive!
“Your saltwater obsession” is the ocean the place where your ideas are formed?
 
The ocean is where ‘I’ disappear and become part of something larger that doesn’t care about me or even acknowledge my existence. A great place to lose one’s ego (unless you are surfing which can be an ego-mad activity!) It can be a reflective environment 
but also one where you can observe nature, people, culture etc. I’m happiest when I’m in or near water. Its energy, light, colour etc inspire me in new and different ways each time I engage with it.
You love music, you have many pieces about bands or artists – Patti Smith, Husker Du, Bowie to name a few…the importance of heroes and mentors those that connect and shape you threads your work
 
I’d be long gone without music! Some songs and artists, regardless of their genre can bowl you over with their power and passion. My tastes run from Classical through to Punk and most things in between. Artists like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop and Bowie are particular favourites though I’m wary of heroes and gods, even if I appear to worship!
Musicality in my writing is also very important to me. I don’t write lyrics, but hope people read out my work to themselves to pick up on the rhythm and flow I try and hide in them.
collage
Your photography seems to be speaking a lot for you these days. Nailing a photo. So much blue on your page it is breathtaking. Your skylines and photos is like looking out of my life’s window, no coincidence as we live in the same city, we smell the same smog, taste the southerly, waiting in the dark like background actors in The Day Of The Triffids’ for its arrival. Familiar to me, exotic to others, but still connecting on a personal level.
It’s interesting, most days I wake (waiting in the dark) with a phrase in my head or a picture in my mind and am lucky to be able to match them with something I have photographed either previously or on that day. Sometimes an image says everything. I then use it as a point of departure for additional thinking and writing. Other times the image and text have an obvious relationship. Hopefully my texts stand alone without the image. Images can always do that far more easily. Southerly changes are the best!

As you so eloquently put it, “a mass of days” is what I’m trying to make sense of in my own way via the blog. Poetry is both a private and a public language. I’d love to publish a traditional book and eBook down the track but I love the fact that everyday across the globe, people are reading and responding to my work on a daily basis, people that might otherwise not read much (or any) poetry as well as those that actively seek it out. If an idea is not shared, it doesn’t exist in a social sense. Technology can easily alienate and isolate us from our thoughts and those of others, I’d like to think it can also enrich them.
You can connect with Felix via

 

 

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