Category Archives: writing

The New Editor

I just clicked to use the new editor. In trying to get back to the old one I found that they are going to force me to use the new editor from 1st June whether I want to or not. In addition to that I have had to read a load of condescending drivel about the  ease and power of the new system. This comes complete with “blocks”, which I don’t understand and have never needed, but seems to come without the buttons that will allow me to add photos and links.

I should have known something was going on because I’d been suffering minor glitches for a week or two and it’s usually a sign that some jiggery-pokery is in progress.

It took me 45 minutes, and many false starts, to get back to the classic editor and despite looking, I am still none the wiser about how to post photos or add links using the new editor. I would have thought that a new and improved editor would have made this easier, not harder. I also can’t find the word count on the new one.

As usual, the words new and improved are used as if they are interchangeable when in fact new is not the same thing as improved at all.

All in all, if we have to have a new editor, why can’t we have one with a decent set of instructions sent to us before the thing is rolled out. I know these things happen, because that’s what happens with websites – people keep tinkering with them and other people keep telling you about the new and improved version and how “people” have been asking for changes and giving positive feedback. It’s always “people” rather than actual names.

To be honest, I come on here to practice writing, to put my thoughts and frustrations out of my head, to look into the loves of other people and to have a general chat. I don’t need anything glitzy and high tech.

What I really need is the digital equivalent of a box of old-fashioned printer paper (remember the stuff with circular holes down the sides and perforations at the end of every sheet?) that I can write on continuously and add links and photos.

That is pretty much what I had until a few hours ago and I was happy. Now I can’t add links and photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wood – impersonating a strange animal…

 

The Secret Life of a Blogger

I’ve just been looking down the list off drafts for the last week. They are also known as false starts, ideas and notes and are there for various reasons.

Last night’s effort stalled after 200 words on the grounds that it was depressing. I can’t see much in it worth salvaging and when I have a clear-out it will probably go. It falls in the gap between being entertaining and cathartic, and that’s a very dull and self-indulgent gap.

The one before that has a copy of Agatha Christie’s Great War VAD record Card, and I have not yet written anything to go with it. I may or may not develop that. Again, it’s just going to be a re-hash of available facts and I’m not sure I can add anything useful to the amount that has been written about her.

The third is my drfat for the 12th May Mass Observation Diary. I’m not sure whether it would serve any purpose if I sent it in.

Fourth is a five line false start on dead badgers. It probably needs a recipe to get it going again. That was originally going to be about blood tests but it was overtaken by the phone call requiring a repeat test. When I returned I started the post again.

Fifth is the start of the original 1926 post. I started that the night before my 1926th post, which ended up being about blood tests. It was not as good as the opening I eventually used. This is saying something, as the opening I used will hardly go down in history with “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

For more good opening lines read here. I must try harder. It’s slightly depressing that a search for ‘best opening lines’ resulted in six sites offering conversational openers for Tinder. They aren’t all great lines, though I did like – “Do you have an ugly boyfriend? No? Want one?”

I’m going to try that on Julia.

The next two are about regimental brooches. Whether they are attempts to bore my readers or drafts for articles, I’m not quite sure, but I have plenty of photographs and I may well put something together to teach you about regimental brooches and the depths of a collector’s soul.

Finally we reach back to Scone Chronicles 38. It was written just before lockdown and I lost the photos. It features scones and Sir Bradley Piggins.

This isn’t quite an accurate account, as I cleared out a few weeks ago and these are just the eight most recent. The real stinkers get binned regularly.

Do you have a similar system, or are all your starts true sparkling jewels of blogging excellence? Or do you clear out more often? I still have some from years ago, where I’m hoping to use a title or a well-turned phrase at some point in the future. I am, in psychological terms, a hoarding optimist.

Finally, the pictures are from the  chickpea and peanut butter curry we had from the boxes last night. It was the one I’d looked forward to most eagerly, and the biggest disappointment, as it was tasty but not spicy. I liked the meatballs and the pork steaks better. However, we will be incorporating it into our menu rotation as a variation on the veggie curries we already make. The two photos show natural light and flash versions of the same meal. The one with flash (seen here) is much more welcoming.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thai red curry – chickpeas and peanut butter

I could have done without the roasted broccoli, which seems to have been a feature of the three meals (it’s covered in sauce in this picture) and there was enough lime with the grated zest on the rice, without using the wedges provided.

Of course, as soon as I say that, WP decides to stop showing me my photographs…

Wednesday – Tackling the Backlog

We went to Bakewell today. We went to Bakewell last Wednesday too. We may not be exciting but we are consistent.

However, this highlights a problem – I still have a lot of photos from last week. I also have a food review from last week, and I already have another one from this week.

This is a small backlog, but one which, in normal circumstances I would normally ignore. Things would be left and I would move on. I don’t delude myself, life goes on even in the absence of my views on traffic, tourists and charity shops, and nobody will feel a sense of loss if I don’t get round to writing about my hot pork sandwich. As for the book reviews I was planning – I wrote a book review in January 2019 and another in December. I’m guessing that most people don’t really visit the blog for my book reviews.

However, after a good night’s sleep, a lovely day in Derbyshire and a Valentine’s Day Gift that went right (and took a load off my mind) I am feeling inspired to work.

The lack of poetry writing in my life is also a factor. If I write prose I can pretend I am too busy when, in truth, I’m lazy, unimaginative and uninspired. Being busy prevents me facing up to that. I can write “lazy, unimaginative and uninspired” and still feel good because I’m writing about eating cake and looking at ducks.

Dog owners were a notable feature of the day. I think dogs are lower down the evolutionary scale than cats, I don’t like them in cafes and I tend to think that anything bigger than a terrier should be banned from living in town. However, I have to say that the dogs today were charming, full of character and attended by a great bunch of owners, who all seemed sensible, cheerful and enthusiastic about dogs. It was good to see, and really cheered the day up, to be honest, Cats tend to be a bit aloof, and I’ve never seen one look happy on a lead.

This post features ducks, people and a few other things from our visit to Bakewell last Wednesday. It misses out the sandwich, which will be the next post. I will then move on to this week’s visit, and the cake, but that will probably be instead of writing about Thursday or Friday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the price of scrap goes up I’d cut the locks off and cash them in – I am not a great romantic

I will write about them while the weekend of storms rages around my head.

An that is how the next backlog will develop. Well, it’s one way. They also develop because I sit in the living room with Julia, chat about life, watch TV, snooze and use the netbook. It does well for an ageing, low-powered evolutionary dead-end, but it can be slow and tedious when loading photos. Hmm, ageing, low-powered evolutionary dead-end – sounds a bit like me.

I’m writing this on the computer in the cold dining room. It’s less comfortable but a lot quicker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The river Wye at Bakewell

Day 100!

Finally – day 100 in the posting challenge!

(Well, really day 99 out of 100, but as I’ve averaged over a post a day I’m allowing myself to claim it as completed.)

I’m treating it in a suitably low-key sort of way and celebrated by having a tooth extracted. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but it could have been worse. Next time I have a celebration I may stick with the traditional cake-based version.

They gave me a form to fill in afterwards, asking how likely I was to recommend them to a family member. It’s difficult to give a useful answer to that, as I’m not likely to recommend that any member of my family spends half an hour in the dentist’s chair with pliers and power tools in their mouth.

So, what have I learned from my 100 days of posting?

Tricky…

I’ve learned that it’s possible to run out of things to say, and that photos of flowers and cute animals are an acceptable substitute. I’ve also learned that you can grow to hate blogging at times, and that setting a target makes you more likely to do things.

However, I knew that.

I suppose the main thing I’ve learned is that it is possible to set myself a long-term writing target and stick to it. That’s not always been the case in the past.

I also need to list subjects for posts and write some in advance.

That, I think, is about it.

Now, what should I do tomorrow?

Haiku Challenge – Day 66

I’m two thirds of the way through the challenge and it wouldn’t bother me if I never saw a haiku again.

I’m still plodding on, because I don’t want to give up on it, but it’s becoming a chore.

On the other hand, when I had to write thirty last night to catch up on the last few days I managed it in an hour, so my fluency has definitely improved. This is a good thing, despite the accompanying negativity.

And that’s my post for the day. I’m two thirds of the way through the challenge and it wouldn’t bother me if I never wrote another report on the challenge again.

 

 

 

A Good Start to the Week

Just thought I’d mention that if you happened to be browsing Haibun Today there are a couple of haibun in there under my name (Wilson, that is, not Quercus).

I was just looking through links, deciding which editor to inflict my next group of submissions on, when I remembered that they should be out. They are, and I had a pleasant moment seeing my name in print. In fact, there have been intermittent feelings of happiness all day, with a touch of smugness now and again.

It’s a mixed feeling. I’m happy to see them published, but I’m also slightly embarrassed because there are far better ones published in the same edition and am now thinking that I really should do better.

It’s similar to the problem I’m having with my next round of submissions. When I had nothing published I had nothing to lose. Now that I have had a couple of acceptances I have a standard to compare myself to, and work that would at one time have been sent out, is now sitting in a file because I’m now not sure it’s good enough.

I suppose this is fear, and fear is why we don’t do things. It’s good in some ways, because I’ve avoided lions, poisonous snakes and bungee jumping, which are all potentially fatal. However, the fear of foreign travel, salad and failure may well have held me back from a more interesting life. I do try to see failure as a step on the way to success, but it can be hard.

I am now going to look at my name in print again. Despite my misgivings there are worse things to do.

The photos have nothing to do with the subject of the post, but everyone loves a baby seal, apart from fishermen and furriers, so I thought I’d use it again. The seagulls are just there because I decided I wanted a floating bird of the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-headed Gulls in winter plumage

 

 

 

A Haibun about Editors

Editors

In my mind’s eye I see them sitting in their turrets, pale creatures with staring eyes, their unkempt hair laced with cobwebs.

Muttering, they read my submissions and slash at them with their editing quills, using ink mixed from the blood of kittens and the bitter tears of disappointed authors.

The rejection stings, but it does no lasting harm. Ten minutes later the urge to write a witty but insulting riposte has gone and the feeling of worthless failure has faded. In my mind’s eye I now see someone much more respectable and less likely to be cruel to kittens.

We need editors and as I mellow I begin to feel grateful for their efforts in running magazines. 

I start work on another submission, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that if I was to send a gift-wrapped unicorn it would turn into a donkey under the scrutiny of editors.

 

editor’s email

opened with hope

read with dismay

 

I don’t generally publish my own poetry and I will, later, write about my thoughts on self-publication, but I thought I’d give it a shot this time as this one is unlikely to be accepted. I like haibun – they are like writing a normal blog post and adding three short lines of poetry. You can add more, but I didn’t want to spoil you.

(Sorry about the double spacing in the haiku – I don’t seem to be able to get rid of it. Come to think of it, it’s actually a senryu not a haiku. Ah well…)