Tag Archives: ego

Starts with Soup and ends with Poetry

I’m writing this in the last hour of 1st December, and will post it minutes after midnight to make sure i get something written for what is currently “tomorrow”.

Soup first. I was wrong about the quantity. We had it for lunch then used the remains in the vegetable stew and dumplings we had for tea. I had mine with lashings of brown sauce, so it wasn’t as healthy as it could have been.

The green soup turned out brown, which turned to an off-putting greenish khaki once I applied the blender. I’m not sure which I prefer. It has a distinct salty taste, turning to broccoli. I’m not sure why as I only used one stock cube and no other seasoning. Apart from that, it’s OK. The colour, I think, can be traced back to me softening the onions until they turned brown – heat too high and concentration not switched on. It should be good for three days, and it might take me two of those days to work up the enthusiasm to eat it. I have seen that6 colour before and it is not usually associated with pleasant things.

Writing next. I had two poems accepted by Obsessed with Pipework. It’s a mixed blessing. I’m glad to have the poems accepted but it means that I now have nothing out with editors. This is a situation I feel I should remedy but it’s also a weight off my shoulders.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly

Over the last couple of years I have allowed my writing to reflect the editors I send it to, rather than what I want to write. That’s a good thing to do if you want to make a living as a freelance writer but I’ve left it a bit late for that and I really write for pleasure and relaxation.  I have proved to myself that I can write to an acceptable standard and I have proved that I can bounce back from rejection.

If I now change down a gear, it’s because I want to, not because I’m making excuses. Yes, at the back of my mind I do have an ambition to see my name on the spine of a poetry collection (or maybe more than one) but that is not as important as the pleasure I get from writing.

It’s an ego thing. Is my poetry really that good that it justifies cutting down a tree? Probably not. (I added the “probably” to give me an escape route if I ever succumb and do publish one). I don’t, to be honest, work hard enough to be able to produce a book and admire people who do.

This is very much in the area of “Writer Biographies” and blogs. A lot of them list the author’s educational achievements from forty years ago, their glittering careers and a long list of publications. It’s very dull and it isn’t really a picture of who they are (unless they really are  a pompous dullard).  I, as you know, am not overly burdened by education, achievement or success so  I couldn’t compete with them if I wanted to, but I promise you that if I could compete with them, I wouldn’t. What I have been gives some insight into what I am today, but what I am really concerned with is what I will be tomorrow. Same with my writing. Everything I have published is faulty and my ambition is to publish something tomorrow that is less faulty.

Lake District – a better photographer would have noted which bit . . .

The photos are a pork pie, a hoverfly on a poppy and a load of hills next to a lake. That’s just to remind myself that lots of things are (a) more important than poetry and (b) will still be around long after I have gone.

What Can I Write About Today?

I have a  number of thoughts in the pipeline but they still need a bit of work.

However, Derrick and Tootlepedal have both fallen into my trap and asked for more details of what I turned up when I searched myself on Google. They both come up with their blogs when you Google them. I don’t, because I started the blog for the Quercus Community group and, eventually, I became Quercus.

I can now provide details without looking like a blatant self-publicist or an egomaniac.

My real name is Simon Wilson, but both names are so common that if you Google me I don’t get a look in. There are just so many notable people with my name that I’m frozen out, which is slightly annoying as I’ve had for longer than  most of them.

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Trees at day’s end

Anyway, here are the links to me.

Here, here, here, here and here. And here. There were more than I thought.

There’s also a link to one of my blog posts, but though I’ve talked of haibun on the blog several times, and even published a couple, Google doesn’t seem to pick them up. The blog post has a link to a haiku that wasn’t picked up by Google.

There is also a book review  for a book of haibun and other short poems by Xenia Tran, better known on WordPress as Whippet Wisdom. It’s not much of a review but if Goggle can be bothered to note it, it would be rude not to share the link.

According to the blog, I had nine acceptances, but could only find six by using Google. I can’t look them up by name because I’ve forgotten what they were. Somewhere I have a display book with them all in, but I haven’t seen that for a while now I come to think about it.

It’s not an ego thing – I don’t feel the need to print it all out and make a book of it. I just do it because when  you get a rejection it’s easy to take the book off the shelf and remind yourself that you have been a success and will be again. Well, it’s easy to take the book off the shelf if you can remember which shelf.

One rejection, or even several in a row, only means you’re in a temporary dip.

Form, as any coach will tell you, is temporary, but class will last for ever.

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A Figure in the Fog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pride Coming Before a Fall

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

Only yesterday we were discussing driving in the shop, with particular reference to the idiocy of other drivers. I stayed quiet on the subject. This was partly because I have done a lot of driving and done it safely, and am therefore quietly confident (possibly even smug) about my abilities. It was also because over the last year or two it has begun to occur to me that I’m not quite as good as I used to be. I’m less alert, not quite as quick-thinking and have more trouble looking over my shoulder than I used to. It’s a troubling thought as it involves admitting I’m getting old.

This was driven home forcibly at lunchtime.

However, before telling you about that, I will briefly describe our activities of the morning.

First we looked at the snow that had fallen overnight. It wasn’t particularly impressive, but it was a complete covering. It was also much fluffier than usual, and brushed off the car easily. I’m told that this is because it’s coming across land, where our normal snow is soggy from a journey across the sea.

Then we went for a late breakfast at Harvester in Wilford. I had a smaller breakfast than usual. I probably isn’t such good value for money as the bigger one but I left feeling I could have fitted a few more morsels in. This is how it should be. Ramming the last few forkfuls home like I’m loading a cannon is uncomfortable, and probably not helping my diet.  Anyway, having fitted in fruit, yogurt, an extensive Full English and several crumpets, I really didn’t need any more.

Next stop was the MENCAP garden. It’s closed for the week as it’s likely to be too cold to work, particularly as it has no electricity and little shelter until the polytunnel is re-built. There is a container, but Julia has increased membership of the group as part of her job and they can no longer fit in it comfortably.

While we were there we collected some paint and woodstain, filled the bird feeders and noted that something in the garden likes kale. The obvious culprits are pigeons. Even though kale is generally considered safe from pigeons we can’t think of anything else likely to have done the damage – it certainly isn’t caterpillar weather.

Kale, Wilford

Wrecked Kale at Wilford

Finally the long-suffering taxi-driver was allowed to listen to the radio in the car park outside Hobbycraft as his wife made a dent in their extensive stock.

This proved to be the highpoint of the day.

On the way home I turned onto a steep road. It’s called Mapperley Rise at one end and Winchester Street at the other. In between it is quite steep. However, it’s a reasonably busy road and it’s used by buses, so road, I assumed there would be no problem using it.

How wrong I was.

About half-way down one of the cars in front of us started fish-tailing and skidding wildly. It didn’t seem to do anything, the slide just started. Fortunately it regained control after about twenty yards.

The same thing happened to the one in front of us.

Me next.

I was very careful. I was gentle on the controls. And I didn’t slide where the other two had slid.

However, I did seem to be going a bit too fast.

I tried a bit of cadence braking.

It didn’t work.

As the rear end of the Peugeot in front loomed larger I had three choices.

Choice One – overtake. which might involve the front end of an oncoming car. Did I mention we were on a bend and I couldn’t see what was coming?

Option Two – hit the Peugeot. My experience of French cars is that they are quite soft.

Option Three – hit the kerb to slow down or mount the pavement and squeeze into the narrow space available between the Peugeot and the somewhat menacing wall that runs  along the side of the footpath at that point.

(Please note that these “options” were more like swift thoughts accompanied by a touch of panic. I’ve dressed them up in hindsight to make myself look more competent than I actually was.)

I completely failed to find the kerb and was most of the way past the Peugeot on the footpath when the tyres started to grip.  At that point it occurred to me that I hadn’t thought of pedestrians. Fortunately there were none.

Looking back, I think that there was a layer of melting water running down the hill on top of ice, and nothing short of snow chains was going to prevent us slipping. When the cars in front skidded they scrubbed speed off by going sideways and hitting the kerb. My careful approach prevented me skidding, and meant I was going too fast when I finally lost control.

I’d have been better off skidding in the first place.

I still have a few errands to do, but they can wait until the weather improves. Until then I’m going to sit at home and consider the benefits of humility.

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Julia struggling

The final picture shows Julia struggling with the feeders. I could have helped, but then I wouldn’t have been able to take the photo.

Photos added later.