Tag Archives: patience

Talent, Resilence & Patience

There are three things you need for success in life, whether you are talking about writing (as I do) or anything else.

(By the way, I’m about to invent a new form of poem, so stay alert till the end.)

Despite the title, talent isn’t one of them. Research has shown that if you divide a group of children into two lots and praise one for their talent and the other for their hard work the results of one group will gradually decline and the other will increase.

The problem with praising someone for their talent is that they begin to believe that their talent will run out, where the other group starts to believe that the harder they work, the better they will become. This seems to be borne out by the actual results.

It is all laid out in a book called Bounce by Matthew Syed. Reading the review, as I did whilst looking for a link, it looks like there’s a lot more in there too – I really should read it again.

Talent can, to be honest, be replaced by practice and work rate. As long as you have a basic grasp of what makes a good bit of work in your field, you can work on improving the quality of your work. If you write a lot and submit enough pieces of work, success will follow. Once you have some success, more will follow. It’s like Roger Bannister and the four minute mile – once he broke the four minute barrier others followed. Barriers are mainly psychological, and once broken can be broken again and again.

Resilience, I have covered several times. Rejection is merely  the opinion of an editor at a certain point in time, and does not constitute a damning judgement on you or your work. If several editors share the same view it still isn’t that bad, just take it as a hint that you need to alter a few things.

As an aside – write haibun. I have always felt fortunate that a number of editors have taken the time to give me pointers about my haibun, which isn’t something that happens in a lot of fields. It seems to be a field where we are blessed with a group of fine editors. When I was a more traditional poet I rarely met with helpful comments – it was a case of yes or no, mostly no, and no clue as to what needed altering.

Stone on the Floor

I thought I’d put the poetic rocks half way down as it isn’t really a poetry post.

Finally, patience. No editor of a small poetry publication is in it hoping for fame and fortune. They are often overworked, under appreciated and blamed for the varied failings of authors. Some people even write sarcastic haibun about them. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

If you are a guest editor, as many are, the under-appreciation must be even greater.

However, it doesn’t stop me getting twitchy when they take a long time over their answer. I’m waiting for an answer from a magazine that says it may take 6-8 weeks to answer during busy periods. IT’s had the submission for 54 days now, which is just two days short of eight weeks, and I’m becoming twitchy. Another, with a target of two weeks, has had my submission for sixteen days. Two weeks is an excellent response time, so I’m not complaining, but I’d love an answer.

You just have to sit back and wait. It’s difficult not to be impatient, but just think, if it was you, would you appreciate impatience. I think not.I keep telling myself we are lucky to have people to do these jobs for us. If you left me in charge of a magazine it would soon degenerate into confusion and Limericks.

There was an old poet called Quercus,
whose efforts, often, would irk us.
He loved to declaim,
and would often exclaim
that he’d much rather work in a circus.

And that is my new form of poetry. You have prose and haiku, which are haibun, and prose and tanka, which are called tanka prose. Well this – prose followed by a Limerick, is a Limmerbun.  I add the double m to make sure it is pronounced correctly. Unlike the other two, a Limmerbun can be utter nonsense.

My Orange Parker Pen

I’m still hoping for some freebies from Parker. They are obviously not reading this blog.

Edited next day to tidy up a typo, remove a repetition and tinker with the Limerick.

A Week is a Long Time on WordPress

And a week is even longer when you can’t get on WordPress…

I had been having intermittent trouble looking at comments for a while, but thought it would probably correct itself. Then, about a week ago, I switched on and couldn’t connect with the site. I tried the other computer, with the same result.

I left it a day because both computers are a bit old, and tried it again, having given them time to rest and regather their strength, or whatever computers do. No connection.

It took a while to find a way of getting help from WP, because I’ve just been used to switching on, clicking a few buttons and getting connected. I couldn’t get onto WP to ask for help and I couldn’t remember addresses or passwords or anything.

Eventually I managed to find help and WP proved very helpful. I was able to provide proof that I owned the site, despite knowing very little about it (tip here – if you don’t remember passwords and things, at least keep some of the reciepts/payment details as proof).

I secured a new password, signed in and…brick wall. I hit the same blank page.

I left it a while and tried again next day. This time I couldn’t even get onto WP, let alone the blank page which originally troubled me. I had been going to contact a few people via Comments and tell them I was temporarily, and involuntarily, off WP but had left it too late – I was completely shut out.

Again I left it. Tried and failed and, after spending several days of rising panic at being deprived of my daily fix of writing about myself (how vain I am, it seems), I decided to register a new account tonight.

As the log-in screen came up, I gave it one last try and connected. I don’t know how, or why, and if anyone explains it I probably still won’t understand.

So I’m back and ready to start writing again. The first thing I am going to work on is a note about keeping proper records so you don’t find yourself unable to log in.

Horses, stable doors, bolted…

Out for a Curry

We went for a curry tonight – three shop staff and five customers celebrating a birthday. For reasons of internet security I won’t tell you who was having a birthday, which birthday it was or what the exact date is. I can, however, tell you that it wasn’t mine.

I had a nice mild curry, drank tonic water and only spilt down my shirt once. My days of raucous behaviour and painfully hot curries are over. As my 60th birthday chugs over the horizon I have finally discovered the benefits of middle age.

Life is good/

The only fly in the ointment was that I was late due to a heavily congested ring road, but as the people in the crash were clearly having a worse day than me I listened to the radio and tried patience.

I’m not sure I like patience so I may revert to shouting next time it happens.

That’s all for now.

The morning after

We had a good night in the kitchen, though we did need to enlist the help of an electric fan. I had the fan, the participants had plastic aprons and a wood-fired oven – that really tested their capacity to stay cool under pressure.

In a way it was fortunate that we’d decided to light the fire by committee. I asked the farmer if we could have it lit and he passed the message to Tim. The farmer thought 4 pm was soon enough to light it and Tim was a bit on the cheese-paring side with the wood. All in all, we didn’t end up with the roaring furnace that I would have done, but I suppose we could say they were being careful with the Earth’s resources.

You could also say they were being tight, but as I use TESCO’s cheapest flour and cheapest tomato sauce I’m not one to talk. I’m not known as the Prince of Parsimony for nothing. (OK, I admit I just made that up).



You test the temperature of a pizza oven by bravely thrusting your arm into it. If the hair on your arm instantly burns off, the temperature is right. Of course, you can only do that around twice a month. Ideally I would have had a variety of dough and casseroles available to cook as it went down in temperature.

If it doesn’t burn off you aren’t up to temperature. I still have two hairy arms. However, it’s a challenge rather than a disaster so you just have to be patient.



Fortunately everybody was patient and good-natured, but it did take over an hour to cook all the pizzas. It isn’t the fastest process in the world, even using baking paper, but it should have been quicker than that. If we’d used an electric oven the convenience of the eating experience would probably have been improved, even if we may not have laughed so much. We ended up using the electric ovens for the last few anyway. Funny how we’re retro about food, with wood-fired ovens and old methods, but I don’t see anyone sitting on the side of the river bashing their washing with stones.

Just a thought…