Tag Archives: positive thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking?

From January to August this year I made 22 submissions. In September (by the time I have finished two more which are nearly ready to go)  I will have made 11 submissions.

Whether it’s because of recovery from Long Covid, a recovery from self-doubt or because I read The Power of Positive Thinking, I don’t know. But it’s been a productive month.

So far I have had news of one short-listing and three acceptances, so it’s working out OK. It will be two or three weeks before I get much news, as editors normally wait until the end of the submission period before making their decisions. I know that the percentage of acceptances may be a little down, as I’m now submitting to new journals, or ones where I’ve been unsuccessful before, but it’s looking good.

Of course, a lot of things had to fall into place for this to happen, and it may not happen again for a few months. One was that I had to be producing. Two is that I had to have a month with plenty of potential. According to my list, it will December before I get such a month again, so I will have to spend the next couple of months building up a body of work. I’m hoping to avoid a situation like I had this month where I open up work that is “ready” to go and find that it hasn’t been completed. I think I mentioned that in an earlier post. My apologies for repeating myself.

So, to recap. I have just spent most of a post waffling on about writing again, which is often quite dull. On the other hand, my life is dull and this blog represents my life, so you knew what to expect when you started reading.

However, I have also provided and example of how positive thinking made a big difference  to my productivity. This is a lesson that can be applied to any area of life. You may even apply it to doing something useful or profitable. Both these aspects of positive thinking have escaped me but, looking on the bright side, writing keeps me happy and out of Julia’s way (the recipe for a long and happy marriage).

I now feel less dull and more like a public benefactor. See – I said it made me feel happy.

Julia picked the last of the tomatoes today. They have been small but very tasty.

Expect another post later. I am feeling full of words.

Positive Thinking and Questions of Morality

We had a discussion on selling yesterday. I say that we should try to maximise our profits by offering everything for sale, even the stuff that appears to be a load of junk.

The conversation centred round a Lord Nelson medallion that had been cast from an original (but worn) medallion by a Cornish souvenir shop. It was on a base metal chain and continued in a 1970s plastic box. I suspect a child had bought it for a parent. I bought similar things for my parents when I was younger, and it is a credit to their acting skills that they always appeared grateful.

I ignored the negativity and put it on eBay where another sold a couple of months ago for £10. I put ours on a £9.50 just to be sure. Hours later, while the shop was shut, a customer in the Home Counties spotted it and bought it. Positive thinking strikes again!


It is, of course, tempting to be smug, but there are plenty of things I have put on that are still there after several years. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t.

My next challenge is some sets of crown-sixed coins we have. They commemorate the Royal Visit of HRH Prince Andrew to St Helena and Ascension in 1983, in the days he was still known for being a war hero and the Queen’s favourite son rather than a modern day Lord Rochester. (I refer, of course, to the 2nd Lord, the war hero and notorious libertine who perished from the French Pox, rather than the 1st Lord, war hero and companion of Charles II in his escape after Worcester.) Having said that, it must be added that the 2nd Lord Rochester, despite his moral shortcomings, would have been an interesting companion for a night on the town and I am sure that in modern times he would not be a stranger to Pizza Express.

The coins are tricky – apart from the association with Prince Andrew, they are crown size but marked “50 Pence”. Crown collectors don’t like 50ps and 50p collectors want them to be heptagonal. We will have to see how this challenge goes. There are several sets on eBay and a number have sold. We  found five sets hanging about in the shop so we may as well try.

Come to think of it, Nelson put it about a bit, so none of our historical heroes are shining beacons of virtue.

Cliffs at Hunstanton – all photos are random as i have nothing suitable

A Tale, Told by an Idiot

Do you remember a few days ago when I said ” from today I am going to set targets and become a writing machine”. Well I did. I set up my poem factory and set to work. I also found a few places to make more submissions and decided to target haiku. As a result, I had an acceptance today.

It’s part of the power of positive thinking. I was going to get rid of some books last week. They are mainly old sales and marketing books passed on by my Dad, but with some motivational books too.. Many of them are actually still relevant as good sales technique and positive thinking never goes out of fashion. There’s no mystique about it despite all the stuff that’s written. To make sales you ask the decision-maker for the order. To achieve success through positive thinking you do something, and you do it now.

That’s what I did – I wrote poems, I showed them to an editor and one was selected.

No jargon, no mystique, no spirituality, despite the reams of rubbish written on the subject. Just plain common sense.

The poem factory is a similar no nonsense set-up. It is anathema to all the proper, spiritual poets out there. They believe (and this is particularly true with haiku) that you should experience “a moment” and compose the poem there and then. Good on them. I’ve done it sometimes, but it’s not common.

Poems which are stitched together from memory or manufactured from two moments or, heaven forbid, simply made up, are known. scornfully. as desk-ku. It’s becoming slightly more common to admit to them now, but there’s still some snobbery on the subject. Even the old masters did them, but the myth of the haiku moment persists.

Anyway, I write a list of ideas or prompts, or open up  file of old photos, or even open a book of poetry and mine it for ideas. As T S Eliot said  “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” I am, I feel, perfectly capable of taking an idea from a poem without copying the idea or the wording of the poem.

This is one I took from life, rather than nature.

I have dustier piles – trust me on this

a pile of books
the dust settles on my
good intentions

(First Published in Failed Haiku – forgot the date.)

This one is from nature, and done in the moment, but it doesn’t really convey the misty morning and the salty wind as we walked and watched seals.

Sea Buckthorn. I promise you there were goldfinches too, but I couldn’t get a good shot.

calling from the sea buckthorn
bright berries

(First Published in Presence 71)

This one was completely made up, but all the bits were true. Robins sing, blackthorn blooms early in the year and at the time, during Covid, we were forced to queue outside shops. I wrote it after queuing for a shop. I needed some props so I added the bird, the song and the blackthorn. Does it make me a bad man?

a robin
sings from the blackthorn
we queue for the shop

(First published Wales Haiku Journal Spring 2021) 

Robin - singing

Robin – singing. OK, it’s in holly, but give me a break.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

(Macbeth, William Shakespeare).

I may start stealing from Shakespeare next. Let’s face it, he stole all the time.

The Brown Sauce Solution

Sorry if the header photo startled you, but I’m struggling for something suitable and thought I’d carry on the pink theme. I know it will be a controversial choice, particularly with Julia, but what is life without a little controversy to spice it up?

It’s the early hours of the morning, Storm Jorge is howling outside, though there is, as yet, no rain, and the internet is full of dire predictions of a “weather bomb”. This is good (in a way), as it means people have stopped talking about coronavirus. I suppose when you are faced with floods and gales the less immediate stuff, like the possibility of picking up an exotic illness, becomes even less important.

Fortunately, being on top of a hill, flooding is unlikely, though I am always a little wary of the wind. Being on top of a hill may be great as a preventative against flooding, but it does tend to be a bit breezy.

I keep thinking of that mystery researcher who will be using my blog in 100 years to do a PhD on Stupidity in the Early 21st Century. Or however an academic would dress it up.

The monarchy is crumbling. We have withdrawn from meaningful politics. Coronavirus is going to kill us all. Boris Johnson has started breeding again. And the weather is getting steadily worse.

But, they will say, despite this the subject seemed more upset at having to eat a bacon sandwich without brown sauce (a popular working class condiment of the time) than he was about the breakdown of society, world recession and global warming. And, dear reader, my future academic researcher would be correct.

You see, I can correct my bacon sandwich problem. I am not able to mend the Royal Family, reboot British politics, cure coronavirus, castrate Boris Johnson or put an end to the excess wind (see previous comment about politics). But I can go to the shop and buy a bottle of brown sauce.

I have decided that as from today I’m going to worry as little as possible and that when I do worry I’m going to worry only about the things I can change.

Global warming – recycle more, use less plastic, eat less meat.

Fossil Fuels – drive less, save up for an electric car.

Bacon Sandwich – buy some sauce.

Politics, the Royal Family and Boris Johnson’s wedding tackle are all problems for someone else.



New Year, new struggle…

It’s a New Year, and I’m having a struggle with finding a suitable title. So far, then, there is little difference between 2016 and 2017.

You can tell the holiday is over because we took the boys back today, one to Victorian splendour in Leeds (where he has a flat in a listed building) and the other to student squalor in Sheffield. Julia is currently sitting and looking lost – she says it’s too quiet.

That’s not actually our normal measure of the ending of the holidays. The official start of our Christmas is the day we buy the cheese footballs, and the official end is when we finish them. We finished the last few tonight, on our return from Leeds.

I’m not really sure how we came to develop this “tradition” – Julia asked me to get them for our first christmas together and it grew from there. Does anyone else have family Christmas traditions? We can’t be the only ones.

The start of a new year is always a tempting time for resolutions but I have a poor record with resolutions so all I’m saying this year is that I’m going to take a positive attitude to things.

I was going to try posting every day but I’m already an hour and a quarter late for that.

As for the weight loss/health resolution – see my previous comments on cheese footballs.

The beauty of looking on the bright side is that I enjoyed the cheese footballs.


A Man Without a Smiling Face Must Never Write a Blog

Or, as the Chinese proverb says: A Man Without a Smiling Face Must Never Open a Shop. I’m dubious about many of these so-called Chinese proverbs, but the content is accurate, even if the attribution is not.

I’ve been unloading the stress of the day by complaining about roadworks, emails and various other things when I thought I’d look up the ten worst days in history. Compared to them I’m doing well. I have not been killed, tortured or rendered extinct today. Nor am I hungry, thirsty or in fear of my life.

In fact I’ve had a more than adequate day. It would have been better for the absence of roadworks, emails and the variety of other things that happened, but we did make jam and  biscuits, we did start to get the Technicolour Dreamcoat song right and we did have a visit from a representative of the Woodland Trust, who thanked us for our efforts in tree recording, gave us gifts and delivered copies of the latest report. It’s nice to be appreciated by someone. Sound people, the Woodland Trust, and I’m not just saying that because I’ll be needing a job in a month’s time.


Our Woodland Trust Reports

Quite apart from the work they do with the farm, they have supported Quercus in various ways over the years and always treated the group with respect. Working with them is one of the main things we are going to miss when we leave because it’s a proper project with the possibility of important results. It’s a bit more serious than looking after a few hens or making biscuits, though I do like chickens and biscuits. Mainly biscuits, if I’m honest.




Anyway, back to smiling – it makes everything seem better. I could have made myself quite miserable by moaning about my day, but instead I’ve made myself happy. (Though that may be because of the biscuits).




Singing the Blues

Yesterday, I had a quick walk round with the camera around 4pm. It was overcast, but reasonably warm and the wind had dropped. It wasn’t ideal but having added a few species to the list in recent weeks I’m always happy to have a look round. It would be nice, I thought, to add some decent shots of a Common Blue, or to see the Brimstone come back and rest for a while.

That’s the basis of positive thinking. Because it makes you believe that doing things brings a greater chance of success you do things. And because you do things you get greater success. It’s not the thoughts that work the miracle, it’s the activity.

I’m not knocking it, just pointing out to everyone who exhorts me to cheer up and be positive that you can be negative and still successful as long as you keep active. I may write a book about my philosophy “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success without Smiling” (Apologies to Frank Bettger).

Anyway, it paid off, though not in the way I anticipated. I didn’t get a better shot of a Brimstone and I didn’t get a better shot of a Common Blue. What I got was a mediocre shot of a Holly Blue. I thought I may have seen one by the ivy in the hedge on the day I saw the Common Blue, but I hadn’t been sure. However, it’s definitely a Holly Blue and the proof is now shown below and on the Butterflies and Moths page.

I used to see a lot of them when I was a gardener, particularly in the old-fashioned overgrown gardens attached to Victorian houses, so when I saw the flash of blue today I recognised it as being slightly different from the Common Blue and was pleased to be able to prove myself correct. I’m starting to like the butterfly garden!