During the day I think of interesting things to talk about. During the evening, as I sit and watch TV, all my enthusiasm and knowledge seems to leak away. It happened tonight. I watched a programme about antiques, another which featured a fish & chip competition, one about auctions, one about gold-mining in Australia (it was cold and snowy in Victoria, which looked more like Canada), and a news quiz.
Next thing I knew, it was 1.30am and I had just woken up in my chair. I now have a headache and no desire to sleep. This is an unwanted state of affairs.
And I have clean forgotten what I intended to write.
Tomorrow I will blog as soon as I get home and try to make it more interesting.
We had a note from the man who was faced with a £1.50 penalty from the Post Office. The letter is properly stamped, with £3.05 of stamps. We know it is in the correct weight range, because we have other similar items and have check weighed them. It’s a mystery.
I have now dead-headed 57 Spanish poppy blooms and two Welsh poppies. This impressive, considering they are neglected ands growing from cracks between paving slabs.
I counted my poetry submissions last night. I have had about 80 poems published ( have mislaid an old list so am relying on memory for a few of these). It was just idle curiosity, bit now I know, I keep thinking about the magic 100. It’s not an important figure, just a convenient round figure, and it’s stuck in my head. I should be able to reach it by the end of the year, even though I know quantity and quality are two different things.
It’s the early hours of the morning and, as usual, I am still up finding odd jobs to do. Yesterday was quite action packed so I’m going to write about it now and may even squeeze another post in today – or lengthen this one in the evening. There are so many options!
I’ve had a couple of emails in the last few days, but nowhere to fit the news in. I made four submissions at the end of January, two of them have now come back with acceptances. Two acceptances is good. It means I am back in the groove and it also means means I have 18 poems back, and can use them again. I will edit and polish and see what happens.
This is why it’s easier to make submissions when you are doing it constantly – there is a constant turnover as submittable material comes back. Some months last year my submissions were entirely poems which had already been out. This is so much easier than having to start from scratch. Admittedly, not all returned poems are fit to send out again, but most of them are, and many of them are used on their second or third attempt. I’ve read interviews by well known poets who have done well with work that has been submitted over 20 times.
Sometimes the talent you need isn’t writing ability but persistence.
Same goes for vegetable stew making. Last week it was appalling, mainly due to the use of putrid parsnips, this week it was excellent, and I had the added pleasure of using the cauliflower leaves from last night as greens to add more goodness to the stew and prevent waste. Why compost it when you can eat it?
I also had a blood test – as I said, it’s all happening! Nobody has rung so I assume I passed. Nobody has rung to complain that I am a week late either, I think we have finally reached an understanding. Next time I also have a liver function blood test to make sure the arthritis drugs aren’t doing me any damage. I hope they aren’t, as I’m reasonably happy with them at the moment.
The picture is snowdrops from 2019. They are out now but I have no new photos. That has been a feature of the days of covid – very few new photos.
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.
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.
Things are about back to normal now. I am still sticking to one sandwich for lunch and work seems OK, though I’m still having difficulty remembering where things are. This isn’t helped by the fact that the owner decided to “tidy up” while we were all off (he spent some of his isolation time working in the shop), Why he thinks that moving stock into random places without telling anybody is an improvement, I do not know. However, it’s his time he’s wasting, not mine.
My legs are still a bit weak after weeks of enforced rest but I am making progress on that.
I struggled to submit anything in September, but did manage a few things (mainly things that were already written and just needed tidying). I have three poems in Cattails this month – pages 86, 89 and 133 if you fancy a look.
I have also had acceptances from three other magazines (though only one will be available online) and will no doubt mention it again when it is published.
At one point, when I was really struggling to string words together, I actually thought I’d run to the end and would never write again. Fortunately that passed off after a week, as I don’t know what I’d do to replace it. At the moment I’m not writing much because I mainly work, eat, watch TV and go to bed early. I’m still sleeping off the Covid.
It is probably time to prepare a plan to make sure I spend my time wisely. However, for now I will just sleep.
Number One, despite being treated like a child (the attitude of the nurses has grown more condescending as my hair has turned whiter), I do have decent medical treatment available, and, having turned 60, I no longer have to pay for prescriptions.
Number Two, last Sunday lunch was not as bad as I had feared. I had been worried about the idea of hundreds of people everywhere, coughing and sneezing, but it was almost deserted and very enjoyable to get out. I might be able to re-engage with normal life if it stays like this, though I am actually happy being anti-social.
Number Three, I’ve been given a big bag of potatoes, beans and beetroot (I like potatoes and beans, and Julia likes beetroot) so we have been eating better for the last few days.
Number Four, after a temporary glitch, reminiscent of the empty shelves of the original lockdown panic buying, we now have slightly fuller shelves in the shops. And I can order food today and pick it up on Saturday (I could have had a slot tomorrow but decided Saturday was better).
Number Five, I have a couple of poems in Failed Haiku this month. I’m on page 107 if you want to have a look. Published twice in a week. I’m definitely beginning to feel smug. It won’t last, of course. That’s not false modesty, they have just taken on a new editor. I’ve submitted to her before – sent three, had three rejected.
That about wraps it up for today. It’s been quite a relaxing day and I have started a few changes to my diet and exercise regime, so things are moving. My next shopping trip (we are doing Click & Collect at the moment) features a lot more salad. I am unsettled by the thought, but needs must . . .
The photo is an old one, but it features salad, so is back on topic.
I had a note yesterday to tell that I was on a 24 day streak with WP. The days pass so quickly! It only seems like last week that I broke continuity and it’s already back to 24 days. You know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t improve my writing and it doesn’t improve the blog. It’s just a way of WP trying to draw you in – a bit like your dealer congratulating you on taking drugs for 24 days in a row.
Presence arrived today. I have a haiku and a tanka in there. Unfortunately it’s a print journal so I can’t send you a link. I’m liking the tanka form. It’s two lines longer than a haiku and less restrictive, so it’s more fun. I’ve submitted two lots and had two accepted, so I seem to have the hang of them. However, I won’t make too many predictions of success as I’ve been here before. Early success is often followed by a run of poor form before it picks up again.
This was quite a common thing when buying and selling antiques. You buy one without knowing much about it, you learn, you sell. Next time, armed with more knowledge and confidence, you end up paying too much, or not spotting a fault, and the second one proves hard to sell. Buying in ignorance is often best. I bought several bargains simply by putting my hand up at an auction when nobody else wanted something. As I’d never risk more than a tenner on this sort of bid, it worked out very well on several occasions, though there could be problems.
I twice bought lots thinking they were one box, and they turned out to be multi-box lots. Once I bought some toy cars and six boxes of unsaleable secondhand Christmas decorations. Another time, I bought a box of old pots to get a book and found they came with four boxes of mediocre amateur paintings. At least I was able t give the paintings to a charity shop. I couldn’t even give the Christmas decorations away.
Anyway, I digress.
It is now time to write some more and see if I can repeat my early success.
IT could be a lef. But then it could be a writing prompt . . .
Obsessed with Pipework arrived today. It contains two of my poems, which seem to have taken ages to work their way through the system. That’s the trouble with print journals, compared to on-line journals they take a long time. However, the good thing is that It’s nice to see them in print on an actual paper page. It’s much nicer than just seeing them on-line. Unfortunately I can’t, as a result, give you a link. I will post them at some time in the future.
I will, however, look out my poem from the last issue and post that. I’m going to have to stop for a moment now, as Julia just served tea and I have spilt rice on the keyboard. I bet Philip Larkin didn’t have this problem…
One of the things I noticed after lockdown was that my ability to navigate round town had almost disappeared. It’s back now, but I noticed another lack today – I’ve forgotten a lot of wild flower names. It’s never been a strong point but there are a lot about that I can’t name. I must start learning them again. There were a lot of blue flowered plants in a couple of p[laces as we went out for a drive today – they looked a bit like borage but the flowers seemed more upright. Julia said it wasn’t borage but couldn’t ID it. It isn’t green alkanet. I’m starting to worry that after lockdown and at 50mph I have lost the ability to identify borage. This will be very upsetting if it is true as borage is usually so easy.
I suppose if that’s the worst thing that happened today I can’t be doing badly. As the day also featured a lot of wild flowers, a happy wife (I took her to the garden centre) and KFC for lunch (the doctor told me I should eat more chicken!) I haven’t done badly.
It’s the final week of the second lockdown, and I will be returning to work next week. We will be sticking to our pre-lockdown work pattern of four days a week and, because of the way it falls, I won’t be back in until Friday. I intend to make the most of the next four days.
I don’t have much in the way of poetry writing to do at the moment because there are no deadlines until January. I think I have everything I need for then, and just have to polish a few bits. I will continue writing, but there is no urgency in it for the moment. I have quite a lot written and am polishing it for January.
At the moment I have a magazine article in progress. I’m struggling with it because I’m writing a list of information which I am reusing from an obituary. The life was interesting, but the process of writing about it is not so interesting.
I have also just had another haibun published. Try this link to see it – same as usual, scroll down to Simon Wilson. You may like to try a few of the others while you are there. Last week I also had a haiku published in Presence, but that’s a print magazine so there is no link. This is, I think, the fourth time I submitted to Presence, and my first success. I was beginning to give up hope, but thought I’d give it another go. And with that brief word on the importance of persistence, I will leave close.
I noticed, when re-reading The Duckpond (published about two years earlier) , that I seem to write about ponds a lot. Am I in danger of becoming type-cast, possibly even being known to posterity as The Pond Poet?
It’s another possible problem to add to running out of ideas, losing my ability to write and being found out. Because the problems of writing something good enough for publication aren’t enough, I need more fears to fill the time as I lie awake at night.
With coronavirus I can now fill that time with thoughts of death, losing my job and the collapse of society, but once we have a vaccine I can start worrying about how I will be seen by future generations.
However, this isn’t a post about worry, it’s about haibun. I’m currently in the middle of reorganising my computer files, as they had degenerated into chaos and I have been having difficulty finding things. This led to me submitting four poems to a magazine, then wishing I hadn’t.
One was an accidental double submission (which I think I mentioned before) but fortunately the other editor rejected it. Two of the others were not final versions. When I looked at them again, I realised that one was an incomplete version of a revision and one was a fully revised version but, unfortunately, one that had been further revised and improved.
I’m now waiting to get them back. It’s easier, I think just to get them back and suffer the ignominy of looking unprofessional, rather than try to explain and resubmit.
Hopefully the new system will stop this happening.
Then all I need is a way of filing haiku. Tiny little poems with no titles. I have hundreds of them, and they are refusing to cooperate. It’s like grains of sand pouring out of a hole in a bucket. They are all over the place and I have completely lost track.
They don’t tell you about this in haiku books. They tell you about lightness and simplicity and all that stuff but are completely silent on the subject of indexing, storage and finding them again once you have written them.
I must say I’m finding the titling of the posts a lot easier this week, though I’m not sure what to do next week. I might insert “Another” into the title, or “Next”. That will see me through another seven days. However, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
One of the computers is working again in the shop. It seems it’s a well known quirk of that computer and often occurs after automatic updates. You cure it by repeatedly pressing f11 as soon as a message appears on the screen.
When I say “well known” I mean well known to one of us. If the rest of us had known we would have fixed it. Communication is important in business but is often ignored.
I have a haibun out in Failed Haiku. You will have to scroll down to find Simon Wilson, though there are a lot of good things to read on the way down. The submission requirement this month was that the prose portion of the haibun should be fifty words or less.
If you want to know more about Southwold Pier (that’s what the haibun is about) try this post, or this post. Actually, now I check those two, you also need this one. The haibun is a bit pretentious and, if you like to know these things, actually relates to two different visits – the rude woman visit from several years ago and the visit the week before lockdown, where everyone had fled to their holiday homes to sit out the plague.
The pictures feature my new glasses. The featured image is the box with four pairs remaining. The other image which I am going to title “Study Number 1” is me in Serengeti mode, with my zebra mask and zebra glasses, though they look more than slightly polka dot to me. The general impression of a village idiot with a camera is enhanced by my self-inflicted lockdown haircut and the suspicion of Old Testament which hangs around my beard.