Tag Archives: publication

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.

Crepuscular rays at Rufford Park

Back to Normal

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.

 

 

Counting Some Blessings

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.

A Small Success and a Digression on Auction Technique

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 . . .

 

A Magazine Arrives

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.

The photos are from May 2016.

Robin

The Last Days of Lockdown

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.

Publication and Practical Poetry Problems

I’ve just had a haibun published in Wales Haiku Journal. You can find it here. I have a previous one published here.

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.

Glasses from Amazon

Thursday

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.

Now, what can I call tomorrow’s post?

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Study Number 1 – The Idiot

A Simple Man

You may recall that a few months ago I had four successive rejections from editors. I’ve had a bit of rest since then, with just one magazine article published, but a couple of months ago decided it was time to have another go. Shortly after that, my father died. To be honest, I started to think how my eulogy would sound and I had to admit it would be pretty dull.

I’ve always been a fan of Gareth’s eulogy from Four Weddings and a Funeral, as read by John Hannah – “I rang a few people, to get a general picture of how Gareth was regarded by those who met him. ‘Fat’ seems to have been a word people most connected with him. ‘Terribly rude’ also rang a lot of bells.”

It fits, but I’d like people to remember me for more than being fat and rude, though they are two of my more defining characteristics, along with ‘untidy’.

The world of poetry is such that any idiot with a word processor and a vocabulary stands a chance of being published. In my previous incarnation as a poet I gained many of my publication credits by selecting magazines with low quality thresholds. After a couple of years I managed to get into a decent magazines and was highly commended in a national competition. Just as I thought I’d made it, I found myself short of time as the kids started to get better at sport.

As you know, I had a few haibun published last year and then faded a bit. I saw an edition of Grayson Perry’s Art Club during lockdown He said something about art being an activity where anybody could participate and there was nothing to stop you being a high achiever, or something like that. It made me think.

You need some talent to be an artist, or the ability to work hard if you want to write a book, but as I realised years ago, being a poet isn’t difficult. Being a good one might be tricky, but after reading some ‘good’ poetry I’m even dubious about that.

And so I started writing again.

I just had my first acceptance.

Typewriter and vocabulary, that’s all you need. And the brass neck to ignore rejection.

A Little Good News

The good news is that the latest issue of Contemporary Haibun Online is out and it has one of mine it in it. It has 63 others too, plus a few articles, so there is plenty to read.

The bad news is that this is the last one in the pipeline and after my recent spate of rejections I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever write anything worth reading again.

I suppose I will just have to do what I normally do in the circumstances and lower my sights until I find a magazine desperate for material. That was how I became a published poet in the first place. Nothing to do with the quality of my writing, just a willingness to lower my standards until I found someone willing to publish me.

According to an article I read there are 300 poetry magazines in the UK, and you are almost certain to get in one of them if you search around enough.

The situation is slightly different with a specialist form like a haibun, but even so, there are still magazines out there I haven’t tried.

There are, of course, reasons for this.

Some of them, for instance, only accept paper submissions, and I can’t be bothered. It’s a waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of trees,

Others have an unfortunate attitude, Frankly, I can’t write enough good stuff to go round so why bother with someone who I probably won’t like? I will take a certain amount of crap if I’m being paid, but not when I’m working for nothing.

That will do for now, despite all my good intentions I am only going to manage one post today.

I’m now going to prepare a submission for tomorrow and polish my article on coping with rejection by editors.