first you must have an idea, however small –
ideas are like dough – they rise higher than you ever thought they would
then some courage is needed
to put the idea into words on a page
when they are words on a page, they must be edited –
not to perfection –
the odd typo –
let’s make it a puzzle to see if anyone who visits will notice –
(i certainly didn’t)
when cutting and pasting *remember* to keep formatting as it is –
and schedule it for next Friday
and not accidently backdate it to last Friday
(which i certainly didn’t do and never have)
Google popular tags and times of day best to post –
i still do this after 5 years –
you would think i would learn –
open Twitter & check hashtags other bloggers are using –
become distracted –
reading their blogs
and your TBR list has gained several new books –
oops, just like that
if it is a book review blog –
do include if the book was an ARC –
i promise my unbiased opinion –
make sure the post has images
and in preview –
check the paragraphs haven’t bunched together –
is the blog connected to social networks –
post automatically –
have i titled the post – no
no – think
for ten minutes
on something that will entice the reader – draw them in –
realise laptop is 2 per cent away from running out of battery –
schedule to post
thank you for reading this spontaneous poem. if you want to read other poems, i posted one here a few days ago and another here last week. You could also become a subscriber of my Patreon and find lots of my poems on there.
This week’s, no last week’s, meal plan. This was a success. Because I have had depression, it is difficult to reign in eating sandwiches and crisps and it makes making a choice what to have for dinner hard too. With the meals written down, it feels like a commitment and is a closed choice. You know, those are the choices, pick one or the other. It’s flexible, I haven’t eaten all these meals this week. Because there were leftovers to be eaten. I had spag bol for breakfast. It was delicious. I live with my boyfriend. There’s two of us. Our weekly shop usually comes to eighty or ninety pounds.
With this meal plan as well, I have been able to eat vegetables. With depression, you don’t tend to reach first to fill up on vegetables. So I mashed cauliflower into the potatoes and with the pasta sauce I chopped up carrots, celery and onion. I figure if you can chop them up small enough, veggies are adept at hiding in sauces and potatoes. Mash needs some flavour, otherwise it’s like eating clouds or wet paper. Not that I enjoy eating cauliflower, I should have got broccoli. I confuse the two.
My go to meal is baked beans, bacon, eggs and waffles. That can be cooked in fifteen minutes. It doesn’t take too long to eat. It’s filling. Not too painful. Of course, if you – like me have a ton of washing up to do and have no cooking utensils to hand, cereal and yogurt are another one of my go to’s.
When it comes to liquids, I do buy bottles of water. I know it’s terrible for the planet, but it is easier to stay hydrated when depressed when you can grab a bottle from the fridge. I do own a refillable bottle, and obviously with depression the effort required to clean, fill and refrigerate it can be beyond me. I do use it when I can. Alcohol is something I try to not drink when I am depressed. Like I say, I try. I admire those who can have one drink and then stop. I know there are a lot of lockdown drinking memes around. Plenty of people quipping, ‘I’ll have a drinking problem when I get out of lockdown!’ And the truth of it is people may well have become alcohol reliant in current circumstances. That’s the thing with alcohol, it starts as one drink of an evening and then can become two or three into the night. Never mind the damage inflicted on your body in the short term during this lockdown. As I mentioned earlier some people can have one drink, and humour is what people use to cope. Even if it is inappropriate, it is in my eyes – but if you haven’t experienced addiction and alcoholism, then it won’t be. I think alcohol is a poison and is like knocking back paint stripper or similar concoctions that are found in the shed with a large warning sign on the side of them.
In any case, it certainly does not help depression.
I used to be the person like water?! It’s disgusting and naff. No thank you. Now I am advocating people drink water. I have grown.
1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)
I have been concerned about the environment since I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as a teenager. I also worked on the national staff of the first Earth Day in 1970. In April it will be the fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. Unfortunately, many of the events have been cancelled. Over the years I have had a number of environmental poems published so I decided to pull some of them together in a manuscript which Fly on the Wall Poetry Press published as “Awakening: Musings on Planetary Survival”.
I had previously self-published an illustrated children’s book “My Little Plastic Bag” which educates children about where plastic goes in our ecosystem. It won a number of awards and is now in Spanish and English. It has been my best seller.
I feel poets can play an important role in changing our environmental consciousness and they need to speak out in poems with clear messages. It is not a time for obscure images that we hope some people will get. Also, people are scared and depressed because of Covid-19, but they are spending a lot of time on line so we can provide inspiration and understanding for them. I recently put up a graphic on Facebook “Quarantine Your Body, Not Your Mind, Read Poetry”. A number of people shared it.
2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?
We timed the release of “Awakening” to the Fiftieth Anniversary of Earth Day and I set up a number of readings through environmental groups and they all got cancelled so I am working social media and trying to get some press attention. But Covid-19 is sucking up all the oxygen. As a result, I have done some virtual book launches and will record some of the poems and put them on my website, YouTube and Facebook. I am also writing some pieces on the resurgence of eco-poetry as a set up to promote “Awakening”.
If you don’t promote your work it is invisible, so you need to let people know about it.
3, What projects are you working on at present?
I am trying to find ways to promote my new book and that is time consuming, but as I have ideas for new poems I write them down and store them in a working file. It’s like planting seeds that I may watch germinate.
4, What does poetry mean to you?
Joy Harjo, our American poet laureate, is the first native American poet laureate. She says something like, “Poetry gives voice to the spirits in the wind.”
I feel like we are channelling some unconscious survival instincts. In my poem in “Awakening” about the disappearance of the ecology symbol that was everywhere around the first Earth Day I write:
“if everyone lives the American dream,
we will need a planet three times
the size of Mother Earth
and the last time I looked,
she’s not gaining weight.”
That sums it up for me.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie 4/5
Can you imagine how fun it must be (I’m kidding) sitting down and imagining … these murder scenarios? Do the writers fox themselves? Because characters, even if we do ultimately control them, still do what they damn well like.
I also love Agatha Christie’s dialogue. I think I have said it before in a review, but I bloody love good dialogue. It’s like music to my ears, when you read some dialogue and it has a bit of bite to it and a bit of humour. It’s pleasing. Roddy Doyle is another author that I like for dialogue.
I think I want dialogue to mirror real life. Which is why there are no rules to writing. You would have dozens of editors complaining if how we spoke to each other was put in our stories. It wouldn’t make sense. Unfinished thoughts, talking over one another, repetition, some coarse language. Of course, accents and dialects too. Do you feel perhaps in stories we try to replicate the perfect scenario? Isn’t that why we read stories, we expect a start, middle and end. I personally love reading stories that don’t really have a story, more happenings. I read a book a couple of months ago like that. It was Keith Waterhouse’s There is a Happy Land. It’s a beautiful book. I probably read it once every couple of years. I don’t have my own copy of it. I know where it is in the public library and I pluck it off the shelves periodically. Pluck is the wrong word. The shelves are packed tightly in my public library and it’s more of a shuffle, tug, pull, shuffle, break a nail and a yank. Then you realise it’s the wrong book and not what you want after all and have to get it back in.
Anyway, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was a hit with me. It’s all very clear and obvious whodunnit by the explanation at the end, isn’t it?
Another mystery I read was
Hate Bale: A Rural Cosy Mystery by Stephanie Dogg 3/5
Hate Bale is very cosy. It has romance, humour and its setting and characters were different (depends what you’ve been reading, I guess) The murders though are brutal, when you think about what you are reading. The ending was wordy, and it went from 60 to 100 in the space of 3? chapters. I felt the plot and the pacing could have been tightened. It did meander, not that I mind a meander. Other readers may not.
Not a bad read though. I liked it.