Monday, 30 April 2012

A-Z Challenge Reflections: a quickie post!

Taking this challenge has helped consolidate what I have to say and how I want to convey it. I write everyday so the routine wasn’t too arduous but there is something about making the public commitment that makes you stretch a bit further, faster, stronger. 

Thank you to everyone who has been part of process, it has been a positive experience and although I now, in all honesty, do follow more blogs than I have time to read, connections have been made and I hope to maintain some level of online sociability. In short: grateful for the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised. 

Hmm... what to write next? 

Z: Ziljan (and the symbols of authentic inspiration)

 The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

I’m not totally against material possessions, just meaningless stuff we clutter our selves and spaces with. Some things can be the physical representations of ideals, like achieving the highest standard of musical expression (I'm merely a listener, picked Ziljan for the symbol/cymbal pun, shame on me, but then again, this is the end of the A-Z Challenge, I’m allowed to play.)

My best symbol is my dragonfly, which is tattooed on my left shoulder and therefore unlikely to get cleared out. It represents the ability to transform oneself, and since I have used it correctly (smug but true) it has become a powerful prompt in my life. I like tattoos but I only have the one, because so far it’s all I’ve needed. I have pondered other designs, such as a periwinkle shell, a tiny home for a creature that survives the fiercest storms, but my dragonfly doesn’t seem to need any company.

The biggest concentration of physical symbolic stuff in our house is balanced on the shelves of my Box Office, which was meant to be a cupboard before it morphed into a miniature studio. They are my quirky hooks of memory, captures of feeling and place, reminding me what I do, and why. Photographs, postcards, a piece of volcanic rock, two glass snails called Beard and Goat, wedding tiara, fairy lights, glow-in-the-dark stars…

Down in the freezing neglected dining room (good for storing jam) is the cabinet of curiosities, also provoking memory and imagination. In here, currently, amongst other objects; two badger skulls, one bird skull (blackbird sized) and some plastic flowers. 

These things need revisiting, and moving about, because if you leave them in one place too long you are in danger of not paying attention to them anymore. Unnoticed stuff loses meaning, gets demoted to clutter. Sometimes the novelty simply wears off. If you lose appreciation for something, it needs to be moved on. I love (and am betting on some empathising here) going through our house and clearing out everything that we no longer communicate with, passing it on to be re-appreciated, making space for us. Then I can walk around this bonkers cottage, this collection of negative adjectives; under-heated, mouldy, rat chewed carpet, ill-fitting doors, half assed paint jobs, scatterings of dust, cobweb, spider poo, sawdust, dog hair, mud, icy drafts; I see it all and I love it, because we live here. This house we live in is a symbol of our odd but sensible (if you can look at them correctly) choices, the ordinary miracle of our lives.

Thank you very much, you’ve been a wonderful audience, please come back again soon! I’m here everyday and I can recommend the soup! 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday Under The Petal Bombs

Cherry blossom is plucked, whirled and mostly glued to my car by clumsy rain splats. Everywhere is petal polka dots. The wind is dizzy. The sky, choked up with phlegmy cloud. Cat runs in before the door has finished opening. She looks for her food bowl like a hypoglycaemic. Dog runs out, flinging her tongue to one side. Her ears and my hair catch a blast of cold air, blow obstructively to vision. Dog is not slowed down, she leaps the gate as I am fixing my hood toggles. Under the waterproofs I am still dressed in pyjamas, I am pre-coffee, pre-breakfast, haven’t even washed my face. Some instinct has propelled me out here, into the storm of blossom.
This weather is set in. For a month, Farmer Landlord says. He brought rat poison, because they won’t get in the traps. I’m not sentimental about it, exactly, but I wish they had opted for a swifter death. It came to poison last time too, and one lay dead beyond reach in the roof space over the brewing kitchen. No one forgets a smell like that. This time, Farmer Landlord says, we shall have the roof panels up and clear it all out, and fix the gaps. Mr and I share a look. There’s several glass panels being climbed by moss, leaning against the outside wall. You’ll have a porch up, by the winter, Farmer Landlord said, about three years ago. To be fair, he did not say which winter.
When the rats come, and the cold creeps in no matter how tightly I squeeze the old blanket under the gappy door, I dream of living in a tidy cottage. A big garden, a neat shed, a camper van; life perfected.
Here I am though, petal bombed and watching the Longwools fluster, watching Dog dive for the stream, nothing but clothes between me and the natural world, and everything assuredly will be fine in the end.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Y: You Don't Have To Be Miserable To Be Serious!

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

This is one of my favourite quotes, attributed to Eric Morecombe, light entertainer, who wore thick rim dark rectangular glasses just like my Dad’s. Often I have incurred displeasure for not seeming at all studiously glum, and have had cause to flaunt this piece of wisdom. E.g. ‘Sorry, that was an awfully short and self centred post, but it did have a sincere sense of fun with an important underlying message. You don’t have to be miserable to be serious!’

Thursday, 26 April 2012

X: Kyocha Sogi

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

I haven’t written much about my martial art on this blog, not for a shortness of zeal or an absence of the obsession which if you are or you know a martial artist will be excruciatingly familiar. If you do know: I practice pre-ITF Tae Kwon Do, as espoused by Major General Hoi Hung Hi’s 1983 manual. And if you don’t, don’t worry, I am not completely oblivious to the glazed eyes, there will only be a short technical description, followed by an observation of equal brevity.

Kyocha Sogi, or in English, X stance
Cross one foot over or behind the other, touching the ground slightly with the ball of the foot. Body weight rests on the stationary foot. It’s a short stance, the feet being placed close, under the body.

There is something irrepressibly funky about this stance.
Baby uses it whilst tackling her toy box, which suggests a fundamentally instinctive human source for it. One leg supports the other, caring, nonchalant, useful.
I like the way this stance makes a link between supportive and combative instinct. It suggests both the simplicity and the complexity of human development. 

W: Wishbone Soup

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

This is a re-post of my first ever blogged communication. It is a bit cheaty to repeat; in this instance, I am not inclined to care. It relates to a time when I lived in an even wonkier, colder, damper house, but with much less agricultural clutter.

It's a real soup. It's also a state of mind, which, if by cure we mean 'make better,' does cure everything. 
To explain, here's a brief autobiographical tale.

Once upon a time there was a wonky cottage with two tiny open fires and an impressive collection of cold damp draughts. There was no telephone, no internet, TV reception depended on the weather, and whether they could afford the electric bill. Living in the cottage was a growing family with a shrinking budget. When the gas bottle ran out they cooked on the fire. It was impossibly picturesque, so don't feel sorry for them, and most weeks they could buy a chicken from the supermarket. It was one of those value chickens; kept in crowded filth for a short miserable life and its bedraggled body injected with water to give an impression of plump health under glossy cellophane. Not the happiest purchase available, just the cheapest. In death, the sad straggly bird was greatly appreciated. Roasted with lots of cheap potatoes on Sunday, Chicken Pie on Monday; cheap flour, thick pastry; by Tuesday there were only bones left. The feasting was over. The bones were simmered into stock, and called Chicken Soup at first, which caused some disappointment, because there was only stock and the cheap potatoes. So, the wishbone went back in the pot, and the soup was renamed. Now, it had a prize in it, an actual wish. Now, it made them laugh. 
Eventually, the laughing became more important than the wish.

This is Granny Meg. She is not eating soup. She is eating a chocolate willie.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

V: Vietnamese Weasel

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

Specific moments of deliberate enjoyment can be embodied in a scrumptiously eye popping cup of coffee. Still love a splash of Java Sumatra, and Guatemalan Elephant, but since the discovery of Vietnamese Weasel, Va Va Voom! The aroma of it sends me… back to my honeymoon (explaining the big love hit) back through history; into a place of hot fascination, a place that steps with me, out of time, into the construction of a personal mythology. Specific moments of deliberate enjoyment can perk up everything, even if you wake up too early.

My decision is to make coffee
And sit, watching the colours
Change, outside; the pink
Underbelly of mackerel cloud

Somewhere in the fridge is a tin
Of coffee. This week we are drinking
Vietnamese Weasel. I picture the sacks
Of beans on the quayside in a monsoon wind

Maybe this started as a practical joke
But whoever ground up the beans from
The weasel’s poo was on to a good thing
Although the flavour in this tin is synthesised

While coffee brews in the jug, I will
Be organised, drag the washing from
The lovely machine that undertook
Hard work for me as I slept

Whirl of wet fabric in the basket
Waits for me to locate some boots
And a mug for the coffee, and wonder
If it’s too early to wake the dog

Dog thumps her tail in a slow beat
I turn off the lamp we forgot last night
And gather up the glasses and appraise
The unfinished list of things to do

The washing up is waiting, is one of
Those little repetitions that marks out
Your life, this history in coffee rings, in
The medium of smeared food stains

Two boots located, the washing is brought
To the line, another confirmation of our
Continuing adventures, pegged item by item
Optimistic plastic fastens the corners

Occupational debris stuffs up the shed
This morning the light strikes a low
Wall of old car batteries, behind me
My shadow slopes on an old door

Close my eyes to focus on
The fusion, the notes of coffee
Dark cocoa musk, bituminous
Coal, tar, smoke, burnt sugar

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

U: Über Ultra Everything

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

I’m not always so secure about being bossy, but do, on this occasion, feel decidedly, hideously justified.
Enthusiasm, like many things, resides on a scale. The enthusiasm gamut starts at a sustainable leisurely pursuit, ends in an explosion. Every stage has its pros and cons and, while idiot proofing can be a courteous gesture, I’m (generously) going to allow my readers to work out for themselves what is good and bad about mildly eager or maniacally passionate and all the bits in between. 
My intent here is to speak up for enthusiasm as a generic element. Eagerness is sometimes perceived as desperation; people clinging to obsessions that bring meaning to an otherwise bewildering drift of existence, or taking cover behind fascination so they can ignore the blunt You Have Wasted Your Life truth.
This point of view does possess a validly eponymous point. But!!!
A life without enthusiasm is a life unexplored.
And not unexplored because it is so inaccessible, that would be forgivable. This is your life, held in your own hands; it’s your own heart that beats, your own lungs that guzzle air, your own senses reaching out to link you to the world.
It would be unexplored because… excuses are the enemy of integrity, so I hope you haven’t found one.

Monday, 23 April 2012

T: Time, the Art of

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

‘Time is the sole capital of people whose only fortune is their intelligence.’
Honore de Balzac

I’ve put down the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue- literally, and in this house that means it might be a few days before I find it again. Meanwhile I’ve gone back to the rediscovery of a shelf of books I picked up, long, long ago, in a college, far, far away (by train.) One of these is called The Art of Time.

‘We think much more about the use of money, which is renewable, than we do about the use of time, which is irreplaceable,’ Jean-Louis Servan-Schrieber explains, on the front cover. I think, and my lifestyle will back me up here, that I have always been more time orientated.

Last week I pretended to eat a brick and then sick it back up again. Baby chortled so much she couldn’t sit up, like hilarity trebled gravity, it took her down flat to a horizontal whole bodied laugh. Then I think, but I would like to take you to the zoo, when you are the right age for shrieking at monkeys. One cannot pay the zoo admission, currently, without cash. So, a bit of attention to money can improve the experiences available, if you have time. Therefore, there is a balance to be found. I have the book poised, in hope. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Dog's City Sunday

Dog takes her second urban walk around a cemetery. We let her run off the lead. Her larkish scrabblings over marble and chippings clatter incongruously as we stroll down these crowded avenues of the dead. For a moment, she pauses thoughtfully, which is my cue to fish a poo bag from my pocket. After that, the lead is reclipped. Dog does not mind.

For her first walk, we had a whole park to roam; she ran circles of discovery with her nose to the ground, inhaling information. After the park we clipped down the road, past the lady in the fit-flops pushing a trolley of cakes out of Aldi’s automatic doors. We spent some pleasant if damp time kicking about outside the building full of nervous red belts, who were inside kicking each other fervently for a chance to become black belts. Dog gives them a wag as they emerge, shiny faced and tense with hope. She is popular, which she likes. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

S: Sunshine Sequin Sparkle Shark

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

Saturday’s short sunny scribble, scrutinising some symbolic stuff.

Sunshine is reciprocal. Once upon a time I was all squashed out like road kill, and the weather was sternly grey. I saw a sign for a sun shower booth, not something I would normally try. Just a few minutes of pretend sun put some smile shape back on my face. Effectual emergency treatment.
Sequins are metallic discs that take light in, and in the process of reflecting add theatrical enchantment. Although tinsel was my first razzle-dazzler; the magical density of nativity play haloes. I was not destined for ballet, the scuffle in the changing room and my red shoes in the cluster of pale pinks were obvious retrospective proofs; but the glamour of performance gets me every time.
Sparkles are anything that refract light, unsplicing colour. Rainbows are part of the universal show. Hanging a bit of cut glass in a window, the multihued slivers held in a bubble, yes, I am that easily amused.
Sharks are ancient oceanic beasts of instinct. They are curious about the world; simultaneously self-contained. They can seem monstrous, though their lines are so perfectly drawn. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

R: Rosehill, the name of this home

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

If I list the things I will miss about this home it will be a long list…

A hedge of daffodils. Scooping fingers of the overhanging ash tree. Broken branch oak making a tree tunnel over the lane; picturesque, impractical bumpy lane. Wild strawberries, in the walls and the central ridge of grass. Wild garlic with triangular stems and dainty stinking flowers.
Shy snowdrops, cheeky crocus. Pink rhododendron growing next to the orange berberis. Lilac rhododendron that flowers months later than the pink. Orchard daffodils in lines, grading colours from bright orange to white.
Two pet graves in the orchard, one for Chinchilly (I cried for three days) and one for Tyson Sparkle, beloved rabbit.
Bees in beehives. Cherry trees in blossom. Fragrance of the lilac tree.
How ridiculous the house is: our bedroom doorframe is too narrow to walk through holding a breakfast tray, one must go sideways or get stuck, coffee and toast inevitably falling on the disgusting vintage carpet.
Impressive height of the bay tree. Petals blowing over the granite trough, floating on dark rainwater. Apple, pear, damson, hawthorn and sloe in flower. Blackberry blooms, pink and white, like wild rose, simple prettiness, a tendency to ramble. Celandines bursting yellow through the field grass. A gooseberry bush discovered only last summer.
Textures and shades of grass, greens and golds and reds and tones of blue. Drops of dew on the wide grass blades, carpeted gems catching light.
Snow in the fields and the speed a skimboard can pick up before it tips you into a drift. The crunch sound of walking in snow. Mist rolling low, primeval, concealing, other worldly.
Willows' spindly clustering over the stream. Alder stumps glowing bronze. Sycamore stumps oozing tree vomit, sycamore seeds helicoptering over the valley. Honey-sweet smell of the lyme trees.
The gigantic oak, the dead oak, the amazing purple-reds of the copper beech. One hilariously erect branch on a fir tree. Worn trunk of the fallen apple that is perfect for beginner level tree climbing. Remnants of tree house in the old pear, where we were held captive by irascible pear thieving cows. The hollow poplar hooking a branch around the neighbouring oak, so it can keep growing in a gravity defying fashion.
Old granite bridge almost buried under collected silt. Slant of the fields and the sheep terrace ridges.
In the continuous discovery of abandoned items, nothing tops the day we looked in a hedge and found a whole land rover.
Clues to the habits of the wild things that dwell here; kill sites, squirrels’ nut stashes, stench of rat urine, amusingly berry packed fox poo, deer hoof prints, the effortless circling of the buzzards.
Car-baiting pheasants; a plumage that is part excellent country tweed and part embroidered silk dressing gown. 
A loom of sloes and roses across the top hedge, where I pick fruit for medicinal purposes, where the best nettle patch grows partially shaded.
The old damson that once framed a gateway between fields, before it grew overbalanced by the weight of its own fruit. When Mr chopped it back I couldn’t watch, being sentimentally attached, then immediately loved how the view was opened up.
The view, of neatly rounded opposite fields, green domes edged with deciduous trees, interlocking spurs of hill that turn into bleakly beautiful peaks of Dartmoor, that look like distant mountains.
Remains of the dead elm, curved with ivy sculpture. The handmade gate that’s always open.
Sheds packed with rotting history.
The end field, that feels so far away from everything, where you sit and hide and find that you knew the answers to your problems all along and you do have the strength to return and face them.

Okay, I won’t actually miss the stench of rat urine; nor the rats, the mice that look cute but chew stuff up, invasive laurel trees, wasps building nests next to the washing line, nor the cold, the damp, the rotting woodwork, the way the lane keeps trashing our cars, the irritable boiler, the necessity of having to source wood or freeze. Rarely is anything perfect, even if you love it. I don’t want to leave but there’s no happiness in clinging to things. If its time to change, then I accept it. I rather suspect I will sit quietly in the end field before we leave, and the tears that come will be made of grief and gratitude, and one or two might even be of relief. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Q: Good Queen Dick

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

 In the Great Britain of 1811, where I have been spending some time lately, the saying ‘In the reign of Queen Dick’ was a popular retort. There was no Queen Dick, in case you were wondering if you had misread your British throne lineage, therefore the retort clearly implies that the incident or situation referred to did not happen.
If you like a challenge, use this phrase in a conversation today. I like it like this:-
‘And when did that happen- in the reign of Queen Dick, perhaps?’
With clear, archly barbed diction and a gorgeous smile.

 Most of my fiction is based on incidents and situations that did happen, because I like to take what is right in front of people and surprise them with it. This is not to say that other ways of doing things are wrong- in fact, taking the everyday out of the ordinary setting is at the very least an equally splendid way to polish jaded attentions. But for me, tasking to unearth the treasures of what we have, here where we have them, that is my vocation.

A quick post today. I will leave you with an arty-thoughty quote:
‘The purpose of art is not to portray the visible, but to make visible.’  Paul Klee

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

P sounds like S

My parents bestowed on me the first name Lisa (considered, they protested, unusual at the time.) My husband handed me the last name Southard (pronounced Sutherd, ideally, but South-hard will do.) Most of the world; this includes many close friends; know me as Lily Tequila, or Silverbetty Sequin… it’s nothing more complicated than fun. They aren’t alter egos. Silverbetty was a dancing days stage name, borrowed from my daughter’s teddy, Lily is a derivative of Lilith, an autobiographical-ish character from a novel I claim to be writing (have written, but not to my satisfaction yet.)
Both pseudonyms are exactly me. 

Having suffered this at school-
‘Which Lisa are you?’
(Think I was Number 5-) it is easy to realise why I might want to distinguish my existence with some flashy nom de plumes. Also why my Girl and Boy have slightly odd real names, and have preferred simplification.
Plus ça change, plus ça même change…

If I ever had an alter ego alias it was The Bad Girl Who Lives In My Head. I can blame everything I’ve ever done wrong on that fabulous monster and I love her dearly. She is retired, but keeps herself fit and well.  I still dine out on her stories, so those are kept close, they are my fat gold scandalous coins of memory.

And, from 1811, neatly deflecting any further revelations, I present some grammar related punishment metaphors:
To be put in a pillory was to be held in a wooden parenthesis; an iron parenthesis was a prison.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

O is a Soft Recognition

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup. 

I had a post all ready to ping, including this from the 1811 dictionary, which I could visualise so clearly I think it’s fair to say I hooted with laughter:
‘Owl in an ivy bush’ Frequently said of a person in a frazzled wig.

It is a marvellous thing to elicit laughter, and to share it with someone you love is ecstatic. I think of this, wandering along with Dog, past the cherry tree. This is the short time each year that the blossoms shimmy out of bud, open up to the sky and breathe the spring air. One sprig has caught the wind, it shivers at the edge of a large puddle. The water also shivers with the breeze. This morning the rainwater reflected sunlight into our front room, dabbling on the ceiling. A string of dusty spider web bridged over it. Outside, the honeysuckle and the bindweed are wiggling into life, the ivy has been here all winter. Now I see the ivy, the deep green wreaths of ivy, and sigh. Oh. Softly, I remember the date. There will be a service today. I cannot write of frivolous owls.

Some of you will know this story, and some of you won’t. It is not my story, so I will tell it sparingly.

Here is one of those pleasant peripheral people you chat to if you meet, because you used to work together, because she has nice things to say.  You hook up on Facebook, intending to plan a night out sometime, and press ‘Like’ on when she changes her status to ‘In a relationship with-’ There is a pleasing seriousness to her nature, which means if she loves someone, it is more than sauce and fancy.
It is good to know that this kind of love still thrives.

You press ‘Like’ for every romantic meal; it is so adorable, seeing that kind of love flourish. He asks her to marry him, of course, that is surely inevitable, though no less exciting. I look at my computer screen and say, ‘Oh!’ I know they will be happy, they are that sort of people. The wedding plans unfold, all the little details for the big day, which draws so close, from months to weeks to just one more fortnight.

The groom-to-be goes for his honeymoon vaccines. One thing to do in a big list of things to do!
‘You don’t seem well enough,’ the nurse says.
The nurse is right. He has meningitis. Within hours he has sunk into a coma, his heart stops.

All emotions are personal, but grief is one of the most reflective, so it seems more personal, even more than love. Grief is a gap in existence. Grief is putting two cups by the kettle and realising that there is only one cup of tea to be made. The process of grieving is the acknowledgment that there is no getting back to normal, because normal has changed. In respect of this knowledge, I changed my post today. I didn’t take all the laughter out of it, for grief does not require that. Laughter is the best memory for staunching wounds.  

Monday, 16 April 2012

N: Is For Nudie!

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

This morning, I woke up with the question ‘Are dogs naked?’
Which is a random way to awake, and I have no idea what dreams prompted that. I looked at the list for N. Nudie, there’s the word. Jolly connotations. From the Latin, nudus, meaning ‘to bare.’ From running after freshly bathed progeny, waving pyjamas.

Odd fact I learned today; having rediscovered my 1811 Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue; hemp, being used for making ropes, was once known by the common name ‘Neck Weed.’ Of all the textures to be brought to bare skin, rope on a neck is not one I wish to sample.

Sand underfoot is one of the best, any time of year. In winter, it is best to keep warm socks waiting in the car. So, in celebration of the random, odd-but-jolly feel of my Monday, here are the notes from my latest beach barefoot romp:

‘A walk on the beach freezes my feet. Moving up out of the water's edge wind chill we find a forest has floated up out of the sea, the trees are broken into pieces, grounded in the pebble line at the foot of the dunes. We think we identify trunks of oak and pine. I stuff wizened hands in pockets whilst bare blue feet bury themselves in a warmer layer of dry sand. Shuffling back towards the car, Dog gets a little slower on each chase. 
When we start out, each catch of the ball is fêted by a leap into the sea; leap becomes a paddle; paddle morphs to a simple return; now she wags her tail around us, keeping the ball in her mouth safely out of play. 
We judge the driftwood, it is neatly spaced: exhibits in a pebble floored hallway. Someone has taken the art theme in earnest and painted a random boulder white. Someone has taken the judging too far and left a dog turd on a weathered stump. Too derivative? Pah, I say, poo is hardly an original protest medium.
At the car park, the stones are sharp. I put my flip flops on. The car-warm rubber is therapeutic. My hands grip the flask, I’m so pleased to find the flask of warm dark coffee. Dog sighs on the back seat, coat thick with sand. We perch in the open hatch, coffee steam drifting.’ 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sunday Driver

Today was planned. It did not stick to the plan. On Friday, I left Boy on the moors, in a t-shirt and a hailstorm. It’s okay, he was expecting it, and it was a superior t-shirt. We live in a damp cold place, we consider fast wicking windproof thermal waterproofs everyday wear. Sunday pick up time was prearranged, then changed. Twice. I thought I would have finished everything from pesky housework to painstaking artwork, but I didn’t even quaff a coffee till 2pm. It almost got dangerous.

Driving out the second time, I took Dog, as her enthusiasm for life is contagious. There was plenty of life there, including one weary Boy and an ice cream van.
‘Sorry about that,’ he says.
‘If everything goes according to plan,’ I realise, verbally and deep inside, ‘you always know what is going to happen. That would get boring, wouldn’t it?’

Boy points out a wild foal snoozing by a granite boulder. Dog jumps in the river, disturbing a duck.

We go home, and I say to myself, maybe the work will get done, maybe it won’t. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

M Revisited: More Show, Less Tell

Re-reading the previous post, I’m not quite comfortable with it. All very well telling people how they should be appreciating their lives, when the point is, the clever writer should be showing them. Especially at the weekend when most folks are inclined towards relaxation, not lectures… this topic is riddled with the risk of ‘holier than thou’ syndrome: I am a real, therefore flawed person, always a work in progress. I get unmanageable, cantankerous, irrational, flabby, washed out, ineffective, dense, bad hair days. Still human! First challenge is to realise it is one of those days, second is to wrestle my bad self with brutal honesty until it tells me what’s wrong (pre-menstrual, tired, sick of being poor, angry with myself for doing something unaccountably dumb, those are the usual candidates.) Third challenge is to apologise. No one likes apologising, it reminds you of how you did something wrong, but it’s necessary. So, I apologise for the sermonising.
Here is a more show, less tell piece about my miracle obsession.

My first blog challenge to myself (as yet unfinished- see, still human!) was to find 1,000 Miracles In One Day:

‘Furthering my quest to appreciate life, to actually be bothered to find the extraordinary in the ordinary detail of life, I have set myself this task. I use the word miracle to describe the act of seeing [acknowledging] the moments where something wonderful is happening (if you are looking at it correctly.)
I think I need about 41.66 per hour to cover 24 hours.
Further miracle reports to follow….
What I have to say isn't particularly shocking, nor is it new. It seeks to wake you up to the beautiful view that is only here, in front of you, the particular things and moments that construct your experience of life.’

To date I have written 462 consecutive verses/miracle moments; up to approximately 11am on Miracle Day; have plenty of raw material, and plan to finish the set this autumn. Here (revised from the original posting) are the first three:

Down the wall a spider walks
Unseen, the whisper of eight feet
Unheard on the wallpaper, this is
A secret world, a spider’s world

At the zero hour it seems nothing exists
But the deep breathing of sleep
And the heaving of wind in darkness
Bowing trees as though dragons fly here

Uncounted leaves stream, pulling
On thin stems, twisting loose, one leaf
Takes hold of the air, it has no plans
For landing, that will just happen

I chose poetry first, because it concentrates language, but have since moved to prose, just felt the need to expand and experiment, of course. That’s the miraculous human bit of me I like best.