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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/profile/blog/beholden/month/4-1-2024
Rated: 13+ · Book · Experience · #2223922
A tentative blog to test the temperature.
Ten years ago I was writing several blogs on various subjects - F1 motor racing, Music, Classic Cars, Great Romances and, most crushingly, a personal journal that included my thoughts on America, memories of England and Africa, opinion, humour, writing and anything else that occurred. It all became too much (I was attempting to update the journal every day) and I collapsed, exhausted and thoroughly disillusioned in the end.

So this blog is indeed a Toe in the Water, a place to document my thoughts in and on WdC but with a determination not to get sucked into the blog whirlpool ever again. Here's hoping.

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April 30, 2024 at 6:49am
April 30, 2024 at 6:49am
Santa and All That

I held the whole matter of the existence of Santa Claus in the realm of the dubious (but useful) until I was twelve. I did not then decide on the facts available (they were, after all, contradictory) but stayed awake all night to see for myself. Having ascertained the truth from this experiment, I had the good sense not to noise it abroad and so ensured continuation of the tradition for a few more years.

Interestingly, my son, Mad, managed to keep the thing going well into his late teens, even though we all knew that he knew and he knew that we knew. He was always a charming blighter...

Word count: 110
April 29, 2024 at 6:29pm
April 29, 2024 at 6:29pm
An Andrea-ism

Another Andrea-ism: I saw this really cool status on Facebook today. I was going to re-post it here but it said that only 3% of people re-post. I checked and 3% already had. Darn it.
April 25, 2024 at 6:10am
April 25, 2024 at 6:10am

I have come to realise that the cliché is a much maligned creature. For so long we have reviled it, saying that it must not be used if we’re to write properly, that it should be cast out and something new and fresh substituted in its place. Yet, that’s not always possible - sometimes a cliché is still the best way to say something.

But it goes beyond that, especially if you write poetry. The thing about clichés is that they come with baggage. Each of them is a cliché because they’ve been used for years and have accumulated all sorts of moss in their lives, all of which now affects their meaning and means that they are positively obese with nuance, expression and adornment. And that makes them something special. They have become portmanteau words that say in a few words what it might take whole sentences to say otherwise.

In poetry, that’s extremely useful.

The trick then becomes to use them in such a way that their value overcomes their familiarity (which, as we all know, breeds contempt). And that needs an example to demonstrate.

Old Age

Is it really yesterday already?
There’s so much I had to say,
and now the times are folded over
with dreams so long forgotten
and memories before us spread.
I’ve honed my skills of long ago,
filled up my drawer of things to keep,
the rainy day may be tomorrow.

Line count: 8
Free verse
For Express It In Eight, 04.16.24
Prompt: Skills of yesteryear.

See that "rainy day?" It’s a cliché because it’s part of a well worn saying - to keep something for a rainy day. So I can use it to say exactly that with two words instead of seven. The cliché becomes a magical form of shorthand.

We actually do this all the time: “great minds,” “jack of all trades,” the early bird.” And poetry can pounce upon such things and use it to say a mouthful.

That’s what I think today, anyway.

Word count: 337
April 23, 2024 at 5:32am
April 23, 2024 at 5:32am
Music to My Ears

How come everyone's music taste is eclectic? And why do we bother to ask, in that case?
April 18, 2024 at 1:08pm
April 18, 2024 at 1:08pm
Tomorrow Today

Do you ever listen to people’s answers to the question, “What would you do if you ruled the world?” I do, although the answers always horrify me. People throw out ideas in magnificent confidence that just this one rule here or this tweak there would make things so much better. And I’m sitting there thinking, “Did you ever think of the consequences of that action? Has it never occurred to you to wonder why it hasn’t been done before?” Or, if it has, don’t you know how it invariably goes wrong and results in the exact opposite of your intentions happening?

No one ever seems to face the fact that we’re all human. That we don’t have perfection in any way. That all our answers are inevitably flawed and will ultimately bring about disaster. “No one” means you don’t have special dispensation and the same goes for me. Both of us, if ever placed in that position would make the most awful mess ever imagined. And the reason is we’re human.

So, unless we’re prepared to start by admitting that we haven’t got a clue, we’re beaten before we start. The only way to mitigate our mistakes is to begin by preparing for the worst. We don’t instigate anything until we’ve already created the means to dismantle it hastily if it starts to go wrong. It is indeed a case of “work out your salvation in fear and trembling.”

Perhaps the best policy would be to duck the question by saying, “Absolutely no idea, mate.”

Word count: 255
April 17, 2024 at 6:01am
April 17, 2024 at 6:01am
Favourite Misspellings # 1

I went to collage but only for a piece of paper.
April 12, 2024 at 6:01pm
April 12, 2024 at 6:01pm
Review, Anyone?

Isn’t it funny how your best stuff never gets reviewed. That they ferret out things you’ve nearly forgotten and don’t think much of, ignoring your beloved babies as though they’d been hidden in a dark corner somewhere.

Or maybe it’s just that we like the latest ones, the ones that have surprised us by actually being quite good, that we haven’t had time to grow familiar with and so lose respect for. I know it’s true that I love the most recent ones the most and wish that Read & Review wouldn’t keep digging around in the past.

And it’s also true that when someone asks what I’d like them to review, I have to think hard, run through the old portfolio looking for something, and always end up by suggesting the latest thing because I can’t think of anything I like better. Of course there isn’t - I’ve only just fallen in love with it!

Still, it’s weird how they always pick the duffers, the ones that would be first to go in a port clear out. Perhaps it’s true that writers are terrible judges of their own work

Word count: 188
April 12, 2024 at 12:07pm
April 12, 2024 at 12:07pm
Two Strings

Like a soccer game, I am a creature of two halves. I was born to a mother and father of solidly working class (blue collar) stock, but grew up in a society that was uniformly middle class. As a result, I found myself in England with a foot in both camps, able to understand and speak easily with both sides of the English coin.

I was even told at times that I was the ideal ambassador between the two (at the thought of which, I recoiled in horror). The really odd thing was that I was happiest when with my working class brethren. Though my upbringing had been so middle class, I loved the greater openness and straight talking of the workers. It helped that my colonial accent confused both sides and gave me easy access to their company.

And now in America, my dual nature continues to assist. I love the company of those whose accents I can barely understand. It’s music to my ears and they speak of life in terms that I recognise and sympathise with. They are even so uncomplicated that they’ll make no secret that they love my “British” accent. I don’t usually tell them that it’s really a terrible mixture of all sorts of accents.

I’m quite sure that people hearing and reading me would think me what the Brits call “posh.” But the fact is that’s a veneer and my heart beats to a steadily working class rhythm. I love both lobster and sausages ‘n mash.

So that’s me in a nutshell. You could say that it’s no coincidence that, astrologically, I’m a Gemini. Two for the price of one, I always say.

Word count: 280
April 11, 2024 at 4:43pm
April 11, 2024 at 4:43pm
Pardon my Ennui

Recent scientific studies have proved that being a scientist involved in recent scientific studies increases the risk of leaping to ridiculous conclusions.
April 9, 2024 at 8:44pm
April 9, 2024 at 8:44pm
The Game of Thrones Thing

I thought that GoT would be like a sort of Wonderland Challenge but on steroids. Turns out I was right - it’s on steroids, yes, but nothing like Wonderland. For a start, it’s as big or as small as you make it; it’s much more up to you than any challenge I’ve seen before. And the fact that we’re in teams means that you’re not just there for yourself; you have to take the team into account too. Again, that depends very much on how much of a team player you are.

The one thing I was told about it before I joined is also true - it’s not really much to do with the book. The names are used here and there and there are a lot of vaguely medieval illustrations, but otherwise it’s based on everything in general and nothing in particular.

These are just a few notes after I’ve been involved for a week and have begun to understand how it works. I want to see if I agree with them when I’m done with it (that’s if it doesn’t kill me, of course - I’m using it as a sort of slave driver for my own production). I might even update this occasionally.

Do I like it? Well, I moaned a lot at first but that’s just me at the start of any new venture. I’m really beginning to enjoy it now.

I think.

Word count: 235

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