Understating the obvious

Well it’s been a while, hasn’t it?! Mind you, you should be used to my somewhat hit and miss offerings of late (ahem, over the past few years…).

Right now I can point towards ‘these unprecedented times’ as my reason (ermmm, excuse). As to my infrequent and erratic appearance during the months and years prior to ‘the current circumstances’, well your guess is as good as mine as to the reasons why. I’m sure there would be overlap, if we chose to compare notes.

One thing that the CoViD-19 pandemic (euphemisms are so over-rated) has does is put a big spanner in the works on the novel that I was editing. Given that its storyline is virus-related (sort of), I just couldn’t get my head in the correct space to continue editing.

I’m not worried about the possible criticism – oh, she used CoViD-19 as an easy inspiration – oh, it’s lazy writing – oh, why would I want to read that after the terrible things that have been happening – oh she is profiting out of others’ grief and misfortune – and so on. Whatever you write, you will always be criticised, there will always be someone who wants to tear you to shreds. And, really, profit? I’m under no illusion that making any kind of living out of writing isn’t guaranteed, especially not these days!

Don’t get me wrong, I am lucky to be able to work from home. I’m also a little less lucky because I have a condition which means I need to shield/self-isolate more than your average person. It’s fine. I’m employed, I can pay my bills, I’m not suffering. But, these changes in circumstance have been a challenge. For those of us not in terrible difficulties (and for that I thank my lucky stars, my ancestors, this good Earth, any heavenly body or otherwise who is listening), this enforced stay at home period has resulted in ups and downs.

For me the downs meant a feeling of near-revulsion for my draft novel. Not because the plot is virus/pandemic related (all is not as it seems, if that’s not too much of a spoiler!), but just because my focus and concentration was suddenly directed elsewhere:

  • where to set up my home office (such as it is)
  • wondering how long before my eyes fell out from squinting at a laptop screen when I normally use two large desktop monitors in the office
  • how many times I would have to reset my printer to hook up with my home WiFi
  • how to set up my new work mobile phone
  • overcoming my revulsion for Skype/Zoom (I really do not like seeing my digital self)

The list could go on and on. I also felt guilty for allowing these, quite frankly, insignificant things to consume me when I could be in a much, much worse situation. Swear words were said, many, many times.

I’m only human. Like many, many others, I had to learn to adapt, to not keep beating myself with an imaginary stick for not making the most of my down-time by writing. But in truth, writing (or rather editing) felt like a bridge too far. Too much mental energy for the amount I had spare after all the work ‘stuff’ and the dark inability to tear myself away from the news as I ate my lunch or ‘relaxed’ after work.

Finally though, I had a breakthrough. Last night, unplanned, I managed to do some editing and amazingly resolved a plot problem that had been haunting me for a long, long time. I was quite surprised, to understate the obvious.

I’m not setting myself a goal for my next breakthrough. There is no deadline. Let’s face it, this novel has been a work in progress for several years, so the latest intermission won’t make much difference. I’m just thankful that I haven’t permanently lost my mojo.

It seems my writerly brain is alive and well, if a little peripatetic at the moment.

Stay safe everyone.

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Now, I know – dVerse Meet the Bar

How many times do you turn tangled memories

over and over in your mind?

How many half-heard conversations

do you decide were just concoctions of a wishful-thinking

wondering?

Images advance and recede, side-step and sway

out of your vision – and the faces, oh the faces,

they are wreathed in wraith-like wisps of mist,

tantalisingly out of reach.

You fear that you are merely fanciful, creating a castle of cards –

oh, no, not a house! – of four feuding families

that will collapse under the weight of your expectation.

‘Where did I come from?’

‘What blood runs like rivulets in my veins?’

Now, I know. Now, I know.

 


The lovely Björn was this week’s host over at dVerse, the poet’s pub, where he asked us to use alliteration and consonance in our poems. I used this opportunity to reflect on some news I received this week about a certain part of my family’s history. It answered a great deal of questions that have been floating around in my head for a long time.

If you feel like putting pen to paper, so to speak, head on over to dVerse and join in!

Aleksander_Gierymski,_Żydówka_z_pomarańczami

This is “Jewess with Oranges” painted by Aleksander Gierymski.

Irrelevant anyway – DVerse Open Link Night 258

in the face of –

darling, you simply don’t have what it takes – 

you have to believe that you do.

because if you don’t, then what the hell is it all for?

what is it for,

if you are a mere memory, ever fading, whispered on the wind that will never brush your long-gone skin?

what is it for,

if your life’s work is only what you have created at the behest of others,

filed away in a forgotten archive

until, archive found, a person never to be known to you decides that since

your name is unknown to them and unknown to whom they are beholden

you were irrelevant anyway?

 

and then you are gone

 

what is it for,

if you cannot believe in yourself?

what is it for?

what is the essence of you?

what does what you have left behind

 

say,

 

about you?

 

do not let them tell you

that for which you yearn is of no relevance

that the only way is the way from which you turn

that success is not worth chasing

that the aching in your bones is only physical

that you can take pills for that

that you can put all that to one side

 

that

 

is wrong.

 

Keep writing.

That is who you are.

 


This is my belated entry to the Dverse Open Link Night, that lovely poets pub was open for business for poetry old and new, of any kind. I, on the other hand, was not open, so I hope there are a few poets lounging around today, nursing a pint of craft beer or a single malt whiskey.

It surely isn’t too late to take part – why not pop on over there to join in or just read some varied and wonderful work?