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.

IMG_1321

 

SoCS Nov 23/19 – Dark Future

Not so much an advert, in the narrow/normal sense of the word, but right now here in the UK, we are being advertised to by our political parties who are all jumping up and down shouting ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ ahead of the forthcoming general election. My doormat is littered with orders to ‘Vote This Party’ or ‘Re-elect That Member of Parliament’. My recycling bin is having a field day.

I saw something about Time Square in New York on the TV the other day and remember thinking, if all those neon adverts were replaced by men and women standing in the streets shouting, would it change our approach to advertising?

I have a sight problem which renders neon adverts and high contrast imagery a disturbing blur, which ultimately leads to unstable and irritating (to say the least) double vision. I’m starting to feel the same way about the nature of politics in my country, to be honest. it has taken a nasty, divisive, dishonest and aggressive turn whicb is unstable and far more depressing than irritating. We have had three and half years of political and social upheaval (I won’t write about that particular subject here, don’t worry). It’s very very stressful.

I will vote – I value the fact that we have universal suffrage far too much to consider not voting. I am lucky enough to live in a constituency that has a decent MP who works very hard for us.

I wish it was all over, although I dread what lies ahead after 12th December. Oh the irony that the results will be know on Friday 13th….

*********************************************************************************

This is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by the lovely Linda – please visit her here to see what it’s all about.

Past Forward – dVerse

photo

I cannot do this
I cannot do this
I cannot do this
That’s what I want to say.
I am full of making the best of it,
overflowing with doing the right thing,
drowning in putting on a presentable face.
I can feel my lungs bursting
as I inhale the Vesuvius, the Niagra of emotions
roiling underneath this envelope of skin.
I wish I could vomit them up
I would enjoy the acid green bile
as it sluiced between my teeth.
I am no more blemished than any other woman of my age,
I am not comparing the events of my recent life
with the tales of others and presenting my trump card
or – God forbid! – the Joker,
(This is no laughing matter, after all).
I just want you to know that
for once in my life,
there is no schedule, no timetable
(and in any case, since when does public transport
EVER run to time?).
The list of destinations,
the horizontal flow of 24-hour clock times from left to right
is pinned vertically to the bus-stop wall –
such a mistake you see
to expect such things as
shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression & ACCEPTANCE
to follow some rigid plan,
and I am such a fool to be surprised when they slide down the shiny paper, a jumble of letters
and numbers, soggy with tears and snot.
I’m not crazy.
I haven’t lost my mind.
But there is a limit to carrying on,
to bearing the burden of being the replica,
to losing your own identity
in favour of the one who left without even a backward glance.
So now, one year down the line from that early morning call
I choose to re-model me in my own image,
I choose to seek what makes me different
rather than what brands me as ‘the same as’.
Mostly, I have done what is expected,
mostly, that has been a burden self-imposed
to honour someone I knew better after death.
That’s OK, hands up, I accept I made that choice – kind of.
But know this.
I cannot do that
I cannot do that
I cannot do that
Any
More.

———-

This week, on dVerse Poetics, Marina Sofia has asked us to write about shattering and rebuilding. What shatters our world, how do we rebuild it? Drink, faith, drugs, self-belief?

Ouch.

The timing couldn’t be more… perfect/imperfect.

Tomorrow it will be a year since my Dad had a devastating stroke, from which he never recovered. He died 12 days later. So this is kind of a tough time.

But I have decided to take part because poetry, writing in general, has been a catharsis, and so it continues. I think we all feel that, don’t we?

Please pop over to dVerse to read some excellent poems on this theme – there will be lots of deep digging, I know it. Join in – we don’t bite!