Now I can feel the panic slowly burn its way through my veins like some vintage 40-year-old Scottish island single malt. Actually, the panic thing is right, but the malt thing is imagination. For me Scotch is not a pleasant drink, though I think that I can tell the difference between Teacher’s and something decent. But all of this is beside the point. I have now left the writing of my Open University essay to the last few days and I am savouring, not the full bouquet of a cask matured liquor, but rather the familiar guilt flavoured concern that I should have started this weeks or at least days ago. But I didn’t and, as I type, haven’t. And I hope that this flirting with deadlines will improve the intensity of the writing.
Fat chance of that, especially as my further development of my ability to improvise displacement activity at the most inappropriate moments, will mean that I will now go off for my swim and worry my way through thirty minutes of hard swimming and then through an equal time sipping my tea while making desultory notes in my ever-present notebook (without which, etc. etc.) which is rapidly filling, and will soon join the rapidly growing collection of multi-coloured volumes hidden under clipped papers which detail the stages through which each of my poems has gone.
I did buy a slight more upmarket notebook which I fondly thought I would break out when I go to London, but it looks as though that one will be in use long before late April. And in some ways I am please with that, because it means that I am using the notebook for what it was intended and not just a rather drab piece of pocket furniture. I am looking at my present red notebook in front of me and it does look almost comically aged. It certainly looks used and that is a good thing.
What I write in the thing varies. I have never recovered from hearing one real poet quote from her notebook and I was aghast at the polished quality of her first thoughts! I have just opened my notebook at random and I read the great poetic musing, “I wonder how the taking for this place are doing!” This refers to the refurbishment of the café/restaurant in my swimming pool and the difficulty I have of seeing how the large investment that has been put into the place is ever going to be recouped. Hardly poetic. Thought that thought in my notebook is followed by, “Dark frozen waves dissolve into light grey of drying cement defying an estimation of the flat.” Which is a bit more poetic, but not quite so clear. And not made much clearer by other comments like, “Vibration of the barber tape and questing lassitude” and “the wave curl embracing gravity”. To be fair, I can remember writing these and they refer to building work. Though I also recognize the comment, “Where are my poems? I keep writing notes and nothing comes out the other end!” If only the writing of notes was a mechanical part of the production. But it’s not. There is no strict correlation between the quality and quantity of notes and the delivery of something I could call poetic. But I think that belief is the force of a word that I have written in capital letters in my notebook, “APPLICATION” might well be the key. It is exactly that I need to apply to the situation in hand: have my swim, drink me tea and start writing!
My swim was quite satisfactory and the cup of tea even more so as I think that the hand of the person making it slipped and I had a lot more vegetation than usual and felt quite braced up at the end of my imbibing.
Lunch was from Can Moncho and I actually bought some fideua to make up for the fact that we served it yesterday to the eager masses and didn’t manage to try any ourselves! We were given half a chicken for our efforts so we have nothing to complain about! We have yet to have a bad meal from this take-away and the chicken is the best in Castelldefels.
I have made a start on the essay by writing the bibliography. Or at least some of it. I have also set up the headers and page numbers for the finished essay. I have set the two parts of the question out and I have annotated the two theoretical extracts that we have to use. In other words, I’ve actually written bugger all. But when I have it will seamlessly fit into place. My aim is to get a draft of part one of the essay before I go to bed today. Draft of part two by bedtime tomorrow. Finished essay by bedtime on Tuesday. Essay sent off by lunchtime on Wednesday. An ambitious timetable which is almost designed to fail. But at least it is something to fail against, so to speak!
As you will have gathered, this typing is yet another example of the displacement activity for which I am famous. But at least I have made something of a start. And that has lessened the sense of panic to a ridiculous and totally unjustifiable extent. But that’s how I roll!
What is a more real fear is that I will do other ‘work’ on my poems to add to the collection which is to be found at http://smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es/
rather than stick to writing the essay which is the present pressing demand on my time.
There, that was a more subtle introduction of the clickable link to the drafts of poems that will eventually make up some part of my next book, ‘Flesh Can Be Bright’ – publication date: Autumn, 2015. (Pre-orders taken.)