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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Some sort of milestone!



Half a Million!

It hardly seems believable, but I have now had over 500,000 visitors to this site!  I have reached some sort of significant point in my writing.  Or not, of course.  I know that some kids have millions of followers who regularly read their work; I have two or three followers and a silent readership!
            But I appreciate other eyes getting something from my writing and I look forward to the next half million so that I can reach seven figures!
            Readers are the reason that I keep writing.  So, thank you!  All of you!


Essays now and then

My itching fingers return to the keys to write further episodes in my life in Catalonia.  The gap has been due to the pressures of not writing my final piece of work for the OU course that I have now completed as the penultimate step towards squaring my BA!  I may not have been writing my final essay submission, but not writing something (in academic terms) is a full time occupation and precludes doing anything else.  And the more you don’t do, the more time doing nothing takes up time!  Prevarication is bloody hard work!
            However, now the EMA is done.  Or at least it is sent off.  There was much more that I could have done and even as I sit here typing I realise that there are minor and major elements that should have been written in a slightly different way.  But there is only so much that you can do before you begin to think that the rock of Sisyphus was a mere speck of grit compared to completing an essay.
            I do not make things simple for myself by wanting (always) to take a slightly off-centre approach to what we have been asked to do.  This is not the Open University way and I am determined that my next (and final) course will exemplify a more coherent and strictly OU line on what I do.  Probably.
            As a sign of how I intend to work from October of next year, I have, already, written in the deadlines of each of the assignments that I have to complete.  I have also started a general bibliography in which I am determined to list all of the texts that I have and I refer to so that the writing of the assignment bibliography is not the final fatal icing on the cake when you least need complications.  There are, as there always are, simple ways to make academic life easier.  And I intend to find out the truth of the suggestions that I have assiduously ignored throughout my career.  Many of these approaches, of course, I have taught – but that is just another case of the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ approach to life.  Perhaps it is time for me to follow the advice that I have been peddling throughout my time as a teacher and actually apply it to my life as a student.
            Although the end of module essay is finished, or at least as finished as I am prepared to make it, I do not think that it is in the form that people outside the OU will appreciate – so I am considering rewriting it to reflect more the pseudo-research that I did to complete it.  I do not think that the final essay reflects my interest in the art of Guevara, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the extent of the generosity of the owners of the Guevara paintings that I was allowed to see and photograph in the private collection in London.
            I think that a rewritten essay could reflect more of the work that I have seen, rather than being restricted to one major piece by Guevara.  Let’s face it, my other chosen painter, Hockney, is hardly obscure and it is very easy to find reproductions of any of his works.  The same cannot be said for Guevara and my work should, I think, do something to keep the memory of Guevara alive and anything written about his works should have a wider circulation. 
And that is where Ignacio’s work about his great-grand uncle comes into play.  I have been invited to contribute version of my essay to be placed on a site which Ignacio is setting up and which will contain modern references to the artist.  It will be especially gratifying to have work completed for a couple of tutors give a wider audience.  All it needs is writing – and this time I can take a freer approach.  In theory.  Let’s see how it works out.  At least I have said that I am going to do it, and this site is a place to check up on my progress!

Flesh Can Be Bright

Now is the time for me to get to grips with the editing of the book that is going to be published on United Nations Day this year.  There is a lot to do, and I am still waiting for some parts of the book to be completed.  I am, it must be admitted, a little more confident that my original plan for the book can be realized, though I am also conscious that October is only a few months away and six (count them!) elements in the book are not complete.  But I have faith and at least three of them are in active progress.  I think.
            The physical production of the book is a challenge.  I have my ideas about how I want it to look, but finance and practicalities might dictate that I have to modify my ideas.  I have a series of fallback positions to accommodate reality, but there are some things on which I am not prepared to compromise.  At least, not without a fight.  I have a vision about its final appearance and I want to stick as closely as possible to what I have in mind.
            Now the real work begins as I get the content ready for publication.  October seems very near!

Sun

“Mother, give me the sun!”  I do agree with the sentiment in that phrase, though not, obviously wanting to be in the same position as the young ‘hero’ in Ghosts by Ibsen.  I have been too long not “i’ the sun” as one of the characters in Much Ado has it and I can feel myself getting paler by the moment.
            I have vowed to got to the beach more this year, on the basis that the on-shore (do I mean that, or is it off-shore) wind is more likely to tan the skin – or flay it!  One has to take one’s chances.

Holiday

Just to complicate all of my carefully thought out timetables, we have decided (almost) to go on holiday.  We want to see if there is anything left of the beach that used to be at the far end of Gran Canaria.  Maspalomas used to be one of the triumphs of any holiday on the island, but the last time that we were there we were horrified to see that the beach had become a stony waste and the kiosks had become sea-threatened bastions from a previous existence!
            I do realise that the beach is actually part of a National Park, or at least the dunes are – but it cannot be right to let the beach go to rack and ruin without doing anything substantial about repairing it.  It will be interesting to see what has happened in the intervening years to what was one of the best beaches that I have been on.
            And, of course, it will be time for tanning.
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