A decent lunch always puts me in the right frame of mind to start writing. Or to have a light nap and think pure, literary thoughts. Today, it has been a case of eat, coffee and write. And it is always so much better when someone else is cooking!
Yesterday was one of those lost-ish days when, for a plurality of reasons I didn’t actually have my swim. I could have, you understand, but when the optimum time to have a kid-free immersion had passed I somehow lose the energy to make the necessary effort. And there always are plenty of other things to do to fill the time.
One of which was to attempt to come to some sort of conclusion with a poem that I thought would ‘write itself’. I have discovered that the ‘write itself’ sorts of poems are almost always the ones that demand unreasonable numbers of drafts. The present poem fits neatly into this work-heavy scenario. I have, so far, notched up something like 14 drafts and I am not convinced that I am totally satisfied with the ‘final’ result.
I do try and make my poetry as accessible as possible and I have finally (and regretfully) said ‘good-bye’ to my initial approach to poetry, which was to be as elusive and opaque as possible, with the result that, after a few months, even I did not know what I was talking about! There is a sort of fear in that sort of poetry writing that does not appeal to me now. There are some (thank you Paul!) who still aver that my poetry is not at the satisfyingly Janet and John level and is deliberately obscure. Well, that may well be, but it is not the end result that I am aiming for: I am inclined to say that what I write is as clear as I can make it given the resources of language that are available to me! Or it may just be that my arrangements of words need yet more arranging!
Anyway, my attempts are sometimes, thought not always, put on smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es where I also attempt to give some sort of context to what I write. Please check it out; and I welcome any and all comments.
The anthology of poetry produced my members of the Barcelona Poetry Workshop is getting nearer to publication. The printer has been informed and work is progressing on the cover and associated details of the book. We get ever closer to publication. My own book of poems is scheduled to be published in the Spring of next year, and, although that seems a decent stretch of time away, I am acutely aware that there is precious little time for everything that I want to be in the book to be produced in time. But I remain ridiculously optimistic and believe that I am living in the best of all possible worlds. Up to a point.
I am still basking in the warm glow of delight not only at receiving my miniscule Spanish pension, but also by getting it backdated – so it appears to be a healthy sum! And has paid for my new phone. I regard the ‘money back’ on the exploding Samsung as ‘free’ money to splurge out on something of no practical value at all. And believe you me, in my retail dream world; there is always something that I ‘need’! Money is there to be spent. In the present environment with the plunging pound, it is positively sensible and, indeed, essential that you spend what you get as soon as possible before it looses even more of its value. Thanks to the foot-shooting Brexiteers, I now find myself 33% poorer than I was before the turkey voters of the UK voted for Christmas. Thank you very much for absolutely nothing, and indeed less than nothing!
It is with something approaching disgust that I read and see an increasing amount of xenophobia, which is, of course, the fancy word for racism. The traitors in the Brexit campaign who are now in government (!) have a lot to answer for, though given their own personal wealth and position they never, ever will.
Please do not assume that my default position is to consider all those who voted the opposite way from me in the Brexit campaign as idiots. The EU is hardly a model of efficient democracy. Let’s face it, the Common Market was set up by the French to give a financial boost to inefficient French peasant farmers, which is why the Common Agricultural Policy was and is an absurdity. The traitor Boris made his career by writing disinformation about the EU, which exacerbated the perceived idiocy of the institution, and we are now reaping the whirlwind of callous self-interest painted as conviction. Such attitudes by our so-called elite have worsened the reputation and authority of the governing classes and distanced them ever further from the voter.
Brexit is the apotheosis of disenchantment, the inevitable result of distance that voters feel when they no longer believe that those who are ‘placed in authority over them’ have any concern or idea about how they live. Perception is all. Forget about reality. What people ‘feel’ is more important than facts. But when facts are more ‘facts’ with the way that the media presents them it is hardly surprising that sense becomes rather more relative than it should be and, as a way of showing independence from a hierarchy that doesn’t seem to represent people (however you define that term) any more, then the counter-intuitive becomes the new norm.
The Republican Party in the US has reaped its own whirlwind from the denigration of intelligence, experts and statistics; in just the same way that the Brexit campaign pushed out-and-out lies as truth and pushed ‘feelings’ as the new reality.
I find myself needing to believe in what I have called the ‘teacher effect’ to make something positive out of Brexit. Generations of teachers have had to put up with uninformed, non-experts (ministers of education) deciding the way that schools operate. No matter how ideologically impractical some of the ‘educational’ ideas were, teachers had to make them work because they were dealing with pupils’ lives. Whatever idiocy had been deemed the political flavour of the month, teachers made sure that pupils got the most that they could out of a bad situation which was none of the teachers’ fault. I have to hope that the same effort will be made with Brexit and, in spite of the clear negativity of the process, people (including the politicians that got us into this mess) will find a way to make it work to our advantage. I am not holding my breath. As someone living in Spain with a pension from Britain paid in pounds and therefore worth 33% less than it did before the vote, I have paid and am paying a price for a policy for which I didn’t vote and, horror of horrors, we haven’t even left the EU yet. If this is what it is like with the future threat of our leaving, what the hell is the financial reality of actually being out of the EU going to be like?
The one good thing of course is that each percentage point that the pound loses increases the (relative) value of my tiny Spanish pension. And that word ‘relative’ is the key, after all whatever value in pounds might be; I live in Spain where the value of the euro is constant. Sort of. After all, my euros would only be of more value if I was able to spend them in the UK. Where I do not live. Ah well, that’s international living for you!
I have decided to go back to contact lenses. I have hated and continue to hate wearing glasses but, with the selfishness inclusiveness of an only child I now find myself both short sighted (as I always have been) and now also long sighted (as an added aspect of the riches of ageing) and have not got on with attempts to use contact lenses to compensate for both elements of my seeing. The one eye for reading the other for distance, simply did not work for me and so now I have decided to go with the everyday contacts with magnetic glasses (well, there has to be some aspect of a gadget to keep me happy) for reading. Never let it be said that I was averse to new experiences!
My optician was going to provide me with monthly lenses but, from past experience, I know that I am only suited to daily lenses – then I do not have to go through the procedures of actually looking after them.
I will have to see if I can get back into the habit of wearing lenses. At least these days they are soft and not the hard bits of plastic that took my eighteen-year-old eyes weeks to get used to.
I am hoping that the ‘broken’ glasses worn around the neck will make me look more intellectual and that look might transfer itself to my efforts to learn a more grammatically and orthographically correct form of Spanish!
Because, if perception works for Brexiteers over reality, then perhaps it might work for me in the linguistic wasteland in which I am struggling!