Includes book reviews and bits from writer's journal. For the professional stuff, see website link below left.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Been and gone and done it

— and then I undid it again.

I brought across my writer's journal and my 'Cronewyze' blog. The merges were easy enough, although the comments didn't come as promised.

Then I had to put labels on the posts to indicate overall content, and adjust some other tags which had become vague, being out of context. It all started to look kinda messy.

And although I decided that my visuals in other places didn't really matter much, the specific links and things did. Bringing them all over here would have resulted in far too much clutter!

Instead I am seeking to integrate my other blogs via links at the top of the left side bar. And, under the tabs at the top of this blog, you'll now find more details of my witchy and healing backgrounds.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I'm thinking of merging my blogs

... some of them anyway ... of importing Shifting Fog and Cronewyze over here and just using tags to identify those posts. But would the comments get imported too or would I lose them? And what woud I do about my luvverly visuals which I love so much (particularly the Cronewyze one)? Maybe leave them there with a note and a link?

I dunno — I just have a notion that I'm too fragmented and I'd like to integrate my aspects into more of one whole. I'm speaking of my online personae: don't feel divided into separate parts in real life; they're all me. (But who knows, maybe the expression does creep into and affect the reality?)

Oddly enough I feel no such urge re the poetry blogs. They are all working fine as they are, and can stay that way.

But would it be too much trouble anyhow? Would I do better to make more visible links each to each on the respective home pages? As I have begun to do, starting here (look left).

I guess I really think I'd get more readers if the stuff was all in one place. Not so many people know about those other two blogs. I made them separate with some idea it would be helpful to potential readers. They are not just personal rambles like this blog; they share actual knowledge and experience which could, I thought, be useful to others. (I have even had people begging me to mentor them in the Cronewyze stuff.) Therefore I thought I'd make the material easier to find. Doesn't seem to be working.



  ‘Six Word Saturday’ emanates from Call Me Cate’s blog, Show My Face. To read her and other people’s ‘Six Word Saturday’ posts, click the icon.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Writer's Journal (exercise): Friday Night Drinks

Friday night I rush home after a long day in Pottsville. I usually have appointments before WordsFlow, and go shopping on the way home. So I don’t feel like cooking. It’s usually BBQ chook, instant mash and frozen peas, with a bit of fake gravy out of a packet. And wine. A bottle of cheap red on the way home, shiraz or sometimes merlot. Andrew isn’t allowed to drink, being diabetic. Even when he has just a smidgeon, it’s bad for him, and his blood sugar shows it. But he likes Zero Coke or Lemon, Lime & Bitters.

I don’t really like the taste of wine any more, I just like the effect. I’m a really cheap drunk these days, and two glasses is more than enough, small gasses moreover.

Sometimes I hanker for a good Scotch, which is way out of reach financially now, but if I had one I think I mightn’t like it after all. My tastes have changed so much.

And all those liqueurs I used to love — would they seem heavy or sickly now?

I can’t afford to drink too much anyway, when I have someone to take care of. And there is me to take care of as well. So a couple of small glasses of red with dinner do me very nicely on a Friday night ... and a Saturday night ... and a Sunday night. I finish the bottle all week, and next Friday I get me another.

Writer's Journal (exercise): Obama the President

Oh how ecstatic I was when that happened. At last, I thought, America had come of age. And I liked him so much, and his Yes We Can slogan (reminiscent of that other favourite, It’sTime!) Yes we can do this, it’s time for a radical change.

But it hasn’t turned out like that.  

‘What chance have they given him?’ someone asks. I don’t know. Couldn’t he have closed Guantanamo? Or am I being naive?  

Anyone, of course, has to be better than George W Bush, or that dreadful Palin woman who at one stage thought to run against Obama. So he started well ahead. And he is so personable, and his family so attractive. And he has a brain, unlike George W and some others. And he doesn’t play around like Clinton and Kennedy, or if he does it’s very well hidden. And he’s a Democrat.

He ought to have been the Messiah some of us expected, but in truth he seems a bit weak. And also a damn sight more warmongering than anticipated. What good, really, did killing Bin Laden do? A great propaganda victory perhaps - but the sight of him and Hilary and co all sitting around watching it on TV, like murder was a GOOD thing — that was chilling in its banality. No I don’t say Bin Laden was right or good, or anything but a mad, megalomaniac fanatic. But still. I was brought up to think two wrongs don’t make a right. Those values seem long gone now.

This became a 'cut-up' poem posted at my Passionate Crone blog.

Writer's Journal (exercise): Family Meals

The nursing home prided itself on home cooking. Not much like any cooking that has gone on in any of the  homes I’ve lived in. It was not brought in from outside, but cooked on the premises, and they did have roasts on Sundays, which I guess is a traditional family meal. But the vegetables were mashed to a pulp — for the oldies I suppose, with their dentures. I have dentures, but I can eat my veggies without having to make them so soft.

I was looking for fish on Fridays, but they didn’t seem to have that tradition. No Catholics in the home? Or did they think everyone must have lost all track of time? But if that, why roasts on Sundays?

At first Andrew said, ‘The food here is fantastic.’ A few days later it was: ‘I don’t want to eat their crap lunch!’ And after another few days, ‘Oh, they seem to have improved their cooking.’ In fact it was quite nice food but there was an awful sameness.

At home we have stirfries and grills and crockpot meals, things unheard of in that nursing home. Are the elderly considered so conventional?


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ars Poetica

At the time when my poems began getting published, I remember there was a widely-held view that poetry itself, and the making of it, ought not to be the subject of poetry. It was considered too inward, too self-referential, and so on. Yet, for a poet, this too is part of our experience — an intensely passionate and absorbing part.

I eventually arrived at the conclusion that there is no unfit subject for poetry. And I discovered that there is a great tradition of poems about poetry and the creation of poetry, known as Ars Poetica. I think the best of them have something to say to both writers and readers.

One of my favourites, by the great Yannis Ritsos, is currently featured in my 'I Wish I'd Written This' spot at Poets United. Here are a couple more which I came across recently and thought worth sharing:


when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.

 —Charles Bukowski, So You want to be a Writer


In everything there resides a poem waiting to be tapped, drained in the bucket, refined and poured over a crispy waffle.
Stuck on the interstate, in a snow storm for hours while they clear a wreck, watching the encroaching piles of white stuff drift like glaciers toward you, there is a poem in that.
Get another sweater from when Heironymous closed 50 years ago, from your grandmother, there is a poem in that.
Kiss the love of your life on New Year's Eve, only to wake up alone in the morning, there is a poem in that.
There are poems in everything, and there is nothing you can do about it except hope one bites you.

—Brian Miller, who blogs at waystationone and is one of the hosts at the dVerse online poetry community



Saturday, May 05, 2012

Adjustment (Sometimes by Torture)


I missed another WordsFlow meeting — that’s the first two this term. (My GP had a cancellation. I was desperate to talk to him about Andrew, so I grabbed it.)

Reporting by email on the meeting afterwards, the person who deputised for me said:

It's sad to hear about Andrew, but then, you will now have more freedom to move around yourself. We miss you in WordsFlow!

That unleashed my flood! (Words this time; there have already been many floods of tears, and they’re not done yet. Many words too, but mostly in poetry.) I replied:

Ta.

Went to nursing home late afternoon, to have tea with him. Nursing staff said he had been anxious about 'a readers group?' He himself told me he had tried to go to WordsFlow but 'no bugger would listen'. [I retired him from WordsFlow shortly before the end of last term, as it was proving far too tiring for him, and in any case he was barely able to participate any more due to the Alzheimer's. He was relieved at the time, but has since missed his writer identity.]

I am learning fast to take it moment by moment. In the space of 3 hours tonight he was in many moods, and degrees of lucidity or otherwise. So much love still between us on both sides, so much grief at not being happily at home together any more, so much adjustment ... and also some pleasure to be derived in each other's company wherever. 

Last night I racked my brains to come up with some strategy to successfully have him back home and kept hitting brick walls. Tonight, observing the rapid mental and physical deterioration, and facing up to the fact that I was already nursing him around the clock these last weeks before he went to hospital, I know quite well I can't cope with having him back home. Maybe when one of our kids comes up to visit, as all plan to do when possible. [He can have 52 overnight home visits a year.]

(Of course my stepdaughter was already here and helped choose the nursing home, which was wonderful. Couldn't have been better timed. And my son David put some money in my account, so I could just get whatever I needed without stressing. He and the steps are all very supportive.)

There is some good news. I asked the geriatrician to order tests for me too as Alzheimer's runs through my father's side of the family (though on my Mum's side it’s a very different story). While I was seeing the GP today re Andrew, I asked if he'd seen the results. He had. I have no sign of it whatsoever! HUGE relief. (Cognitive function intact, no sign of any recent damage to brain, not even mini strokes I might not have noticed, as many people have. Some slight changes, normal with ageing.)

Freedom. Yes, it is good to go and get a nurse instead of dealing with various practical matters myself. When I went to lunch with a friend yesterday, I had to restrain myself from becoming fidgety about getting back to Andrew‚ because there was no need. The other night I went to see the final session of Hugo at the Regent. (Lovely movie! I knew it would be.) I was on my own; I didn't want to go with anyone else. As it began and I got absorbed, I thought, 'Yes, I can do this: this being on my own.'  It is strange — I love large periods of solitude, yet have never in my life lived alone except for a few months between my first and second marriages.

Yesterday morning I took my laptop and the DVD of Tintin to the nursing home. I loved it. He seemed to enjoy it but said afterwards it was hard to follow and the 'noises off' of normal nursing home activities bothered him. Ah well, it's all an experiment now. 

I probably would have been a mess today anyway. I fall into tears at the drop of a hat. Hopefully will have come to terms with it more in another week. 

It all seemed incredibly sudden. But the GP said, not to the medicos. Andrew's frequent hospitalisation over the past year or so was an indication of decline.

Andrew was genuinely delighted I have no sign of Alzheimer's. 'When is he going to do me?' he asked, and later said he didn't know how he'd cope with a brain scan. He has forgotten he ever had any! Perhaps it's just as well.