It’s Christmas Eve and I really would rather be elsewhere – probably not in the local pub where there’s a karaoke evening in full swing, but perhaps in the kitchen where there’s a bottle of something suitably cheap and fizzy, half full or half empty depending on your point of view.
But I have a blog to write.
After all, this blog has hundreds – not thousands, but definitely hundreds – of followers; and many of them are in different time zones and of different cultures and, despite the imminent festivities celebrated by many in this part of the world, may, possibly, still be interested in reading the sort of nonsense I regularly produce at weekends.
Unfortunately, I have been confined to the house for days with what I think must be the worst cold I’ve ever had. And, when I don’t go out, where am I supposed to find ideas and things to write about?
As always, my email inbox is a window on the world, but there is little of interest that I can share from the last week. Let’s be honest, the most interesting emails are never going to be appropriate for sharing.
So, with little hope of finding inspiration, when I sat down to write this post, I looked at the recent stats and saw that, earlier today, someone had read the post through the square window.
The top photo is from that post, which was written three and a half years ago; I still remember waiting in that bus shelter and pondering the view.
At the end of that post, I wrote:
sometimes things are just too big to be effective. Perhaps if we look closer and isolate each element in the bigger picture we may find something worth saying.
That’s really a nod to an incident in Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I referenced more explicitly a couple of years earlier in the post polish/spanish/english: a few thoughts on poetry & other writing .
I am definitely still taken with the idea of narrowing things down until there is something specific to write about: I much prefer poetry competitions where there is a given theme rather than those that are ‘open’, as there is a concrete and defined topic. Even if each entrant is allowed to interpret it as they choose, I feel that at least there is some common denominator on which to judge the entries and, whether or not I like the starting point, at least I have a place to begin.
That’s why, when a friend sent me a title the other week, I found myself able to write some kind of a poem for perhaps the first time in months, while, when I have the world of possibilities open to me, I am stumped for ideas for a blog post.
No one is going to tell me what to write today, so I’m going to settle for posting last year’s Christmas poem, which is another example of something written under pressure, as friends asked me to produce something for their blog.
Incidentally, if you’ve read this far, you might like to download one of my books.
A poet’s dozen is a collection of essays on poetry; I don’t think it is likely to offer a lot of inspiration for new poems, but it looks at things like perspective, workshops, criticism, narrators, etc. And it’s free on Amazon until Boxing Day.
If you don’t already have a copy, why wouldn’t you download it?
Alternatively, if you do already have a copy, why not leave a review and/or tell someone else about it? (Of course, despite the post title, there’s no pressure!)
2 thoughts on “under duress”
Deadlines are the one sort of lines you are allowed to write on.
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Heh. If you don’t pin deadlines down with a pen nib, I’ve heard they have a tendency to go whooshing by.
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