too much information

I said yesterday, not for the first time, that I’m not writing as much as I used to. I still jot down notes on scraps of paper or in notebooks, but I don’t seem to sit over them and nag at them like I did.

I used to find train and bus journeys a perfect opportunity to stare out of the window for inspiration, to worry at words, sketching out alternatives, scratching out false starts, mentally running through phonemes trying to find a rhyme or a word or phrase with just the right shape and sound.
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blurred borders

As a woman whose business falls broadly within the technology sector, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations recently that talk about “women in tech” as if there were a clear dichotomy between arts and science.

Personally, I find it hard to view the world in stark black and white like that.
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fear of losing it

Actually, not fear of losing it so much as fear of losing them. Some ten years of digital photos (plus assorted translations, stories, poems, and other memories) stored on an external hard drive which is currently refusing to boot.

There comes a point, of course, where you have to admit that the past does disappear and this is just something you have to deal with.

I am currently taking comfort in the idea that “Nothing is lost for ever […] except for the Cathedral of Chalesm”, coupled with the fact that the little blue light still comes on when I connect the disk, so perhaps it is not altogether dead.

Some more recent photos, including this one, have not been lost:

yellow daisy-type flower

upgrades and improvements

convolvulus growing on a vertical wall

Apropos not a lot, I’ve been pondering the influence of computers on poets and their writing.

When I started to read poetry – from Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, Belloc’s Cautionary Tales and Palgrave’s Golden Treasury – most of the poems started each line with a capital letter; when I started to write poetry, I did the same.

Later, as I read more modern poets, I learned that this was not compulsory: poems can be punctuated like prose, with capital letters only appearing at the start of a new sentence. I’ve been writing uncapitalised poems for most of my adult life. Which means that I’m always slightly surprised when I see a modern poet capitalise each line.
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on target

I’m not at all sure that I like targeted ads and automatic sign-ups to mailing lists when you buy from a website; I may have nothing to hide, but I don’t like the idea of my emails being read and of organisations – public or private – keeping tabs on me.

Sometimes the ads and mail outs are so wildly off-course that they are funny, but on occasions it’s uncanny how well they seem to know you. An email in my inbox this morning makes me suspect that Big Brother is watching me personally:

amazon targeted mail ("as you've shown an interest in books...")
It’s absolutely true: I have “shown an interest in books.”

I don’t think that can possibly be true of a few million other people whose email addresses are on record with Amazon, can it?
 

logic test

This morning, I wanted to make a pun on the idea of a poet as a “maker” and a poem as “a made thing”; before I did so, though, I went to Google to check that I had the etymology right. What I found reminded me of those IQ test questions where you fill in the next word in a set or in a sequence.

Here the sequence starts “poet, poem, poetry,” but the final word is not the one I would have expected:

derivation of word "poem". Google results

computer consumables

Yesterday’s post touched on domesticity and cleaning, so I think this is as good a time as any to post this poem.

Slattern



My laptop

is a messy eater. Each morning

I find tell-tale crisp crumbs

            wedged

between its square white teeth


alongside

cracker fragments and

the improbably orange powder

of industrial snacks.



It’s happy

sat atop a take-out pizza box

and olive stones have never yet

upset its equilibrium.


It’s anchored

to the desk by coffee rings

and gin-and-tonic lemon juice

has glued the disc drive shut.



Pass me

a paper towel and I will wipe

that smear of melted chocolate

from the space bar                   lip.

 
 
Remember: Don’t confuse the narrator with the writer. You may have seen the photo of a dreadfully dirty keyboard the other day, but you should not assume that this poem is in any way based on real life!!