Philosophical Meanderings of My Mind

This post Christmas/New Year season has become a sit around and do not much time. Today is Sunday, and I’m usually in Gawler in the late morning on Sundays, doing a poetry workshop with another person, or other people, but that isn’t happening today, so the first session for 2018 is more likely to happen next Sunday instead. I hadn’t planned that, but in not planning it, I was probably subconsciously planning it not to happen. I don’t/can’t know for sure, and it doesn’t matter, really, I don’t think.  I’ve had some outside time, and am now inside again, at home, and happy with that, even though it’s just a small thingmissy slightly bemused.
Staying home today, the only poetry written, if any, will be done here, with the cricket on TV and radio as the background for the day … And trips outside of course, as requested by Missy. Missy is currently lying on her sofa, looking extremely comfortable, eyes closed, ears erect, but not active … I just slapped the sofa next to me, and her eyes opened, eats turned to me, then away, and she rolled over and now has her back to me and my silliness. She’s not huffy at me, just not that interested in what I’m doing. That’s fine, we have our own lives, to some extent, the humans and the dog, and we’re enjoying our lives, together or separate.
Out of the window on my left I can see clouds, grass, plants and birds, all doing their own natural thing, obeying the rules of Nature, which make more sense to me than some of the rules of the cricket … With Nature, there is no appeal to a higher authority, because if Nature says it is so, then it is. If something other that humans were expecting, it means Nature wasn’t using the rule we thought was being used. Science may find the answer, people may think they have the answer. Much may be written, thought on, argued over, but Nature will just continue on, and we must manage as best we can, with whatever Nature and mankind do next …
There were sparrows outside, on the front lawn, about ten minutes ago, when I started writing this post. I can’t see any now, but I’m sure there are certainly lots of sparrows out there, back yard, front yard, in the trees and bushes and just everywhere. Sparrows are very successful occupants of our world. They have their needs, and seem to be able to fulful those needs well. The sparrows I saw earlier seemed to be adolescents, not quite up to adult size, and I’ve been noticing such not quite adult sparrows, and thinking about what they get up to, boy and girl sparrows, getting on with their lives, boy groups, girl groups, boys sparrows seemingly crashing into the girls groups, while girl sparrows flitter away, only to be followed and annoyed by the boy sparrow.
I’m quite likely putting my own interpretation on these actions of the sparrows, and could well be getting it entirely wrong. I’ve written a haiku about these matters previously, and it’s in my poetry collection “Tense and Still”, where I wrote about various creatures I see in my life, whether our dogs, cats I’ve seen, known, imagined, or those wild creatures I come across in my life or my travels or in my imaginings.
Thinking about these things whether I uncover the truth or not, helps me to gather ideas, things to think about can lead to things to write about, and writing about things is the thing I do. I am a writer, a poet, a blogger. Words are my tools, and I love to use these tools in the many different ways possible to use them. Poetry is my favourite method, certainly preferred over writing a novel, because of course a poem can be thought on, written, edited and published very quickly. A novel takes so much longer to complete. I have one of those ‘in progress’ at the moment, but I have a strong suspicion this novel will make only very slow progress, because I’m allowing myself to do many things other than the writing of this novel …
above the fish pond
I know being a novelist isn’t really a title I feel fits with me, the way being a poet does. The longer form of literature feels too unwieldy perhaps for me to handle. I know how to put together and publish a poetry collection, and how to market it. A small book of poetry can be printed in small numbers, and sold in small numbers, and small numbers of people get a little book of my poems to read and think about. It will never make me rich or particularly famous, but that’s fine. Money and fame are not what I write for, I write for my own amusement, and the small amounts of money/fame I gain while nice to have, will never be the major thing.
birds in garden, d, Uncategorized

Winter Feels Like Spring

Outside the plants are growing green and flowers in a variety of colours are brightening our times outside. We still have strawberries popping up in hanging baskets on our back veranda, and life is certainly sweet! Nights and early mornings are cold though, and our air conditioner on ‘heat’ is most welcome to take the edge off the cold inside.

My poetry output is coming along, with another few poems written in the past week, and one of those poems in particular seems worth sharing further, somewhere, sometime. I’m not good at this ‘getting my work out there’ stage of the poetry writing thing. But for my next collection, perhaps, next year? Who knows …

Will the real Spring nudge me into action on that front? I can but hope. As I said, I’m not good at this. I have some poems that would be suitable for children, and I know an excellent publisher for such works, but I’ve still done nothing about getting those poems to that publisher. If my head wasn’t firmly attached to me body, would it say on?

Ah, self-recrimination, how could I live without you? I’d live quite well actually, I suspect. But there’s always the next thing, the new, thing, the best thing, and so old tried and tested things are ignored, opportunities missed. But as I sometimes write on my Facebook page, Life is Good. The birds outside my back door are still flying around, hunting and eating bugs and so interesting and entertaining me.

And this lovely weather we’re having! If this is Winter, then I’m enjoying Winter very much, except for the chilly times in the evening and the morning … But I look at our indoor/outdoor temperature gauge, and it is now warmer inside than it is outside (in the shade). And the sun is shining, so I don’t have to feel as guilty about using the power for the heating (air conditioner). Our solar panels are doing their job, and even if we’re not making all of the power we’re using, at least we’re making some of it.

Thinking about the seasons, and the plants leads me to the novel I’ve been playing with. I get excited and write a bit, then something else needs to be done and this work in progress stops progressing. Again. I’m much more excited about the idea of being a novelist than I am about actually writing a novel, that’s the problem. I play with little bits of writing, and the longer novel form seems like too much of an ongoing thing.

Will Spring really help me get something happening here, with this novel? Maybe yes, maybe no. But at least other bits of writing happen. I have a book that will almost certainly be ready to launch at the end of July, at the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words 2017. The text (my part of it) is almost all written and in a document, and the other bits are on their way, and there’s still more than a full month before I need to have it. Something to be proud of for sure.

And isn’t that something we all need in our lives? Something to be proud of ourselves for. If you’ve done things in your life you’re proud of, feel free to tell us about it – leave a comment here!

book launch, dogs, pets

At It Again!

Our diggiest dog has been at it again, digging in the garden. Lah Dee, is a naughty boy, and he simply doesn’t understand that we don’t like him digging up the back lawn. My husband has done a great job at filling in on spot of the lawn that was turning into a huge trip hazard. All it’s done is make Lah Dee try a spot right next to it.

It’s frustrating for my husband and I, but I suppose it’s frustrating for the dog that he’s not supposed to do what his instincts are telling him to do. Having written those words, in reality, Lah Dee probably neither knows nor cares that he isn’t supposed to dig the lawn up. Sometimes, in another area of our property, he can dig and won’t be told off for doing it, and we won’t be upset about it.

This allowable digging is in a back area of our place, a fenced dog run, where the dogs are more or less allowed to do whatever they want. It’s well away from where people often walk, so we’re unlikely to fall victim to a huge hole, and trip over. Dogs dig, some dogs more than others. The Pharaoh Hounds are more a see and chase kind of dog breed, whereas digging is more a terrier kind of thing, but dogs can like many different things, beyond what one might expect …

When you have a dog, training is certainly easiest if you can work with your dog, taking their instincts into account. If I wanted to teach the Pharaoh Hound lots of party tricks I would probably focus on teaching them to fetch, throwing a ball or something and use food to encourage them to bring it back to me. If I wanted to do that with the Pharaohs though, I should have started doing it many years ago. The oldest of our PHs is around thirteen, while the youngest is nine, I think. I suspect it would take some intensive training to teach any of them the Fetch trick, although they will chase after things we through, when they feel like it …

That’s the sometimes frustrating thing about this breed – they’re like cats in some ways, and tend to do things only when they feel like it. The Schnauzer is much happier to do things she knows we want her to do. Well she was like that in her younger years. These days we’re very kind to her and we’re all happy just to let Nena wander around the place, or sleep as and when she wants to. Nena is fifteen, and deserves to live an easy life in elderly years.

The joys in living with pets is in seeing them through the cycle of life. Most of the dogs in our little pack were born her, and the one that was born elsewhere has had two litters of pups here with us. Birth, living, and death – it’s the natural thing. I in fact have recently had a new poetry collection published, where I wrote a bit about these issue, in particular living and death. The collection is “Tense & Still” published by Ginninderra Press, and available for purchase here.

I have had two launches of this book, one a ‘Country’ launch, the other a ‘Town’ launch. I had a fun time doing that, with the publishers there selling the books, and an MC introducing my book launcher and myself. Jo Baker was the person who launched the book for me at both events. Jo is a friend who was helping me when I was putting the collection together, and I was thrilled to have her launch the book for me, reading several of my poems, and also saying lovely things about my writing, and this book in particular.

This kind of thing is what I really enjoy doing, writing, creating books and being involved in literary events. It is so much more my style than being a dog trainer, although I certainly love living with our dogs. Dog training isn’t my fun thing to do, although I can certainly see the benefits in doing it, especially if you like to do it. I’d love to hear from people about the things they like to do with their dogs – please leave a message in the comments section!


Verse or Prose?

I’ve written what I am calling a ‘verse memoir’ detailing aspects of my life with multiple sclerosis (MS). The memoir is more or less finished, and will be printed and ready by the end of August. When I was diagnosed with MS, I looked for an easy to read book telling what it was like to be living with MS. I couldn’t find such a book.

That’s when I decided to write the book myself, and just to make it even more interesting (or so I hope) I decided to write the memoir in verse. This was even though writing a verse narrative was alien to me to a large extent, and I wasn’t really sure what the writing of one entailed. 

I’m a writer, writing mostly poetry, but short stories too. I’ve had my work published, and I’ve also self-published my work. I also have some longer works, novels, written, but they may never see the world – they’re a long way away from being publishable! There’s still time …

This memoir though, this is the work that’s had most of my attention for the past two or so years. I’ve written some relevant poems, which are in the memoir, and I’ve worked on writing the verse. I had assistance with writing in verse. I received a grant from the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust to pay for a mentor. 

This mentor has been Ray Tyndale. I’ve enjoyed working with Ray, she’s a knowledgeable person, who has written her own works in verse. Ray has done her best to get me on the right ‘verse’ track. If any of my verse memoir works as verse, it’s thanks to Ray, more than me – and if it doesn’t work as verse, well, that’s entirely my fault!

I’ve shared this memoir at various stages in various forms. The earlier versions are certainly poor attempts at verse. I think I’ve got at least a teensy bit better as I’ve gone on. Sharing my work in these earlier stages though, has led to some doubt about whether or not my work is actually verse, rather than prose chopped up. I hope it’s just that it was earlier versions shared, that led to the question. I’m nowhere near being an expert on the question of ‘what is verse?’

You know what? I’m not going to worry about this question. If it turns out my work is judged to actually be chopped up prose rather than verse, so be it. My main aim was to get the words out there, my thoughts and ideas about how to live a good life when you’ve been handed this troublesome disease to try to live well with.

I know how lonely I felt at first, not feeling understood as I wondered how to live my life now that I had MS. I’ve learned things, and met people, and these things have helped me so much. If my memoir, whatever form of writing it really is, helps other people to feel more in control of their life, and less alone, then my memoir has done the job I hoped it could do!

If you have MS, and feel alone, please reach out to others – people with MS truly do know how you’re feeling, because we’ve live through it too.


Thinking about the Now

When I hear the news, I’m struck by the shock horror issues being talked about. The world will end if the Labor Party gets re-elected, and only Abbott of the Liberal Party can save us. When I talk to certain people, they say the same thing. But I get most of my news from sources like Twitter and similar, and I follow many people with quite different ideas.

Who is right, who is wrong? Who can tell. From where I sit, things are looking good. Interest rates are down, so our housing is affordable. The Aussie dollar is finally headed down. The weather in my part of Australia is doing what it should – enough rain to keep the crops happy, without anyone being flooded out.

I think my part of the world is looking good. Am I right or wrong? I’m right about how things are going for me. My personal universe is going well. That’s all I can say – that’s all I can really judge things on. I hope your life is looking good too. That’s all I can say. Positivity and poetry both help me to stay in my happy space.


Trials of growing older

A poem, a poem, my kingdom for a poem. I’ve had a busy day today, and I’m afraid a poem hasn’t arrived yet. Will I give in and forget about a poem for today then? No I most certainly will not!

I’m looking at one of the comments on my poem from yesterday, and wondering at such lovely sounding words that describe less than lovely things. Papilloma, fibroma and lipoma. What do these musical sounding words mean? They’re benign lumps and bumps, and I don’t want them on my skin! I’m thinking about growths and other things I have that I don’t want, and thinking about ways to rid myself of such unwanted things.

So, this leads me to my poem for the day. A little bit of harmless silliness, that I hope I don’t regret posting later. Hey, I’m fifty now, and I have to face up to the fact I’m no longer young and lovely, if I ever was that.


There’s a hair on there!


I have to grin at the skin I’m in,

freckles and moles all over the place,

stray hairs growing, where none are wanted –

ladies don’t need hairs on their chinny chin chin!

Tweezers are I are good friends now,

we pluck out hair whenever we need to.

It’s a common thing as we ladies age

so I grin and bear it, and always know

this problem isn’t mine alone,

I’m one of the plucky band who

pluck out those hairs relentlessly!


Facebook distractions, Month of Poetry

I was going to write something about my Month of Poetry on this blog post. I might still do that, but I popped in on Facebook first, and saw that a particular organisation had just become Facebook friends with someone using a quite strange and confronting name.

That led me to think about why a person would use a name that indicates they’re involved in things that are illegal. I’m not going to reveal the actual name, but it’s something akin to me using a name such as, let’s say Grieving Paedophile. That’s not the actual name, but my reaction to the name is similar to the one I’ve used in my example. It made me wonder a little about them which may have been their intention, but it also made me not want to know them at all.

Why would someone go to such an extreme to be offensive, I wonder? The organisation in question obviously didn’t have such an extreme reaction as I’ve had. I wonder whether they’re going to have a fruitful relationship…

Have said all of that, I’ll now talk about my Month of Poetry so far. I’m proud to say it’s going well, in terms of actually writing at least one new poem every day of January. Some of the poems I’ve written have been pretty good, in my opinion and in the opinion of others. Some of them have been so-so at best and lame at worst.

I’ve posted some of the poems I’ve written this month on my Poetry blog, Poetic Pause. Come along for a look at it and a read if you like. There are also details of a Poetry Competition I’m involved in, for Australians only I’m afraid. Come on Aussie poets, have a look and give it a go, but be quick, entries close on 27 January!

That doesn’t matter though. My purpose for getting involved in the Month of Poetry 2012 was to get into the habit of writing something new whenever I wanted to. So, getting at least one poem written written has shown me that I don’t need to have my Muse sitting alongside of me to get the words down. This further means that when I begin my next big writing project, I should get it moving along well. This is a very good thing!

I’m still not saying what that project is going to be, but I’m looking forward to it happening, probably with a start by April this year. In the meantime, I’ll continue writing my one new poem or more every day. I have at least two poems written this month that I like enough to consider reading them at the Gawler Poetry Reading on 29 January at the Prince Albert Hotel.

If you’re anywhere near Gawler on that day, come along for a great Poetry afternoon!