It continues to be a non-Summer Summer. In the conservatory, the three dishes set to catch the drips caught quite a number when we were away (so did we).
However, for the first time in ages even the shadow of a migraine is absent. It probably won't last but at least a little clear mental space is a delight. And I'm proud to say that I did spend one day cycling quite a long way down Loch Lochay and back and was none the worse for it: not exactly athlete territory but better than sitting for ten hours at a desk.
Now it's back to the pamphlets. All sorts of plotting going on here. More publications afoot. Various interesting submissions falling through the letter-box. Most have, sadly, to be returned to their owners but I think it's reassuring in many ways that there is more poetry worth putting into a pamphlet than I can handle and at least I've had time to give a bit of feedback. When the standard is good, it often comes down to taste. You simply like some people's poems more than others -- and, come to that -- some of some people's poems more than others. Occasionally the selection a person has sent just doesn't grab you, though you can see they're good.
Recently I had some beautifully presented work from a poet whose central theme was Scotland's national sport. Now I ought to be interested in it, but I'm not. I am fond of poet Eddie Gibbons who loves football and writes about it too, but I have no affection for footie itself. Perhaps it's because we weren't allowed to play it at school. Years ago when I used to write romantic short stories for popular women's magazines (it was another life: every cell in my body has changed since then), I had to get someone to take me to a match in Manchester. The plot required hands to be held in a football crowd and I wanted to make it authentic. It wasn't a dramatic match -- I seem to remember the final score was nil-nil -- but I enjoyed it. I could see it could be fun, but it wasn't my world.
But this is like the 'Do not send me villanelles' thing. I don't pretend it's reasonable. When working on a publication, I type all the poems out myself, to get inside them. After that I spend a lot of time reading, re-reading, scrutinising, rehearsing layouts and so on, just like I would with my own poems. Probably a ridiculous length of time in fact. But I choose to spend my time on forms - and subject matter - that are personally sympathetic. I expect most people would be the same.
Entries for the STORY competition have started to hot up a little bit too, which is just as well or it won't raise enough money to pay the prizes and the judge! The HappenStance bank account is less than flush just now. So if you're reading this and you know any short story writers, do encourage them to enter. The free tick-box critique is well worth having, I believe, even if you don't win. Most competitions give no feedback at all and your story just disappears into the maw of the machine. Besides, with Janice Galloway as judge?? What an amazing writer!
Oh and I have discovered how HOT the MacBook gets on your knee. It's like a hot water bottle. This is going to be comforting in the winter. I did my personal letters this week and my GoodReads reviews on it and I've finally come to face the truth: my fingers are happier writing on keys than with a pen. My brain must have finally made the switch. And the little screen on your knee is less stressful on the eyes for some reason. It feels quite relaxing working that way.
On with the work!