ROW80 Check-In 21/07/2013

Warning!  1

Well I only had one goal and the news I have to report is…epic fail! I have only typed about two pages last week when I should have done seven! Looking on the bright side, I suppose two pages is better than nothing at all.

It’s all that Mike Young’s fault because he was talking once about doing free online courses and being a (nosy cow) intellectually curious person, I looked up the site. Oh dear! What a cornucopia of treats! Here’s the link for anyone that wants it. https://www.coursera.org/courses

Anyway, I signed up for a beginner’s guitar course. I have always wanted to play the guitar and started back when I was fourteen but found it hard going and gave up, something I have always regretted. Since then I read this book called Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed. Like so many others I believed that people where born talented and so when I picked up the guitar and couldn’t play like Hendrix I thought, I’m just no good at this and gave up.

But in this book the author explains that no-one comes out of the womb doing incredible stuff. We learn things through doing them over and over again, by practising. If I had known that when I was younger then I might be the axewoman cometh by now. How annoying!

The author reckons that to get really good at something you have to spend ten thousand hours doing it. Well I’ve started my ten thousand hours on the guitar this week. It’s going to be a long road but this time I’m determined to learn to play the thing! So not much news on the writing front but more about music. My dream would be to combine my love of writing and music and learn to write my own songs! I’d be in seventh heaven if I could do that!

Rain!

rain falling

This is a poem I wrote a while ago. Using it now is probably wishful thinking as the last few days have been so hot I would actually welcome a bit of cooling rain right now.

Rain

Curtain of water,
Familiar blanket of wetness,
Grey skied creator of puddles,
Stealer of the sun;
Drowning warmth in your cold dampness,
Sliding over the street and dripping from drainpipes.
Nature’s percussion
Playing on the ground.

The Origin of the Names of the Days of the Week.

Odin!

English is a mongrel language because bits of it come from all over the world. But a lot of the days of the week are actually taken from the Viking gods.

Monday is short for Moon-day; this is from a time when people worshipped the sun and the moon.

Tuesday is from the Viking God of Justice, Tyr; and means Tyr’s day.

Wednesday is from Woden or Odin and means Woden’s day.

Thursday is from Thor and means Thor’s day.

Friday is named after Odin’s wife, Freeya, and means Freeya’s day.

Saturday is named after the planet Saturn and means Saturn’s day.

And finally, rather obviously, Sunday means the day of the Sun.

Now as a practising pagan, we all have our favourite Gods and Goddesses but my personal favourite is Odin. Sometimes I feel guilty and think because I am a woman I should honour a female Goddess more but Odin’s hold on me is too strong and I always come back to him. He is the God of my three favourite things; wisdom, poetry and magic. Odin has a reputation for being deceitful and cunning but I think he’s just smart. Who would want to worship a stupid God, after all?

Jane Austen’s House

2012-09-15 11.47.08

2012-09-15 11.43.21

2012-09-15 10.36.46

The advantage of living in Bath, apart from all the wonderful eighteenth century architecture, is that there are lots of great attractions here. Just one of them is the Jane Austen Museum. The house it is in is not actually the house Jane herself lived in but it is almost exactly the same as the house Jane lived in was only about two doors up the street and the layout inside is identical.

The first photo is of a sort of writing table that Jane Austen might have used. The second photo (who is that elegant woman?) is me wearing eighteenth century type clothes. And the third photo was taken on a day when the Jane Austen Society in Bath all dress up in period clothing and have a parade in Bath. I only found about this by accident. When I first saw them all, I thought it was a film set (not unusual in Bath).

It wasn’t until I asked someone that they told me. Everyone looked much more elegant than I did because my photo was just a quick snap taken inside the museum whereas they had all made their own costumes and lavished a great deal of time and effort on looking the part. I think they all look wonderful!

ROW80 Check-In 14/07/2013

There is no such thing as too many books.

Well I haven’t done one of these for a while! Was going to type up a list of goals but then I realised that as far as writing was concerned, I only really had one goal. So my goal is to type one page a day. That is enough for now. On a good day I do two pages and on a really good day I do three but one page is enough. If I miss a day then I will try to catch up by doing more pages on another day.

That’s it!

Another Beautiful Poem from Beth Camp

http://bethandwriting.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/summer-phone-call.html?showComment=1373366210227#c3262628796335311213

Today’s post is a re-blog of a poem by the wonderfully talented poet, Beth Camp. I subscribe to her blog which I have been following for a while and it is my opinion that her poetry is really good. Click the link and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Congratulations Andy Murray!

Andy Murray

Today Andy Murray became the first British man in 77 years to win the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. So Congratulations Andy Murray!

When he first emerged years ago I must confess I didn’t like him very much because at that time he struck me as cold and unemotional. I started to admire his ability to play great tennis but it was when he cried last year after losing the final to Roger Federer that he completely won me over.

Well done Andy; you were magnificent!

The Rise of the Modern Freak Show.

Freak Show 1

There is what I find a disturbing trend on the TV nowadays and that is what I call the modern freak show. There are programmes about people who have terrible crippling disabilities and diseases and the cameras are delving into every aspect of their lives.

I know that some good might come of this in helping publicise rare medical conditions and perhaps encouraging research into these disabilities and if it helps people in the future then it can’t be all bad.

But personally I never watch these shows because it would make me uncomfortable. There’s an element of schadenfreude about this sort of thing. It reminds me of the old Victorian freak shows where they would charge admission to look at badly deformed and disabled people.

Obviously the programme makers have permission to do these programmes or they wouldn’t be broadcast but I just find this whole sort of thing extremely unpleasant. Am I wrong? What do you think?

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison 1

Today is the anniversary of the death of Jim Morrison; he died on July 3rd 1971. Now I realise that in some respects he is not the most admirable of people. He was essentially, an alcoholic who beat up his girlfriend. Now I never have and never will condone violence against women (or men) but I do realise that alcoholism is an illness that does tend to bring out the worst in people. It certainly did in Jim Morrison.

And yet. He was and still is, a music business legend and a rock God. He did have an immense talent as a rock performer and a poet and writer. And my God, was he sexy! In his younger days he was easily the sexiest lead singer the music business ever produced.

Now for some time I’ve been planning to write a book loosely (and I mean loosely) based on the life of Jim Morrison because he strikes me as one of those larger than life characters that you normally only come across in books. You might not want to live with the guy but as a character in a book, he’s absolutely perfect. He has all the conflict you could ever need before he’s even stepped outside the door!

So if we accept ourselves as all that we are with the good points and bad points then I think we can accept Jim for all the darkness and light that he had. RIP Jim Morrison.

The Trouble with GoodReads.

A good book

Don’t get me wrong, I think GoodReads is a really good idea but the trouble is that I discovered it quite late and I don’t know how many books I have read in my life but I do know it’s a lot! And the thought of having to write and post a review for every single one of them is overwhelming! I suppose the sensible thing would be to post a review or two a day on a persistent basis and eventually I might get through them.

But, as is often the case with a big job, it is often not the job itself but the thinking about it that is the worst part. As soon as I think about doing it, I just freeze and then apathy kicks in and consequently I have still barely started. When I go into GoodReads and see the pitifully few reviews I’ve posted I then feel guilty and embarrassed. I then start to think, well no-one will read my reviews anyway.

It’s not the physical part of any task that is most difficult, at least not for me. It is the mental resistance; all the thoughts of ‘it’s too much’ and ‘why should I bother?’, these are the thoughts that lead me into getting nothing done. And unproductive thoughts lead ultimately to an unproductive life.

I’m always reminded of the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker is trying to get his plane out of the swamp and he says “It’s too big.” Yoda tells him it’s only too big in his mind. Then Yoda says he must do it again. Luke replies “I’ll try.” And Yoda says what is probably my favourite line from any film ever. “No. Do or don’t do. There is no try.”

The moral of the story is that when we undertake a big task we need to be more like Yoda and less like Luke Skywalker. May the force be with you!