Some Diary Extracts

April 10th 2022:

A few days ago I dug out all the pastel paintings I have hanging around and put them to one side, the intention being to chuck them all out. As part of managing to get my creative side working properly again, I feel I need to clear out the majority of my old work. I think it is simply preventing me from getting going again – as well as taking up space we don’t really have spare. I’ve always been a little reluctant to just destroy a painting I think I might be able to sell at some point, but that’s something that doesn’t matter to me in the same way any longer.

It’s much the same with writing. Nice if someone buys it and nice, of course, if someone reads it and likes it and, hopefully, gets something from it. But not important in the same way as it used to be. I’ve never wanted to be famous, or sell millions of books (much the same thing, of course), and perhaps this is part of that. If the poetry I’m currently writing is any good, I would like someone to publish it, and if a small audience appreciated it and thought it worthwhile, well, I’d be tickled pink. But it’s not that important.

If I paint again, or carve wood, it will be entirely for me. If someone likes a painting, then perhaps I’ll simply give it to them. I appreciate this isn’t a philosophy that most creatives could adopt, but it’s what I feel I should like to do at the moment.

Wall painting in Amberley Church, Sussex. It dates from around 1300AD, was whitewashed over around 1550, and restored in 1967.

April 11th 2022:

We’re off to Amberley for a couple of days. We should have been walking the South Downs Way at the moment, but Covid has left us too tired for that, so we cancelled our various bookings. But to give ourselves a short break, we kept the Amberley one and booked an extra night.

Yesterday I contemplated completely coming off the internet for a matter of all of about half a second. I find it a huge distraction and much of it incredibly annoying, but like most folk I’m in too deep to extricate myself. We’ve arranged our lives around it over the past twenty years especially, and in my own case I keep in touch with many people that way, I have my blog, which I don’t think I’m ready to give up yet, rely upon it for booking trains and finding train and bus timetables, use it for family research, writing research, and to find and order books and music. None of these would be insurmountable problems, but cumulatively it would just be too much hassle to do without.

But even when I’m using my laptop for writing, I get too easily distracted by the internet and I feel a little like those people who walk through lovely scenery staring down at their mobile phones.

April 15th 2022:

Sunny and clear this morning and the forecast is that the day will be warm and bright. Having had quite a busy day yesterday, I felt quite run down in the evening and this morning feel very tired despite having slept well. It is four weeks until we go to Coll and I hope I’ve got some energy back by then.

It is sunny and, dare I say it, warm all day and despite this being Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the forecast is that it will continue this way.

Strange powers are at work.

17 thoughts on “Some Diary Extracts

  1. Well, as Blake put it so well, joy and woe are woven fine, and that certainly applies to something he couldn’t have imagined: the internet. I’ve found my own balance by focusing on my blog and research while actively refusing participation in other forms of social media. A good dose of the real world doesn’t hurt, either; I hope you’re feeling fine when it comes time to make your trip to Coll.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely to see you back here, Mick. It sounds like Covid hit you fairly hard – it’s such a shame you missed your South Downs Way trek, as I know how much you enjoy walking. Hopefully, your Amberley break will be restful and give you some time to regain your stamina. I’m glad you’ve booked another day there – I’m sure it’ll do you good.

    I have to say; I couldn’t manage without the internet. I, too, use it for too much – often everything! Not necessarily good, I know. But, yes, it can be very distracting when trying to write. I usually turn the sound off on my laptop so that I’m not disturbed by social media pings, beeps and whistles exclaiming, ‘look at me now!’ I also often type my post out in Word first so that my word document takes up the whole screen and I’m less easily distracted.

    I have to admit, I’d never heard of Coll, so I looked it up on good old google. One site said it was in the Inner Hebrides, and the other said the Outer Hebrides. I’m still none the wiser. It does look beautiful, though. Enjoy your break.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ellie. Covid was rather horrid for a couple of days, but nothing like as bad as a lot of people had it. It’s all proportional, really. I’ve not been really ill for many years, so it probably seemed worse than it was, in a way. The main thing that’s persisted is a lack of energy and an annoying cough. But that’s all slowly getting better. The break was good, and we did walk a few miles.

      I’m just too easily distracted by the internet. I’ve learned eventually that to write poetry, for example, it’s often best to use a notebook and longhand so that distraction just isn’t there. I think I resent being so easily distracted – see it as a weakness – which makes it all the more annoying.

      Coll – in the Inner Hebrides. It’s a two and half hour ferry journey from Oban. Very beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Mick. I should have read your diary extracts dates more carefully as I hadn’t realised that when I commented that I hoped you’d have a lovely break in Amberley. Now, I realise that you’ve already been. I’m so glad you managed to get some walking in too, especially after your illness. Let’s hope you’re feeling much better and stronger by the time you go to Coll.

        Writing longhand is something I haven’t done for a long time. Despite the occasional distractions of the internet, I still find it easier to write on my laptop. I tend to correct and rewrite things as I go along rather than write when the thoughts materialise and then have to cross out and scribble my alterations out around the edge of the page. My longhand seems to crawl all over the page like a caterpillar.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That does sound rather like my longhand. Very much scribble and scrawl. I couldn’t use longhand for longer work – when I began writing all those years ago I longed to be able to afford a word processor when they came onto the market. I also correct as I go along, and it would be a complete nightmare for those longer pieces. It seems to be okay for poems though.

          I do get through an awful lot of paper…

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry to hear you were sick! And just give yourself time, I’ve heard that if you get Covid symptoms, even mild ones, it can take a long time to fully recover. I agree with you about the internet being a huge distraction from our creative pursuits. It is a good then when used sparingly, but it can quickly become our whole world if we let it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the vaccines help so much! Even when we get it, we’re usually spared from the really bad symptoms. But sometimes that is cold comfort when you’re dealing with sickness that just lingers on. I hope you’re feeling back to your old self soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a generally positive attitude towards the internet, but I try to treat it like polite company; i.e. avoid politics and religion.

    Sorry to hear you got hit by Covid. We recently got hit by something, but I think it was old-fashioned flu as the quick Covid tests were negative. It wasn’t fun.

    Maybe you should paint over the pastels. Then in a couple hundred years someone can come along and “restore” them…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind bringing up politics or religion in polite company, Dave, it’s the others that make it so perilous. In fact, perhaps that makes it an even better analogy.

      No, we didn’t enjoy Covid. Just glad we’re vaccinated.

      Ah, the pastels. Um, they’ve gone…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Mick, I has poured with rain here the whole of the Easter weekend and now, I see, that England has stolen our weather [smile]. I feel the same way as you do, I like to write and do art, in fact, I must do them to survive as a person. If others like them, that is wonderful and I am pleased, but if they don’t I still like then for me. I like poetry and am happy to read and review your book and host you for the Poetry Treasures series when you are ready.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I see that this diary entry is from April. I hope you are feeling better now, Mick. The internet and social media is something I’ve been contemplating on giving up too but the truth is then the blog would die and probably all the people I connect with virtually on writing and art would disappear too. I guess we need to learn to control our attraction to it rather than cut it out.
    Thank you for sharing your diary entries. It echoed very much with what I am currently going through. I’ve signed up to sell my art for charity. Atleast, it will help someone, if it’s bought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s just too easy to get distracted, unfortunately. I suppose I just don’t have the willpower to focus completely on what I’m meant to be doing and to ignore those distractions.

      And well done for selling your art for charity. That’s a great move!

      Liked by 1 person

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