Archives for posts with tag: goals

i

8:58PM
write poems
x1
x1
x1

I wrote on my week’s to-dos.
It’s 8:58PM on SUNDAY.
The radiator’s cranking up;
Counting down to the bedtime
routine. This isn’t a poem: it’s
a snapshot.

ii.
write poems
x1
x1

The idea was to help me
See each output as a ‘1’;
As a single entity achievable;
As a level in a game. To produce
this isn’t a poem: it’s
an item done.

iii.
write poem
x1


SATURDAY
All the things I had to do before I
could write a poem

Rise from bed by leaving warm duvet.
Eat breakfast, take meds.
Clean plug, thoroughly. Pull out
the hairs.
Dress for gym; catch bus; get there.
Take a class; do some more; stretch. Energy flags.
Buy almonds from Poundland and
have a coffee, write some notes.
Feel ready to do part two:

Groceries.
Buy lots of food. Have heavy bags. Wait for bus
to take them home. Carry the bags,
unpack, cook and eat.
Feel tired; have a shower and wash
hair; juggle doing laundry between – two
loads.

Now late. Make tea with mint
and give up to the day, now
Too late to start a poem.


Back in September I set myself the goal, which at that point seemed achievable, of writing 6 poems drawn from inspiration in my daily life. Since then I’ve written endless notes to myself in my weekly to-do lists in a quest to ‘optimize starting’, as they say in the productivity lingo. Some prompts included:

write – commute, 10 mins
poem = just 5 lines!
write just 5 mins!

My procrastination side-stepped all of these suggestions.

This last Sunday evening, I sat on my bed and decided – right, now, write.

Goal accomplished and just in time. The fireworks are going off outside my windows as I type this up on New Year’s Eve.

Thank you, dear reader, for another year of verse.
Wishing you a wonderful start to 2019.


Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop and is a detail is from from a small advertising booklet titled Franklin Sugar Candy Book.

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“Oh dear, G_d…”
You want it and it and you think you want it.
“Now what?”
You say to yourself, you’re making

“I was having a panic.”
strides towards it.
“My whole stomach’s turning over.”
You plan and scribble little plans,

and bigger plans, goals and more
“I was just having a complete
panic attack.”
goals, why power and visualizing the outcome.

“Just about wiped me out.” More.
Plan more goals.


For another poem about goals see Highest Priority and for resolutions Reviewing the Pursuit.

Image is courtesy of the Old Design Shop and is “a vintage magazine advertisement for The Brainerd & Armstrong Co.’s annual Embroidery Book for the year 1900. The ad features an image of a well-dressed lady, seated in a beautiful wooden chair, doing embroidery work. The advertisement is from the November 1899 issue of The Designer magazine.”

Earthworm 1 (PSF)

“Earthworm” courtesy of Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I posted “Impatience” this time last year. It’s a poem about seeking goals. The first lines follow the hard work involved in aiming towards goals. The later lines move towards how things seem not to be working out. The Astro Turf suffocates the earthworms.

Earlier this year I revisited the earthworm motif. In this poem I list how we dismiss the seemingly insignificant earthworm. The poem pirouettes to end with a different conclusion. The earthworm has its part to play.

If these lines seem too downhearted, I recommend “Dante’s Barmaids” to cheer you.

Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill

Can you believe two years have passed since the London Olympics? I was fortunate enough to attend an evening of paralympic events. It feels as though it was only last year that I was sitting in the massive stadium, with an enormous lion emblazoned across my t-shirt and yelling encouragement at the athletes. Clearly, it wasn’t. That moment was in 2012.

This time last year I posted a loose Pindaric ode to a golden mango.

In the spirit of archives – looking at the back catalogue in the present, possibly to inform the future – I encourage you to read this post about progress. Joanna Penn recommends measuring achievement across the span of four years by asking oneself, where was I during the last olympics? Equally, you can plot your goals by projecting, where would I like to be by the next games?

Where will you be in 2016?

In the meantime, I’m still waiting for this summer’s golden mangoes to appear on the local grocers’ tiers.

Find me on Twitter. I’m @BeadedQuill.

1.
Wake up.
Work hard.
Plan and strategise.
Talk to someone who
     has done it before.
Find a mentor.

2. 
Protect its pollen from the wind.
Blow on the quills when they
   erupt.
Wrap it in this moment
and suspend it from but what if?

It might rest its weary hope 
in a chest of velvet lined

for the unsplit bean alone 
is the treasure


During a very happy and productive year of my professional life, I used to spend Sunday evenings assessing the week that had passed, plan the week ahead and review my life, especially in terms of where I was in achieving my goals. I felt so wonderfully smug and on top of things. Yes! I was making things happen in my life. Yes! Through strategy, persistence and application I was helping my dreams to come true.

Life, they say, is what happens when you make other plans. I left that particular field, moved from the town and no longer pursue many activities with which I was then involved. Half a decade later there are only three outputs that I hold dear from that organised and hyper-functional period of my life: 1. a couple of special, enduring friendships; 2. a few poems and some essays of interest; 3. that I wrote regular letters to my Dad, who was ill at the time.

I mull much over society’s sanctioned notions of success and achievement. The product-driven pressure that a dream must be brought to fruition follows me like a shadow. If I dream of being A Writer then I must schedule writing time, move towards products and a business plan, target a definable readership, join one of the professional writers’ associations and ideally land a contract or an agent, and if not claim a stake in the indie market. This is The Way to Make a Dream Come True.

See how easily I can write about that? I have been avoiding the business plan for nearly a year. Instead, I have been writing poems, drinking coffee at my laptop and watching Bachata videos on YouTube. (Bachata is a style of dance from the Dominican Republic in which one steps to beats 1, 2 and 3 and adds a tap on beat 4.)

So now I have these additional, distracting dreams. One is of simply writing and writing and writing. The result may be endless waffle. Another is to spend time in my local indie coffee shop up the road, as an out-of-jail option when I’m feeling cabin fever. And then there is the dream of dancing like this – so much happiness on such a small square of stage above the earth. That would be treasure indeed.

Follow me @BeadedQuill on Twitter where I get carried away with YouTube forays into Argentine tango, Systema, Krav Maga and, most recently, Bachata.
Or, if you prefer, follow BeadedQuill on Facebook.
My two creative ‘babies’, my published books, are my successes of 2013. Preview them at Blurb.co.uk by clicking on the links:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness 

A climb up Kili
Only it’s Archway Hill.
Destination: Highgate
King prawns in chilli butter
at Café Rouge –

At the end of last year I was searching for this poem amongst my papers. Although distressed at the loss of the original gem (Where is it? I kept asking on Twitter.), I attempted an alternative take on the subject.

But good news! While typing up the handwritten drafts for this bumper month of 2×52 poems, I found my five-line treasure. I was so pleased – and am delighted to now share it with you as the penultimate verse in this week of London poems.

This micro-poem was written in reply to a friend’s question, posed when we met for a catch-up lunch. At the time I was volunteering at Lauderdale House, a community arts centre in Highgate.

Next month I will be one of four poets reading at Lauderdale in support of a fundraising campaign towards renovating the house. The reading will be at 8pm on Wednesday, 26th February. Tickets are £5/£3 concessions. Further details are available on Lauderdale House’s events page. If you are in London, it would be fun to meet you.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill

Books:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness

Ah, this is a good one from the archives: Tied up in 8 Tentacles of a Goal Octopus.

As an update –

I don’t yet live in my wooden house with a deck overlooking a lake.

For travel in 2013, I took the train to Buckingham for Christmas. As a day trip I went out to Rye and Camber Sands in August. There was a little tango in London over the summer and in early November. Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Morocco and New York still await.

Yeah, well, the doctoral research…

2013 was a year of proactive companion searching which included internet dating, singles events, blind dates and being picked up outside my local  indie coffee shop. All in all, there were about 8 men across 10 months. Too much effort, though good fertilizer for poetry. I am taking a man sabbatical. Currently I am investigating oocyte cryopreservation (egg-freezing) plus fertilization and other options for the future. A different sort of proactive.

I’m still scratching on my much loved, old faithful tomato-box. Today I was focussing on a little Bach Courante. I’ve been working on my bow hold.

I certainly own more clothes than I did a year ago and have a had a few outfit compliments. I’m into wearing a bit of eyeliner. The old school pencil kind. I think it’s about an excuse to use a pencil, on my eyelid.

And as my grand finale, I note that I’m clocking up my tally of titles. I brought out a second book, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, in November last year.

Hooray for the octopus!

 

octopus

As of today, a printed book with my name on its cover is on its way to me. Gather ‘round Susan, Charles, Orhan and Jean, for I have joined your ranks! Note to self, disbelieving friends and family, I have now accomplished one of my personal goals and am one step closer to thinking of myself as a writer. It is time to pop open the champagne.

Instead, I feel embarrassed.

This moment hasn’t happened the way I had envisaged. The book’s completion is four years later than scheduled in my Life Plan. The material isn’t a grand novel. No lauded literary critics are clearing spaces on their desks to digest my masterpiece for their rave reviews. TLS hasn’t requested an interview.

It’s just a first draft of my first volume of poems, scheduled to arrive in the post early next month. I am to double-check for typos and confirm layout. Then it will be time to consider the marketing campaign and how this first volume will relate to my next project or collection. How flat and mundane this feels. Plus I still have rent to pay and groceries to buy, neither of which this book seems to be covering right at this moment in time.

There is a running motif I keep encountering: when we wish for things to happen and move towards making them come true, they often do, but with some significant variations on our specifics. Those with more life experience will nod their heads in recognition.

For the last six years, I have been working with a list of goals I affectionately call “The Eight.” I have tried throwing them away, revising them, breaking them down into bite-size, achievable chunks, assessing the ‘corner-stones’ of each dream/goal so as to reach towards the essence. Yet, they’ve stuck around, like a tentacled shadow. “The Eight” has become my personal octopus of hope and demonic possession. Down strange paths we have travelled. Late at night it causes me to rail at my own problem-generating stubbornness:

Who really cares whether you live in a wooden house with a deck on a lake?

Who will know if you never tango in Buenos Aires or don’t get around to visiting Shanghai or Morocco or New York?

Why do you need to pursue doctoral studies anyway? Surely, you don’t need a qualification like that to follow an enriching, satisfying vocation. Just knuckle down with whatever job.

What does it matter if you don’t share part of this life’s journey with one, exclusive companion and a bundle of children?

Well, you could go on and buy that handmade viola and get cracking with Grade 8 exam prep. No excuse there.

You want beautiful clothes? Start by not shrinking your favourite green top in the wash.

Today’s good news is that out there in the world, there is a book going to print with my name on it. The other good news is that my like-minded friends, family and community who care are popping champagne at this achievement. There, please note, are two goals accomplished. Now, what about that tango trip to Buenos Aires?

With thanks to The Cat’s Meat Shop for the wonderful Punch cartoon from 1873.

Follow @BeadedQuill on Twitter for updates on “Shining in Brightness,” BQ’s first volume of poetry, and her journey with the remaining six goals of “The Eight.”