Archive for June, 2013

because you writeRoll up, roll up! Put your novels and short stories on Feedbooks, Lulu, Createspace, Smashwords, Wattpad. Don’t charge for them, then others can scrape your content freely like stinking great estuary dredgers. Then Google yourself. Go on, don’t be shy,… you’ll be amazed where your work ends up: Rapidshare, Scribd, Filesflush, Getebooksfree, ebdb.net,… the list is endless. The pirates will love you too. They’ll cut and paste your work and sell it on The Kindle Marketplace, publish it as you, cutting and pasting even your pseudonym in to the vast nefarious money making machine that forms the unregulated realm of cyberspace. But try it yourself and you’ll run into the opaque and somewhat circular regulatory labyrinth regarding income tax on your occasional 50p downloads.

Not satisfied yet? Then set up a blog too, put something up there a couple of times a week so the spammers know you’re still alive and can continue attaching their odious marketing limpets to your work by way of “likes” and comments and “follows”. Yes, Josh, I’m talking about you!

“Hi there click my blog and see how I got rich and handsome and incredibly successful using WordPress blogging.”


“No Josh. You are an MLM spammer.”

To be sure, it’s a weird business – one in which a small number of crazy people go about creating genuinely original content for others to exploit and farm and pirate at will. Be under no illusion, dear frustrated, friendless writer, if self publishing online is something that interests you, this will happen to your work. You will be adding your muse’s sincerest outpourings to that vast ocean of words the web savvy tech trawlers crawl for content to make their own vacuous machine generated pap look worth pausing over.

And it can be really annoying.

So why do it?

Well why not? It’s not half so bad as sending your hundred thousand word manuscript off to a publisher, waiting six months in hope and expectation, then getting it back torn and creased and the front cover blobbed with grease from someone’s lunch – but otherwise no real indication it’s been read past the first page. Do this year in year out with every single thing you’ve ever written and you start to get the picture. Need advice on how to narrow the odds a bit? Spend a fortune on those trite and useless “how to get your novel published” books, but in the main just keep going, refuse to admit defeat – five, ten, fifteen years,… or worse drop dead with a pile of work going rotten in your shed, for your unfortunate executors to finally throw away.

Now that’s mad! And worse, it’s pointless. But the alternative,… giving your work away for free online? Really? Well, speaking as an unknown writer of otherwise unmarketable material, I’d probably go mad if I didn’t.

BTTCoverMy novel “Between the tides” – the seventh I’ve given away – has been live on Feedbooks now since the end of February. It’s had 1600 downloads. The rate has tapered off somewhat in recent months, and is currently averaging about 4 per day – not massive, but it’s out there, it’s being read and some of those readers have said nice things about it. Oh, it would probably benefit from an editor’s know-how – probably benefit from a proofreading eye other than my own – but if I’d gone down that route, “Between the tides” would still be sitting in the first of many editors’ slush-piles waiting for a long line of underpaid office numpties to stick it in the return envelope, unread.

For me, reaching a bunch of people who seem interested in actually reading your stuff – you know – readers – and reaching them directly – is better than holding out for a few thousand pounds in royalties and never getting your story published in the first place. Nobody will ever know who you are of course – how great, how cool, how handsome, how indisputably “A list” your demeanour, and you will never be invited onto that TV chatshow to pontificate and shamelessly promote yourself . But if that’s the sort of thing that turns you on, you’ve a lot of growing up to do and maybe writing’s not the best course for you anyway.  As for the dead weight of all those webscrapers and pirates and other hangers on,…

Who cares?

What’s that you say? Who is this guy? Well, my name isn’t really Michael Graeme and I write stories, for the people who read them. And to the people who have read Between the Tides and all my other stories, as always, I say thank you.

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androidSeeking change: a new laptop, a new car, a new way of making notes on my ‘droid, a new ornament for my garden, a new pair of shoes, a nicer shirt, a fancier wristwatch,….  anything to satisfy this suddenly insatiable craving for change, for renewal, for improvement. I know this is not the right way of doing things. I know that all this seeking completeness in some “thing” betrays only my unquiet heart.

Yet still it gnaws at me.

I was like this when I was a child, seeking transformation in the next perfect toy. But it was a transformation that lasted only for the weekend, until the Monday morning when the same-old-same-old would rear its head, reminding me of the fragility of dreams, that no sooner sated and the thirst would return, as if the unscrupulous vending-meister had added salt to my beverage,… a salt called Ego.

One need not be consciously egotistical to be driven by one’s ego. We all do it. The ego is simply that part of ourselves that seeks to be something more than it is, something cleverer, something more satisfied, something richer, faster, bigger, more complete, more aware, more human than we think we are at present. It also works in reverse. If we seek smallness, stillness, calmness or spirituality, our ego will help us, seeking ways in which we can become smaller, stiller, calmer and more smugly spiritual than all the other poor soulless losers out there.

This is clearly not the answer either.

Ego compares, it measures, and seeks adjustment to the next level. It’s not really helpful, but even knowing this cannot overcome ego’s innate lack of wisdom when the mood is upon us. Ego is far too clever, far too slippery for that.

I know I don’t actually need any of these things. I know they’re not worth striving for.  Instead, I’ll do what I always do: sleep, let my dreams dissolve the longing over time, or I’ll talk to my private journal, flick back to hear the voice that is my own, explaining all of this to me. Again. Old lessons,… decades old.


I might also blog it, this idea of the unquiet heart,…

Yes,… that sounds interesting!

Except there’s my ego again, living through the imagined eyes of others, attempting to recalibrate itself, measure the degree of moreness to be gained by having others read my words, when what I really need is to pull the plug on this blog, and keep my words entirely between me and my inner self, and thus, like a celibate, preserve my power. Sure, the intrusion of an imaginary third party all the time is just another symptom of the craving for moreness.

But wait!

I realise my blog now references itself. This is becoming really interesting. It’s become a metablog, which is the kind of in-speak they’d use on university courses to describe a form of words, instead of simply experiencing those words and deciding if you like them or not. Interesting! Yes indeed! I’ll blog about it, except “interest” is the bloodhound scent that ego follows in its desire for moreness. It seeks interest in the forms of the world and if it doesn’t find them interesting, labels them dull instead, then moves on to something else.

Yes. That’s interesting! Now all we need is a picture to draw the eye of the passing reader, something really interesting to interest them. Let’s see, what have we?… I lknow, how about my ‘droid. Goodness my laptop is slow tonight,… what I really, really, need is a new one. How much better, faster, bigger I could be then!

Some doggerel to finish:

Be still my heart,…
Don’t let your craving start.
Seek not your thrills in toys,
Lest we lose ourselves in noise.
Nor grasp the world so tight,
We fail to see the light.
The world be found in its embrace,
An endless, fruitless, uphill race.
But if it’s ourself we seek to know,
Then chase it not,…
Just let it go.

Enjoy yourselves, and stay safe.

Graeme out.

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Just rediscovered this one, so I’ll lift it to the top of the pile as a reminder for myself. It fits in with run of my thoughts this evening. Memories of a trip I made some years ago now,…


This afternoon I walked to Aberbach,
With summer hung about me,
In the deep lanes,
Sluggish with a heavy green,
All slick and dripping with a warm drizzle.

My mind felt dull,
Unwilling to engage the world,
Or even less to wrest dim meaning,
From the mystery of its shadow places.
Instead I sought only silence,
Somewhere to float a while,
In the silken luxury of nothingness,

This lonely bay,
Where solitude availed itself
On a wet Monday afternoon,
Granted me a wordless sympathy.
And in the rhythm of the sea,
Washing upon the shingle shore,
I entered a realm of complete detachment.

Great tide lined cliffs,
Weather worn, meadow topped,
And pathways zig zagging,
To blue-grey streaks of sky,
Formed the bowl in which I sat,
Snug while the summer rain dripped
From the brim of my hat

There were no thoughts,
No wisdoms written,
In the code of ages here,
But something of greater value:
Brief sanctuary, and freedom,
From the debilitating need,
To understand.


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penyghent from horton ir

Looking up from the lovely village of Horton in Ribblesdale, the objective is clear: the long profile of a hill dominating the village. Uncluttered by other fells it stands alone, rising above lush green pastures.

“Here I am,” it says. “My name is Penyghent.”

Along with Whernside and Ingleborough, it forms a triangle known as the Three Peaks, the trail around them being a tough hike across serious limestone country. At twenty miles or so, it’s not a challenge to be taken lightly and though I’m familiar with each of the beauties in this crown, I’ve yet to sample them all on the same day, and I probably never will; it would spoil them. The hills have never been a test of endurance for me. They’ve tested my courage at times, my presence of mind, and my resolve, but for every laboured breath I’ve vented on them, they’ve returned the effort ten fold in treasures beyond imagining. And the treasure is never in the distance won, nor  completion of the trial, but always glittering in the details along the way.

The pull up Brackenbottom Scar was the first test of ill-used lungs, and it took me a while to get going. On the plus side, the early morning rains had swept east, dragging with them a clearing sky that promised clarity and sunburn, while a freshening wind felt like it would keep the heat at bay. It’s a well worn route, leading up to the limestone  terraces on the southern face of the hill. Here the wind shrieks down from the north, pulling mist with it and a chill that seeps into your bones, freezing the sweat you’ve already worked up. Then the fun begins – a modest scramble up dark, water dribbling crags. Although hardly mountaineering, I found an old voice whispering hillcraft in my ears – three point contact, look, think, reach, pull,… and I felt a childish tinglel as I engaged a younger part of myself and heaved my bones skywards.

I’m reading a book at the moment by Robert Moss*. In it he talks of shamanic journeys into one’s past, searching for the pieces of ourselves we’ve left behind, fragments that didn’t want to join in with the way they felt our lives were going.

I know what he means; a good deal of my self remains in these windy places and I don’t seek them out often enough, though the energy they lend me when I do is always a  tonic. Get to a certain age and look back, and you realise there’s not much of your old self left – the self you thought you were. There are just bits of you scattered like pebbles, fallen through a hole in your pocket, a trail of fifty years, pockmarked by the wreckage of one disappointment after another, and always these lost bits of yourself looking at the ruins and saying: what the hell happened there?

Having come up the southern face of the hill, the normal circular route will take you west, along the Pennine Way,  back to Horton in Ribblesdale – a respectable, beautiful hike of around six miles. Or you can head north across a  pristine waste of russet moor, to the sublime loneliness of Plover Hill – a circuit of about eight miles – no crowds, like on the summit of Penyghent – just the plaintive call of the Curlew and the run of your own thoughts.

There I sat down among the white bobbing heads of the cotton grass, and scanned the rim of the nameless northern hills through binoculars – wild Yorkshire! My soul was out there, splashed up to his knees in mud, tireless, eating up the miles as he crossed one dale to the next, reading the land, seeing magic in it, reading the stories in the stones, then sleeping deep and dreaming dreams rich in meaning.

I know how much that part of myself loves the hills, and how the hills are few in the life I’m living now. But lately I’ve felt a need for his eye, for his grit in the face of storms, for his energy, his spirit, and above all for his sense of perspective.

They say the past is gone, that we should waste no time with it. But that’s too simplistic. A careful scouting of the past will reveal those lost parts of ourselves, fragments we failed to bring with us into our present lives. It does no harm to go looking for them, and upon finding them the energy released can bring a welcome relief, like the sun chasing shadows from the dale,…

…. refreshing as the giant mug of tea waiting for me back in the Horton Cafe.

penyghent from foxup rd

* Moss, Dreaming the soul back home.

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noseIf you have a normal sense of smell, pause for a moment and think how much you would lose in terms of your experience of life if the world were entirely odourless. You might think you wouldn’t miss much, that you could easily do without it. I managed without it for many years, my sense of smell declining gradually, until I woke up one morning and realised I couldn’t remember what anything smelled like any more.

You don’t need a sense of smell to function normally, unless you work as a perfumier of course, but take it from me, one’s experience of life is so much more muted when one cannot smell, like viewing the world in black and white instead of colour. As a writer too, I found it difficult when penning descriptive passages because so often we use scent to implant an instant impression of our invented world. For example I don’t need to describe the smell of lavender to you. It just is. You know at once what I mean. But how authentic was I being, it being so long since I’d smelled anything myself?

The cause of my anosmia was nasal polyps – quite common in middle agers – small, benign growths in the mucus membrane of the nose, probably the result of long term exposure to allergens. The current western medical approach is to shrink them with a short course of steroids and antibiotics. If this doesn’t work, a minor surgical procedure is necessary, but it’s recognised that in both cases the polyps will probably grow back unless you take a tiny daily top-up dose of steroid based spray or drops, unless you can identify the allergen and permanently remove yourself from it.

After treatment my sense of smell returned, and was reliable for several months. Indeed it was super sharp at times, so I could experience the world of scent to a degree others could not – until I woke up one Sunday morning without it, and spent the whole day in a misery of anosmia again. Bummer!

The reason for my relapse?

Unsure at first, but I have a liking for single malt Scotch whiskey, also wine, and had enjoyed a drink on the previous evening. The complex aroma of a single malt is something that can transport me to another plane and, unlike lavender is not so easy to describe, unless you’ve experienced it yourself. I don’t actually have to drink it – just put my nose near it, so I’ve been grateful to have my sense of smell back, then I can indulge my former passion. But could my tipple have caused a return of anosmia?

By way of experiment, I refrained from alcohol and my sense of smell returned within 24 hours. Then I took a glass of wine – not terribly strong – just a soft red table wine, and I waited. As I took my first sip, I could smell the wine – pleasant, fruity, earthy, warm,… but by the time I’d finished the glass I could smell nothing, and it took a full twenty four hours again for my sense of smell to return. I’ve repeated this on numerous occasions now. If I don’t drink, my sense of smell remains intact. If I take a glass of alcohol, the anosmia returns, sometimes within minutes.


I’ve always had my suspicions about alcohol, now confirmed, at least to my satisfaction. If it doesn’t actually cause anosmia, it seems to aggravate it – in my case anyway.  You don’t need to over-indulge; a single glass will do it. I’m hardly a perpetual drunkard, but I’ll admit  a glass of wine or malt whiskey was a regular companion, once the sun had slipped below the yard-arm. It seems I have a choice though: do I want to taste it, or smell it? I know which I prefer. If you’re anosmic like me, and you like a drink, you might not be doing yourself any favours.

Michael reluctantly lowers his pen, and signs the pledge.


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This evening I took the path down by the river.
It was steamy after day-long summer rains,
And the hedgerows were dark with a heavy green.
The balsam and the grasses drooping seemed,
Already weary,
As if anticipating dryness and decay,

It was not a pretty way,
The broken Tarmac giving out to stones,
Then the mud and slime,
Of a long tractor weary lane.
Tall, neglected hawthorns, and the tracks of
Bikes and dogs and boots, promised no magic.

The light was poor.
A clouded evening coming on,
While the scent of wet meadows and hedgerows,
And mud grew strong.
I did not know this place,
And strained to catch its mood.
Whether it’s face be welcoming or sour.

The path narrowed suddenly, overhung with neglect,
Before fading into the silvery ghosts,
Of footprints drawn across the meadow,
And I stood perplexed,
Eyeing the river’s still distant curve.
There was no path,
No friendly way down to its shingle shore.
Only the locals who ignored the trespass,
And dared to go beyond the meadow’s rim.
While I, a stranger, stood and stared.
Unsure and shy.

And missing you.

Great Salkeld, August 2008


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grumpy at grasmereThe car’s been unusually trouble free for a while, so it came as no surprise, now June’s settling in and the weather’s warming up to discover the air conditioning had given up the ghost. Normally it’s just a question of taking it along to the garage for a fresh charge of gas, but this is old Grumpy we’re talking about, so I wasn’t expecting miracles when I handed over my key to the eager young man on Friday.

While I waited in the reception area – gloriously new-tyre scented – I re-read sections of Robert Moss’s “Three Only Things” on the handy Kindle app on my ‘droid. If you don’t know Moss, he’s what I’d call a modern day Shaman, one whose mission is to re-awaken the tradition of dreaming in western society, a tradition all cultures once possessed but which modernity tends to strip away.

The three “only” things of the title refer to dreams, coincidences and imagination, and how when we’re drawn up sharp by them, we’re apt to say “but it was only a dream,” or “it was only a coincidence,” or “it was only imagination.” To Moss however, and indeed to anyone who lives magically, the three “only” things are the keys to unlocking all the secrets of the universe, and of creating a synthesis between the inner and the outer world.

So, as work progressed on old Grumpy, I revisited Moss’s universe. It’s not a place for the faint-hearted. Living by one’s dreams and one’s intuitive life takes guts. To put your faith in the three “only” things, and use them as inspiration for making fundamental changes in your life’s direction is either insane or literally inspired – I suppose it depends on whether it works out or not.

As I read on, I noted through my peripheral vision the increasing number of hands grappling with old Grumpy. The gas filling was complete but something was wrong. Suddenly Grumpy was on the ramps. They were struggling. Not unexpectedly. I knew this car. They didn’t. I also understood their concern. The terms of their guarantee stated that if they couldn’t get my air con working there’d be no charge for the gas.

Reading on, I rediscovered a chapter in which Moss describes a technique for asking a question of the universe and looking for the answer in whatever signs or symbols come back at you. So, I thought about my life, and I began to formulate a question.

Like most new age thinkers I can be a be a bit cocky in my unfounded beliefs and certain my life’s path is all the better for the strange avenues I’ve guided it down, but in truth I’m as confused as anyone else regarding our life’s purpose or why our lives can run so smoothly at times while at others we seem to lurch from one jarring crisis to the next. Cultivating self awareness doesn’t help; it brings no clear answers, just a greater sense of the impenetrable nature of the mystery.

So I asked the universe, what do I need to do right now in my life, if anything, to bring the best out of my life, and I would take whatever metaphor struck me in the next five minutes as the answer.

Just then Grumpy came down off the ramp, and was backed out of the garage, onto the forecourt. Then the mechanic called me over and shrugged. “Well, we’re fully gassed and there’s nothing leaking,” he said. “We’ve run all the diagnostics we can think of and every system checks out, but it’s just not working. You can try driving it for while and see what happens.”

I had to stifle a smile. That was a pretty good answer.

There was nothing I could do. Everything was fine. I was doing it right. Sure, something was broken and things weren’t working out the way I felt they should be, but there was no reason you could put your finger on, and nothing you could simply fix. Life was sometimes like that. All you could do was keep going and see how things worked out. And you know what? Suddenly the problems you thought you had didn’t seem like problems any more.

The afternoon was warming up, the air thick with heat as I drove away, hot air blasting from the vents. Air con’s a relatively new thing on consumer grade vehicles like mine. It’s nice to have, but it’s unreliable and it doesn’t last long. I’ve also driven plenty of cars without the luxury of it and have yet to melt behind the wheel. I suspect it’s the pump, which would probably cost more to replace than old Grumpy’s worth right now. So I wound the windows down, enjoyed the feel of the air on my face for a change, and headed for home.

Looks like we’re in for a long, hot summer.

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diaryQuestion: should a writer keep his dialogues with his soul secret, even from those he loves?

Hmm. Cue long rambling answer:

There are people who think imaginatively, people who inhabit an inner world as much as the outer. They are strongly introverted, prone to depression, and neuroses. They’re driven to write, to paint, to sculpt, to play musical instruments, and they lack truly intimate familiars, even among those they would count as loved ones.

Although amply possessed of artistic leanings, these people are not all recognised – even by themselves – as artists, and therefore do not qualify for the Bohemian enclave where their mysterious whims can be indulged in privacy, safe from the prying eyes of incredulous “normal” people. They are in fact fated to live among “normal” people, spend their lives pretending to be “normal” people, doing “normal” things, like holding down regular jobs, getting married and having children.

And I’m one of them.

If you also recognise yourself here, then read on.

Otherwise don’t.

The introverted personality makes up just ten percent of the population, and we all know the difficulties faced by any minority group. We are misunderstood by the extroverted majority of our fellow humans who believe we are quiet in company because we are cowards and lack the necessary confidence in our ideas. We are easily defeated in debate for sure but but to have experienced the inner world is also to have experienced something the “normal” person is unable comprehend, so we tend not to waste our breath expounding upon it, other than through our art. Our most important ideas are related to this inner world and therefore unassailable to criticism from those ignorant of it. The inner world also dictates our priorities, a phenomenon that makes the business of asserting oneself in public tiresome and foolish to us. So we don’t do it.

Of course the introverted thinker is prone to feelings of alienation. We are like castaways in a land where no one speaks our language. It also means our occasional unguarded utterances are easily misconstrued, so we develop a more  circumspect approach to conversation than our more more blathermouthed brethren. We are also masters of disguise.

In the normal life my persona is that of a middle aged guy making way, making a living doing normal things, things that have nothing to do with my artistic pretensions. I drive a boring old Vauxhall Astra, wear a shirt and tie to work, collect pocket watches, old books, and I eschew foreign travel, preferring to holiday in the UK. In short, I sound like a boring old fart (forgive me) – to whit I am gifted books that bear the title: “grumpy old git’s guide to life” or variants thereof.

But no one is what they seem.

I also have this computer, you see? I spend a lot of time with it, often late into the night, when my family are asleep (like I’m doing now). Among all the master copies of the stories I have written, and the blog drafts, there’s a special file and it’s encrypted. Creepy, isn’t it?

I mention this in order to test your reaction.

I wager a “normal” person will smirk and assume my secret file hides the pornographic gleanings of the internet’s seedier side  – possibly of a darkly perverted nature – because “normal” people are wont to assume the worst in others, especially of the introverted loners of this world, who are always the first casualties when unsavoury aspersions are cast, and girls go missing. If you’re thinking the same, I forgive you, but there is no pornography on my computer. The file contains only text – millions of words of text. It is the sea upon which my stories float.

It contains my personal journal, along with various other writings – free writing, active imagination, my dream journal too – dark, sometimes, yes,  and strange, but hardly pornographic.These are the accounts of the inner life I lead. They are the dialogues with my soul. Incomprehensible to others, but entirely innocent. So why lock them up?

Well, in the real world a man might be happily married, but that won’t stop him from experiencing dreams in which he’s having sex with unknown women, or of being romantically pursued by other women – and enjoying it – or that he’s in love with other unknown women. To the unimaginative man, otherwise loyal to his mate, such dream material will be a source of concern – even torment. To the religious zealot it will be morally shameful and worthy of self flagellation. To the unimaginative mate presiding in judgement over them, they might assume they are dreams of wish fulfillment and grounds for divorce.

But this talk of extramarital sin is dull. What else might I have dreamed? That I am a murderer? a sodomite? or worse: a woman! Well, mostly my dreams are less controversial, just your usual surreal strangeness. But those of us who live the imaginative life are obliged to enter into deeper dialog with the denizens of this strangeness. Failure to do so results in troublesome neuroses as these psychical energies bubble up in ways both unexpected and shockingly various.

Conversations with such strange archetypes allow us to make the necessary accommodations with unconscious energies, and we are rewarded for our trouble with pertinent insights into whatever ails us, also a greater sense of wholeness when we begin to see the interconnected nature of the inner and the outer life.

Meanwhile, to the unimaginative thinker, our writings will appear as the ravings of a lunatic, or as literal confessions to unspeakably vile cravings, because the unimaginative person tends to keep to a very narrow definition of “normality”, and fails to grasp the subtle differences between the literal and the non-literal world.

A romantic might write of pining for a lost love, for a warm hand to guide them through the fog of their lives. I’ve done this, and find there is no other cure as effective for a bad case of the black dog, but would a future reader of my private notes be able to tell the difference between a psychical muse and a mortal lover? I am not concerned with posterity here, but the day to day smooth running of the ordinary life I cherish and would not sacrifice on the rocks of misunderstanding for anything.

So to answer my own question, the private notes of the imaginative thinker can be shown to no one, least of all those we love. I think of this in terms of protecting others from the full force of the imaginative world, because not everyone’s equipped to deal with it.

When a writer puts pen to paper and publishes a story, whatever the content, there is always the assurance that it is “only a story” and we might therefore be forgiven much that would otherwise appear dubious. But the imaginative person also knows the story floats upon a sea of other words – an ocean of free writing if you like – a mish mash of  outpourings from the unconscious. And the free-est writing is pursued when we’re not worried about it being fished out of the waste bin by a curious lover or progeny, then picked apart with a lexicon that is ill equipped for the task of accurate translation.

I know – we introverted artist types are difficult to live with. Indeed it’s cruel we’re inflicted on the lives of normal people at all. We are uncommunicative and secretive, but we exist, and we must deal with stuff that would scare the pants off others. We do this the best way we can. And sometimes that means in secret.

If you live among normal people, yet keep a private diary, or you like free-writing, you mustn’t be afraid of pushing it into areas you would ordinarily avoid lest your blather be discovered and instantly misconstrued, because then you’re not being true to your inner life. Your life is being distorted by seeing yourself through the lens of someone else’s eyes. Let your free-writing, your personal journalling  take you along the roads less travelled, to the core of your self, through the dense forest of your innermost thoughts. Be not ashamed then to discover your most surprising beliefs, nor to indulge in your most self indulgent fancies – it can be profoundly rewarding. But, encrypt it or be damned.

Because normal people are weird.

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lady of the lake ullswater



I carried the Prelude,
As The Lady slit the waters of the lake.
Black they were, like tar,
Unrippled in stillness.
And the hills sweated in white wreaths,
Hung, and slipping down,
To touch shy fingers to a silver shore.

How much of this memory is mine?
How much is his?
Here, he tells me,
Look at this, from long ago,
And know,
Thy God as love.

But it was not love.
Not then.
Loneliness was more my muse,
Cold hands wrapped around my heart,
So with each breath
I was reminded of my separateness.

Beloved of none.
No Dorothy,
No Sara to warm the empty ways,
Where light of love has never shone,

And where I was bound that day.

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