Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why I hate Ikea?

A poem from the heart ...

Why I hate Ikea?

Value for money
no doubt,
but, for the anxious
a tar pit.
aimlessly moving,
Ikea for them
is a day out
in prehistoric drudgery.
I'm hunting for
a pine chest of drawers
for my cub.
Visions of living in a box
send terror to my core.
Will my fossilised
remains be found in page
forty one or fifty two.
The forced long walk -
shopping designed to
take two hours.
Cheap stuff at the entrance
to prising your purse open.
The tempting
bite of a ten pence
meatball for lunch.
The quest to find
your item in the warehouse
with the knobs
neatly camouflaged in another row.
And exhausted,
the gatherer unsuccessfully
gets the item in the car.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bad Grammar

It's been in the headlines. Many teachers may not have been taught grammar at school, having been educated in the 1970s and 1980s. Ian McNeilly, director of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said: ‘The focus and emphasis on grammar in primary schools will mean that potentially a whole generation of teachers will need some quite intensive training.

It's true. I've never had a formal lesson on grammar in my life, and it does make things difficult. I believe one reason why people don't write is the fear of poor grammar. The red pen marks pointing out dangling participles and passive sentences strikes enough fear into anyone's heart. It is especially difficult if people expect you to have this knowledge.

I like making up stories. People tell me I'm good at it. I need grammar to make sure that I am able to tell my stories effectively and with the tone, pace, mood, and atmosphere that I want to produce in my readers. Basically, I need grammar to make sure others understand my writing.

I know so many people who tell me their ideas for stories and novels but never get round to writing their stories down. I've always comforted myself with the fact that I can put my work into software programmes that look for mistakes. I can ask people to read my work. I can even pay a proof reader to read my work. What can you do with a blank page?

I started a short story for a competition. It was a difficult subject, and I frequently left it and came back. It took so many sessions to be completed that I began to hate it. Unfortunately, I find it hard to quit, and I was determined to enter.

Writing is enjoyable. But the ordeal of editing and grammar checks is a nightmare.

Here is the rub. In order to become a better writer I need to write more AND, edit what I have written. There is no way around it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Learning to ignore the daisies

Time for my school run musings. I have waited for a publishing opportunity for years so how am I feeling - guilty.

I have wet washing in the machine. I can't find the curtains hooks to put the curtains back up. I still haven't posted the promised photos to my Great Aunt. And I swear the long grass and daisies are mocking me, knowing I won't be cutting their heads off today. I haven't even started on motherhood, and weight. I feel guilty that I like food, that I eat food, and that I want food.

The second big guilt trip I have is that I deflect the guilt by getting mad at everyone else to ensure that the grumpiness is spread around evenly. I run around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to do the impossible, with the hope that if I just keep it up, the guilt will stop. But it won’t stop ever.

Therefore, I have decided to break down tasks in to 'must' and 'can wait.' Until my final draft is sent off.

Feeding my children and washing up (which sadly includes thinking of what to make for tea and sigh going to supermarkets.) A must.
Taking and picking up children from school. A must.
Driving to Adur and Chichester today for hubbies franchise - sigh - a must.

Mowing the lawn? Will the world stop turning if I ignore the grass?

Lets face it when my husband was around to make the drive he wouldn't have noticed the lawn, would have forgotten to bring in the post or dealt with it and, no way would he have even thought of checking the email and phone messages until he'd had a cup of tea, shut his eyes for forty winks and had 20 minutes on the Wii. He wouldn't have felt guilty he'd have said quite rightly that he'd just been in the car for four hours.

Men find it easier to shrug guilt off. They don’t tend to bother themselves with silly things like housework standards. He still got things done - sort of. But perhaps men just aren’t as susceptible to guilt as women are.