Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Seven Things I'd Quite Like to Do in 2018: A Midyear Update

This is a midyear update on a post I wrote back in January: Seven Things I'd Quite Like to Do in 2018. Let’s see how I’ve been getting on!


1. Read Two Books

Back in January I selected two books to read (actually, to reread): Talk Like TED, by Carmine Gallo, and Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard. I have read maybe half of Talk Like TED, so I’m going to declare this one as “ongoing.” Fran and I are reading the first Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon which counts too! I have recently thought to reread The Owl Service, by Alan Garner, not least because of its relevance to an article I am researching on the glamour (“magic or enchantment”) of mania. This was inspired by a quote from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.

And called her like that maiden in the tale
Whom Gwydion made by glamour out of flowers

The ancient tale of Gwydion and Blodeuwedd is central to Garner’s story, which I have known and loved for years.


2. Bring My Weight Back Under 180 Pounds

I cannot tell a lie, I am not doing at all well with this one! My weight is holding more or less steady, but around 191 lbs give or take the pound or so which represents the normal “noise in the signal.” This noise is present no matter what a person weighs or whether their weight is fundamentally stable or trending up or down. This is why I weigh every day. It is the best way of tracking the genuine trend though the noise. I have (mostly!) stopped having sandwiches (or anything else to eat) late at night, which is my main failing when it comes to establishing a healthy regime. It’s clear I need to pay closer attention to what the numbers are telling me. (And to Fran who is doing a lot better at this than I am these days!)


3. Have One Weekend Away From Home

This one is achieved, although not in the way I might have expected. (That said, the possibility was at the back of my mind at the start of the year.)

My mother died on March 8 and I travelled down to Liverpool with my family at the end of that month for her funeral. Despite the circumstances — or perhaps because of them — it was a meaningful trip for me on many levels. My key memories are of walking by the riverfront with Pam, Mike, and Emma on the morning of the funeral, and the three of us reminiscing at the hotel the night before.

After the funeral I spent some time on my own, walking beside the marina. Some lines came to me which I will share here. Not poetry, perhaps.

Wandering
Wondering

How do I feel
What do I feel

Release
Relief

Re birth

Stillness
Silence

Un known
Un homed

Un tethered

Still
Calm

Centred (thank you

— Liverpool, March 26, 2018


4. Attend Two Speaking Engagements

I’ve not (yet!) had been invited to give a talk like I did at last November’s Talking FreELY event but I was asked to perform at the recent Laughing Lasses pantomime here in Newcastle for Mental Health Awareness Week. I read two of Fran’s poems, A Wild Hair and Urgency, and excerpts from our book High Tide Low Tide.

I have also been invited to read at a fundraiser for mental health charity MIND in November, which I am really looking forward to. (Thanks, Aimee!)

Last week I took up the opportunity to read two of my poems at the Newcastle Literary Salon’s event on the theme of Love and Loss. I read Valentine’s Day (massacred) and What Happened to the Lovetrees? which fit the bill perfectly. It was the first time I have performed any of my poetry in public. I think I did okay.


5. See Three Movies at the Cinema

I saw Darkest Hour at Newcastle’s lovely Tyneside Cinema. I enjoyed the experience but found the film itself disappointing. Gary Oldman was feted (and won numerous awards including an Academy Award for Best Actor) for his performance as Churchill. It was certainly an amazing performance by the makeup department but I simply didn’t feel it. The cinematographic technique of having the camera zoom out rapidly (and vertically, twice) was cumbersome and unnecessary. Likewise, the couple of battle field vignettes added nothing to the story. A few historical inaccuracies are to be expected, but the scene where Churchill took to the Tube to mix with the “common folk” was beyond ridiculous. On the other hand the critics loved the film — so what do I know?

Fran and I have watched several good movies together (via Skype) on DVD and Netflix. My Best Friend’s Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding were great (our nod to A Certain Other Wedding). Ditto Notting Hill, an old favourite of mine. The TV drama Shetland is brilliant, by the way, if you get chance to see it. That’s what we are watching at the moment. It could almost persuade me to go live on a tiny island in the North Sea. Except, yunno, Wi-Fi.


6. Find a Use for My Standard Midori

This one is accomplished! After a few false starts last year I have settled on using my “big” Midori Traveler’s Notebook for planning and writing my blog posts. I started early in the year when I filled one insert with daily updates on Fran’s month-long trip to Mexico. Since that time most of my posts for our blog and all my articles for BP Magazine have started life in my Midori.

Once drafted, I type up my notes and edit them on the PC but writing with my fountain pen in my Midori allows me to “just write” more freely than I manage when at the keyboard or on my phone.


7. Shoot a Roll of Film

I am a little disappointed in myself that I have nothing to report on this one. In retrospect it would have been good to take my father’s Kodak Brownie 44B camera down to Liverpool when we were there for my mother’s funeral but it didn’t occur to me at the time. This is one I definitely want to focus on (pun intended!) in the months to come.

Did you set yourself any resolutions, objectives, or “things to do” for this year? If so, how are you doing with them?

 

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