Can I Borrow the Book You Wrote from the Library, Please?

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

Okay, cat among the pidgies with this one. If someone shares my work via a link-up or reblog I am chuffed to beans that someone thinks it is good enough to share. Do they need my permission to do that – hell the fire, no. It is easy enough to remove the reblog feature in the settings for one’s blog if it is that bothersome. If you leave the reblog feature active, then you are actively asking readers to share your work – if they deem it worthy of sharing.

When we blog, we are putting our work out there for people to see. How huge a compliment is it that someone reads your blog and thinks it is worth promoting to a wider audience. That is massive, and a thank you is in order. My blog isn’t private, it would be if I didn’t want people reading it – and really what is the point of that.

Writing isn’t just about hitting keys and pulling an article, story, or poem out of the hat. It is also using the various means available to promote our work to a wider audience. In modern times, that includes social media as well as book signings, readings, and meet-the-author workshops.

A reblog isn’t stealing someone’s work as it is a direct link to the original post. It is part of building up a following. As writers putting our work out there, we don’t get to choose who reads it, the reader chooses us. Like many bloggers, I have various sharing buttons on my blog posts, and I know they get used, probably by my mother as she thinks everything I do is fantabulosa.

This really feels like asking an author if you can borrow a copy of their book, their intellectual property, from the library in case they don’t want just anyone to read it. The courtesy in reblogging is saying thank you when someone thinks our work is good enough that their readers would also enjoy it.

Sorry if that is the wrong answer but it is my thoughts

Knowing When to Stop

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

I am an introvert and very much a loner, valuing my own space and privacy. Meeting people and socializing makes me feel rather uncomfortable, I won’t say embarrassed but certainly shy. I know how to put up the mask for people to see, I know how to hide behind that mask, so people don’t see the real me – and that is what I must do.

It isn’t ideal by any means, but my mental health is still shaky, so I have to protect me and protect myself from the invasive prying into my personal life. Even writing for this prompt I basically convince myself only Sadje will read it, but I know that might not be true – and I’m not wholly comfortable with that so will stop here.

Just Be You

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

It all depends on what or who you are looking good for really. If it is for your own self-esteem, then do it. It is not vanity to make oneself feel good, it is healthy and good for one’s mental health. That I would see as a necessity. Comfort is also important, so it is a case of finding that happy space where looking good and comfort gel together. This is self-care not vanity. If self-care is vanity, then be vain as the alternative is not healthy

Now if you are made to feel you must dress to impress someone then I’d question if that person is interested in you or the clothes you are wearing. If they are interested in you, then they won’t care what you are wearing if you feel comfortable and good about yourself. We are not lifeless mannequins we are human beings. Never dress to impress anyone if they are truly interested in you, they won’t care if you are in your favourite old jeans or dressed up in high fashion. Narcissistic toxic people try and make you be about them in how you speak, act, and dress – it is not healthy, it is not ever going to be a good relationship – get out of there, get out of there quick

Courtesy Costs Nothing

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

For me, it is the comments and the conversations that can be had in comments that make blogging a more refined social media space. So naturally, I think it is important to respond to someone’s comment and of course, it is simply common courtesy and good manners.

Now, what is classed as a response? Can it just be clicking the like button if one feels they have nothing to add to the thread of conversation? I’d say absolutely, yes it can be. The like button comes in handy for letting someone know you have seen their post or comment but maybe are not in a place to answer. I have the WordPress app on my phone which comes into its own when I am away from home but if I am away from home, most likely with my mum, I am not always able to type answers.

I think I have said it before, WordPress has a lovely community aspect to it, unlike the regular forms of social media there doesn’t seem to be nasty social politics going on. Possibly because we all read things that interest us on WordPress so immediately there is some common ground. Perhaps that is it, I don’t know.

Um. That Will Be a No

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

This should have been a one word post – NO. That would be unfair to Sadje so I will try and make it a little bit longer.

Unusual for me but I am going to refer to my Zodiac sign of Capricorn – stubborn, headstrong, independent, and a survivor. Those particular aspects of the goatfish are more than a little true, in fact, they could be written in neon lights over my head. A lot of people would see them as negative traits. Indeed, there are times they are. However, that is far outweighed by the times they are not.

Yes, I am a stubborn git when it comes to things that matter to me and I won’t let go. I won’t change who I am to please anyone – that just ends up with me in mega depression spirals looking at blades in a bad way. It really is a not going there thing.

There are times I struggle and struggle badly with my mental health. I know to seek medical help and believe me I do. I don’t need to be told to do that. And anyone who asks me “Have you seen a doctor” at those times gets their head royally snapped off and told to back off.

I don’t trust easily, and there are very few people I trust enough to confide in when the chips are not just down but shattered on the floor. Too many people have answered my call for help with “I can’t be bothered” so I rarely ask for it, but those few people I know will listen, will hear me out, and can be bothered. They also know if I am asking I am in deep trouble.

Really for me, this is about trust, I guess

Common Courtesy

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

If I use a fellow blogger’s prompt, I link back and also thank them for the prompt. That is common courtesy and call me old-fashioned if you will, but I think that matters. I also link back to any off-blog prompts such as AWAD and Word of the Day. It doesn’t matter if they weren’t meant to provide inspiration.

Good manners are important – well I think they are. Especially so in the writing world, where many of us take inspiration from something by other people be it a poem or just a line of dialogue from a conversation, or a piece of music. It doesn’t take much to reflect gratitude for that inspiration.

Social Media is not such a nice world, however, the blogosphere is different it is a friendly place. Some of my posts do attract some rather nasty emails from people but that’s their problem and if they enjoy life in the black hole of my spam box then they are welcome to it. In some way, I should be grateful to them too, as they inspire me to keep writing about those things. I draw the line – I am not saying thank you to them

Bomboozling Myself

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

The easy answer is yes as I am currently revising old poetry writes from 12 years ago, however, they never were blogged = well, not really. These poems come from when I was studying for my MA and as such were published on a university thing.

As I said the easy answer is yes. Does this university thing count as a blog? I’m not altogether sure as it wasn’t open to public viewing but I know there are such things as private blogs. So if a private blog counts then yes it was a blog.

I also write up poetic form notes and will often use a previously published poem as an example. Does that count as reposting it? This is getting complicated!!!

I guess I will stick with the easy answer

Country Roads

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

Not that I need an excuse to play Livvy, of course

I am glad this is not a choose one thing type of question. So being at home means I am safe from the outside world. I am safe from those who have a negative impact on my mental health. Home is my sanctuary away from all of that hassle I have to face in the real world. It is where I can decompress and put all of the stress and anxiety in its place. That has to be something to like about being at home.

I like being able to drop the disguise and be myself. I don’t have to fake a smile, or get dressed up, I can be relaxed in a pair of jog pants or even just stay in my pyjamas – this is my home and I can do that. Home is the place I am free to be just me. I don’t have to impress anyone. I can chill out.

I can take a shower in the middle of the day or the middle of the night and walk out wearing just a towel and no one gets bothered by it. Well, it does get a rum look from the Lilydog briefly before she dozes off again and the ninja cat will be coiled up in one of the bedrooms not giving a mouse about what the dumb hoomans are doing.

I like spending time with the people I love and who love me with no one saying you should be or do this. I love cooking so I can cook up food for the house or just for myself. And if I want to I can have it simple or fancy, as I feel like doing it. Today is Sunday and I live in the West Country of England so dinner is the obligatory roast pork and all the trimmings. Nothing complicated. Pretentiousness does not belong with the Sunday roast.

Sunday dinner isn’t about the food in our house. It’s the coming together to talk for a while, share the events of a week just gone, or the plans for the week ahead. It is time with the people who kept me going over the last three years as life disintegrated in front of my eyes into a nightmare and they are the guys who have helped me rebuild myself. I love them and they love me – without conditions or manipulation. This is my home where I belong and I like belonging here.

When I am away from home all I want to do is be back home where I belong

Health over Wealth

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

In today’s world that is a really tough question. Of course, health and well-being have to matter more than almost anything because if we don’t have our health nothing else will be any good because of that. However, in the modern world, I don’t think it is possible to live without money at all. Can we even look after our health without money?

If I didn’t earn money I wouldn’t be able to pay for my health insurance and while there is the NHS the fact I earn enough to pay what is little more than a fiver a week for my health care I think I should do that. It is more expensive to insure a car than it is to protect my health and my health is far more important than a car. Okay, I don’t drive a car because I don’t want to – I prefer two wheels, the same point is there bike insurance is more expensive than health insurance. If I don’t have my health I ain’t gonna be riding a bike.

Money has never held an attraction with me. I don’t care what is in someone’s bank account and I don’t find it attractive when they pry into the contents of mine. I really have no time for gold-diggers who declare love and then worship the pound coin because all they care about is cash. People like that are abhorrent. I am not eagerly planning how to spend anything I inherit, I want my loved ones to be healthy and live long lives, and no amount of money will make that alright when they are not.

Yes we live in a world where we need some cash for a basic level of existence, so we can eat, put a roof over our heads, and so on. However, if we don’t take care of our health we won’t be able to do that. So I think health matters more but a bit of money helps us make it matter better.

Enough So It Feels Right

Inspired by and written for Sadie’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadie

Oh, the answer is honestly it depends on what I am writing and for what purpose. I write for a living, and a little of that gets seen on my posts, and for those writes, I don’t create the title the sub-eds do that, that is part of their job and they are undoubtedly better at it than I am. So to answer I am going to work through my writing process and come up with a title for this post

For my poetry and other writes, such as this one, it depends on who I am aiming the writing towards – the audience. Now that audience isn’t necessarily who is actually reading a post, but can be the audience I have in my mind as I am writing it. For example, if a write is for my late partner I try and make the title appeal to her or how I think it would appeal to her. What am I going to name this blog – I don’t know yet? Now that could well end up being the title as my head flips like that sometimes.

For my poetry, I create outline drafts that include a working title consisting of form, theme, and subject. That could be an English sonnet – theme love (sonnets are little love songs) subject to a hairbrush (just a random object on my desk). So at that point, the title is part of my writing process and will never be seen by anyone but me. Therefore the role of the working title is to trigger my creativity. When it comes to the title for the final poem – which will have been through a fair number of revisions the title will have changed a few times – enough so it feels right.

For prompts like Sadje’s I have no outline it is free writing with no other prompting than the question. I write as the thoughts come into my head regarding the question. Have I thought of a title for this yet – no! Apart from oh jees, this is harder than I thought. Yeah, I really am not going with that one. As this is a free write I will not be revising or editing much beyond my rather bad spelling and grammar so it really is a case of falling back to my creative writing tutor from too many years ago when we were told to seek a title from within the write. And I am doing that now as I micro-bite through what I have written? There are a few I could use. So the title ideas are ongoing as I write.

So to conclude how much thought do I give to a post title – enough so it feels right.

Beating the Professionals

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you Sadje

100 posers, wow, well done, Sadje. It amazes me how you think up your thought-provoking questions.

This week’s question is a bit more comfortable for me, so can just write. My thoughts immediately turned to the homeless and people begging on our streets, even before I read your post. Yes, you read that right, the UK, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, has a homelessness issue, and the powers that be do nothing but make it worse.

Local laws in my town say giving money to people begging on the streets is illegal, so as far as money donations go I give to the charities supporting the homeless and I donate to the food bank collection point when I go shopping – however, that doesn’t help when you see someone begging does it?

Giving money may well be illegal, but I am happy to buy someone a burger, a sandwich, a cup of tea, or even dog snax if they have a dog. To be honest I would rather do that as there is a huge problem with professional beggars here, and seeing them piss off in their swish cars after a few hours hacks me right off. Of course, professionals don’t want a burger they want cash. I am by no means wealthy, so I want to be as sure as I can be that I reach the right people. Does that make me cynical?

I have spoken to a few guys who are really genuine, they are in a crisis, often not of their own making, and these professionals make life difficult for them, too. As a passerby in the street, it is hard to tell the difference, at the same time I want to help those who are in genuine need. I will stick with what I do as I am more likely to reach those who need it and not face a hefty fine for tapping someone a fiver, or worse feeding a professional faking it. However, I won’t let the fakes make me blind to what is happening or turn my back on a brother.

I don’t live in London, but the song by Ralph McTell nails it, it could be any city or town centre, it could be anywhere. We have to care.

Sadje’s Sunday Poser – #99

Inspired by and written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser – thank you, Sadje

OUCH!!!! The urge to run away from writing this is absolutely huge but I will try. If I fail no one will ever see it so not really a problem is it? I am in the middle of some heavy-duty mental health healing therapy, part of which is to write letters to myself. For me, this prompt echoes the ones I get but this time I won’t write it to myself but as I need a focused audience rather than a generic one I am going to write it to you. Of course, others may read as they will, and I hope it offers some help to them if they need it.

Dear Sadje

I have just noticed this is a site for women over 50, well I hope you are okay with me answering your prompts as I am now very much a man albeit I was a woman once, but I am well over 50 and getting closer to 60 really.

Anyway that’s just avoiding the question you set, isn’t it? So I will get on with it and stop distracting from it. What criteria of behaviour do I set myself? Impossibly high is probably the short answer. Like most writers, I am my own worst critic and slam pretty much everything I write at some point. I have learned to step back from a piece of writing for a day or two before doing the read through and edits, that helps. This is one of the few prompts that I do that is instant – and yes that makes it challenging. I am already self-critiquing but sticking with it.

I am still going to say I set myself impossibly high standards in life, and certainly don’t expect others to meet them. Sometimes it is useful, sometimes it is not. However, by setting the benchmark so high I have learned to, with a lot of therapy, to be kind to me when I don’t meet the standard I set. Learning to forgive myself has been challenging.

Not allowing myself to just take the blame when something doesn’t go right, even more so. I have gotten far to used to being the scapegoat for other people. I have to remind myself their lives are their responsibility, and their mess ups are also. Thinking about this that includes stopping myself from saying ‘oh it’s my fault’ when it isn’t.

I believe I am courteous, maybe not free with a smile as that isn’t me, but I am always polite. However, I am not free with respect, as I believe that should be earned and not demanded. I may respect the choices that others make but that does not mean I have to actively be a part of them. And I am learning that is okay, as it is respecting my own beliefs and boundaries. I don’t apologize for everything now, if it is something I messed up I apologize but if it isn’t then I don’t, not anymore.

I think setting my standards high, even if they are impossibly so, is actually liberating me from being knuckled down by external opinion, especially negative external opinion. My mental health cannot take that. Actually, I think it makes me reach for the stars and with luck, I will land on the moon one day.

Well, Sadje, I got this far so I will post. Thank you for making me think.

Raven x