Belated Advent Blog Day 15: The Penultimate

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For the posts I have done to date I have usually started off with some rough idea that I have scribbled down somewhere. Sometimes a few notes, or a more or less complete draft.

I thought I knew what today’s was going to be about but that has changed. I have just read on social media of the death of Scottish music legend Sydney Devine, at the age of 81. I do not claim to be a particular fan of his renditions of Country & Western music but I do have a true story to tell, which I like to think of as a minor love story, and Sydney was central to it.

Many years ago – can’t remember exactly but probably early 1980s because the Glasgow Apollo (which closed in June 1985) was still operating – my wife, Helen, and I headed into Glasgow, with the intention of having a musical night out. We had babysitters for the night, had no idea who was playing Glasgow, but in those days we didn’t care. We had a broad musical taste and felt sure we’d find something to enjoy.

The Apollo was a short walk from Glasgow Queen Street station, and that’s where we headed first. I genuinely cannot remember who was playing there that night (possibly due to the trauma of later events) but whoever it was my vote was to join the queue for tickets.

Just as we got in line, Helen looked across the road to see what was on at The Pavilion Theatre. Whatever it was, the crowd arriving outside suggested it was someone popular with women, many of them apparently of an older vintage.

“Sydney Devine’s playing at The Pavilion” she said, and I replied, “So what!”

Anyway, a couple of minutes later we were mingling with Sydney’s largely female local fanbase while I entreated, “Please tell me this is a joke, Helen. You don’t really want to see him?”

I don’t want to disrespect the legendary singer, especially as we mark his passing, but at that time it simply would not have been regarded as the coolest gig for a young couple to attend, especially on a rare night out.

Well, she did want to see him so I went to the Box Office and, grudgingly, asked for tickets. When I was told that the show was sold out, I returned to deliver the news with a smile that was probably too broad.

Helen was surprisingly disappointed, “It would have been so much fun” she said, and that was obviously the mood she had been in when she suggested it. Her evident sadness drove me to do something I have never done before or since, not even for someone I wanted to see. I went back to the Box Office and told a downright lie.

I told them it was my wife’s birthday, that she was a big fan, and that I had forgotten to book tickets for her special night.

Yes, my friends, I not only got tickets but tickets right down the front. We had an enjoyable night watching an artist who liked to connect with his audience, posed in the middle of songs for women who ran down the centre aisle with their little Kodak cameras, cracked jokes about himself and his run-ins with the press, and the music was fine too.

Thank you Sydney. May you Rest in Peace.

More to the point, Helen was overjoyed and – as I miss her now – that continues to means a lot to me.

There you go, a wee tribute to Mr Devine combined with a minor love story, both on the day before St Valentine’s Day!

(Belated) Advent Blog Day 14: Strong Female Television Leads, including Dickinson/The Great

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Taking subject matter in an entirely new direction, I turn my attention temporarily to television drama (of sorts).

In recent times (for almost two years and for the most personal of reasons) I have paid only limited attention to the output of television, turning to it mainly for news and information. But gradually I have returned a little bit at a time to watching television, seeking out the more dramatic as well as the relaxing and entertaining aspects.

In recent weeks I acquired a free subscription to Apple TV and, although I am still not letting tv take over in the way it used to, a few things have whetted my appetite.

Something which was becoming fashionable prior to my sabbatical from television has grown in dominance but I have identified a change, which I am sure is present now in many outlets but I am going to drill down to two very particular examples of drama series which have taken my eye.

The trend I have identified in recent years is the strong female lead but it tended to turn up mainly in gritty crime/detective series and the like. However, the two examples which caught my attention recently could not be further removed from such roles.

I refer to two colourful, high production value, costume drama period pieces of a very particular type. As my television bandwidth is pretty narrow (Freeview and now Apple TV) there may be more examples but I refer to one from terrestrial tv, The Great (Channel 4, Sundays) and one other, Dickinson on Apple TV (new episodes each Friday).

For anyone who doesn’t know what it’s about, The Great is described as a comedy period drama and ‘an occasionally true story’ of the marriage of Catherine (later to become the Great) to the Emperor Peter III (the not-so-great) of Russia. It is lots of fun most of the time (and a tad ribald, Certificate 18+) but, without giving away any spoilers, I recently saw episode 5 which was unsparing in its depiction of the heartlessness and pointlessness of war. Horrible things happen in other episodes too but that particular episode got to me.

I think the only other part of a comedy series that had a similar effect on me was the finale of Blackadder Goes Fourth.

There, however, the similarity ends. In The Great we have a female lead in Elle Fanning who, even with a strong and talented cast around her, is the fascinating centre of attention. She does not over-act. The camera loves her face which is a thing of wonder whether expressing amusement, sadness, puzzlement, passion or disappointment. She is also an executive producer of all 10 episodes.

Dickinson stars Hailee Steinfield as Emily Dickinson, the reclusive poet. As with Elle Fanning in The Great, Hailee Steinfield’s face dominates this production. As with The Great, a fabulous cast of actors and high production value in sets, lighting, sound and camera work surround but do not dominate the presence of Steinfield in the central role. As with Elle in The Great, Hailee is one of the executive producers of Dickinson.

She sometimes underplays or is completely still as befits the character she plays, yet effortlessly holds the viewer’s attention. The fact she sometimes underplays has the effect of increasing the comedy or dramatic impact when she does let herself go, either in her imagination or in comedic situations such as last week’s visit to a spa.

I could go on at length but really wanted to focus just on the strength of these female lead roles.

Before closing, the only other matter I shall mention is the music and dialogue. I don’t know if this is something liberated by the spirit of Hamilton – the Musical, but in both these series I have noticed a crossover between music and something more contemporary, including hip-hop. The dialogue is of a similar hybrid.

I do recommend you catch both shows if you haven’t already done so.

And, with that, I bid you farewell on current television meandering, with the reminder that there are just two of these daily blog posts to go, to complete the belated Advent Blog series. Then there will be just weekly blogs for the foreseeable…what am I saying? Nothing is foreseeable!

Bye for now.

Belated Advent Blog Day ‘12A’: Just Your Luck, Mate

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I am now nearing the end of this ludicrous task of 24 days of Blogs in the form of an out-of-time Advent Calendar. With this calendar, when you open the box you don’t get a chocolate, but in its place a random thought or two, this time on the subject of luck, good and bad.

Typical of my random approach, the opening of boxes has moved from the outwards in so that, including today’s there remain just four Blog Day Numbers: 16, 15, 14 and, if you’re superstitious, the unmentionable one.

Now I don’t regard myself as superstitious, but you may conclude that I have proved cowardly in the numbering of this Blog. Though genuinely not triskaidekaphobic, I ask myself what is the point of tempting fate? Not only is the dreaded number due to be applied to today’s blog but I am writing it on the eleventh day of the second month (11 + 2 = ??).

So, no chances will be taken

Like a hotel which avoids having room Thirteen

We won’t say which Advent Blog it is today

And instead of using that cursed number

We’re going to call it Blog Day 12A

On a more serious note, the issue of luck is on my mind.

Currently I am working on a longer poem than the ones I usually write. The initial inspiration arose from a tourist attraction visited during the last few days of holiday I enjoyed, in October 2019 on the island of Ireland.

At the quayside in New Ross, County Wexford there are contrasting but related exhibits side by side, the one relating to the ships which carried those forced to escape famine in mid-19th century Ireland, the other celebrating the visit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States of America, in 1963. JFK’s great grandfather had made the journey from Wexford to Boston and Kennedy was marking that with his visit.

But this starting point has set me on a journey of research which will take me to many destinations before it is over and it will finally come ashore in modern Britain and America. Although it’ll be a human story, it cannot avoid the impact of British and ultimately American Imperialism and Capitalism, and how certain aspects of good fortune are not down to luck at all but depend on wealth, power, property, access to education and belonging to the acceptable family, race or colour.

On a more positive note, the poem will attempt to balance the cruelty of the negative impacts with a contrasting narrative demonstrating the kind of good fortune we all like to witness. Love, happiness, overcoming obstacles and the other kinds of ‘luck’ which come from hard work, community and kindness.

It is truly amazing how, from viewing a tourist attraction, one’s mind can travel thousands of miles and begin to consider the respective situations of the many very different human characters involved.

Perhaps more to the point, I have set myself a difficult task which will require getting the tone and pace of the poem just right. It must not veer towards the overly didactic, must hold attention, yet have historical accuracy as well as drama. It will have to convey emotion at points but not become sentimental.

Though getting it right may be difficult and I may fail, I shall learn much in the process. They say you learn more from analyses of your failures than your successes.

I consider myself lucky to have had the inspiration and to be alive to do some work on it.

That kind of luck is sometimes where you choose to find it.

Procrastinator’s Advent Blog Day 12: A short walk on 2nd January 2021

Inspired by walking in snow and certain other references from yesterday’s post Ridiculously late Advent Blog Day 11: I wish I’d gone out earlier I recalled and looked out this note I made of a short journey on foot which took place on 2nd January 2021.

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Still self-isolating as much as possible as we move towards what I believe will be the most dangerous time in mid-January, I decide to make a short trip through snow and ice to a nearby shop to buy groceries. It is mainly for the exercise I have promised myself that I leave my car on the driveway and walk my hiking boots to what would usually be a very busy street. The vehicular traffic is minimal, pedestrians rare.

In the below-zero temperature, apart from the deserted clarity of the streetscape, the first thing that strikes me is the aroma of ‘weed’. I could not see any smokers in my line of vision, a line of vision which stretched far and wide, but the smell was unmistakably hanging in the pure chill suspended around me. Captured in the air there was an eerie wintry stillness which it seemed almost wrong to penetrate and there was an illegal aroma which made me want to giggle about its unexpectedness and unlikely presence in this residential neighbourhood’.

Better stop there. Just realised that that is the second reference I have made to a certain illegal substance in as many days. I contemplated applying imagination to my note, turning the above factual account into a bit of magic realism but that will have to wait for another occasion.

I am concerned that if I do my references to snow will be interpreted as slang for another illegal substance. Placing magic realism or other mixed fact and fantasy on top of that would undoubtedly lead to the entirely misleading impression that such substances assist me in my creative tasks.

I am aware that many artists, including poets, visual artists and musicians I greatly admire, have found recreational drugs valuable in their explorations and credit some of their artistic innovation and personal discovery to such use.

I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to debate their claims. It may be that I shall never find my true potential. I accept that I may never reach the level of nirvana they seek, even with my irregular practice of meditation. But that is the choice I have made.

So expect to bump into me a few stages lower than nirvana, at whatever boring level you reach following a glass or three of red wine.

Ridiculously late Advent Blog Day 11: I wish I’d gone out earlier

 

Well, after a few days’ break I’m back on the trail of counting down the remaining six days of an Advent now lost in the mists of 2020. After this post just five more of that species to go, then this extended exercise will be over. And everyone will be relaxed (me included) knowing that my obligation to you will be to post on a regular weekly basis like a sensible blogger, using more sensible post-titles.

Today is about a number of things including procrastination, but I’ll get round to that later!

It’s also about snow and mask-wearing and exercise and related matters, though all from a purely personal perspective.

On the topic of masks, I am in very much in favour though I do wish we had access to the functionality of the type used by superheroes in Marvel movies. For too many of us, and certainly for me, it is sometimes difficult to remember to have the mask in my possession when leaving the house or, having arrived at a destination, when leaving the car.

In Marvel movies the superhero can be maskless at one point, then presses a button or makes a hand movement to become armoured or masked. There have been many times during the pandemic when this facility would have been a boon, obviating the need to return to house or car to pick up a forgotten mask.

That said, today was very different for me. Snowed in I decided to do what I should have been doing for many months. I left the car behind and, rather than carry a mask in my pocket I decided to wear it the whole time I was out.

I was going out in search of a shop selling snow-shovels and, as this might involve visiting a number of shops at different locations, putting the mask on and taking it off repeatedly just seemed unnecessary handling which would increase the risk of infection spread. So, I wore it all the time I was out and I think I’ll be doing this in future.

While walking about, I was pleased to see that quite a few other people had adopted a similar practice in their mask-wearing, though there were some who still had a problem with covering their nose.

While I was out the bright skies became rather overcast and I saw some of the snow alter from pristine to not-so. These changes became noticeable from about 4.30pm, when I was on my way home after a ninety minute walk, and that is when I really wished I had gone out earlier. These winter days it is so beneficial to experience the light as well as the freshness of air.

This is where I have to admit one of my greatest faults. Procrastination in many things. I have failed to take advantage of so many publication opportunities as a result of convincing myself I have plenty of time, then miss deadlines. I have put off outdoor exercise believing that my indoor Tai Chi will return soon, but it has not. I had a lovely ninety minute walk today but could have had a longer walk under brighter skies had I left the house much earlier. And so on.

In all of this I must change, especially as the impact of the pandemic in the UK has proved, and looks to remain, long-lasting.

On a lighter note, and finally, I ask you to look at the photograph of my house roof appearing under the heading of this post. Unlike some of the sleazier snow I encountered today, the snow on my roof remained pristine.

As well as being quite pretty, this also signals two things I don’t mind the world knowing.

Firstly, the roof insulation is working.

Secondly, I do not have a cannabis farm in my roof space.

P.S. The snow on the ground, apart from the evidence of my boots, is also pristine. You see, my search for a snow-shovel was unsuccessful. In fact two of the shops I visited told me they had sold their last one earlier in the day. Once again, procrastination strikes!

Belated Advent Blog Day 10: Angels

 

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Carrying on the theme of Irish and other-worldly, touched upon in the Day 9 post, I have for you the following abbreviated version of something which happened a few years ago.

I offer it in this incomplete sketch form on the basis that I may still be able to expand and craft it into a CNF for submission somewhere at some time in the future. 

I also have a longer term ambition to complete a psychological thriller novel which features an Angel-obsessed main character, so once again it’s best not to give too much away.

In any case I don’t expect many of you believe in Angels, and if you tend to think of them as always taking the traditional form of ethereal winged creatures, that may be understandable. In any case, it cannot be denied that Angels in that form have a place in an Advent Blog, however belated that may now be.

This particular tale of encounter, and I do have others, took place on a Mediterranean cruise holiday during which my late wife and I visited a particularly busy, traffic-dominated Italian city. Getting about with my wheelchair-bound spouse wasn’t much of a problem at first but that situation changed when we tried to make our way back to ship on time by taking a shorter return route.

This involved negotiating the busiest road with a footpath so narrow it could just accommodate the width of the wheelchair. At one point halfway along its length the footpath had planted in it a street light, an obstruction which made it impassible for the wheelchair.

The motorcycles, scooters and cars zoomed past at such high speed we judged it wouldn’t be safe to take the wheelchair onto the road to get past. We decided that we would have to retrace our steps, which would take much longer and risked the possibility of not getting back on time to board the ship but it was the safer option…Then the Angels appeared. 

I won’t say too much more about them here, except they took the form of an Irish couple, husband and wife. We had not seen them before, and they said they hadn’t previously noticed us, but they were making their way back to the same ship as we were.

The husband told me to ready myself to push the wheelchair onto the road, around the lamppost and back onto the footpath as quickly as possible.

Photo by Ruiyang Zhang on Pexels.com

He then walked out onto the road, facing into the oncoming speeding traffic, and waved them away from the inside lane allowing me to complete the necessary manoeuvre.

No one was injured thankfully, though this has to be said; if Italian swear words could kill we’d all be dead.

Now I don’t expect this on its own will convince many readers of the existence of Angels, and the only additional information I can give is that this brief encounter has a sequel which took place some days later. That will only be disclosed in a fuller version which hopefully will be accepted for publication elsewhere and so reach a larger audience. 

Apologies if that sounds like a tease, but for the moment my lips must be sealed.

If you have experienced any difficult situations which became resolved by the sudden inexplicable arrival of a stranger, please feel free to tell me your story in the comments.

Out-of-time Advent Blog Day 9: Bridget/Brigid

Should this dogged determination to complete a task continue so far beyond the long-expired days of Advent, I ask?

And straightaway I give myself an answer in the form of the following post, knowing that when it is published, only seven more are required to represent the missing days 10-16, all others having been recorded in their own haphazard order.

As I have said before, everyday is part of an advent to something. Indeed, sometimes a route to adventure. So these will continue to completion, after which I shall post only once per week in this Blog. 

Before February is over I plan to post one or two reviews of other people’s work, which will take things in a different direction once again. To get in the mood for that you may wish to check out two reviews I have already posted here:- Review: Venus in Pink Marble by Gaynor Kane (published by Hedgehog Poetry Press) and https://peterawriter.com/2020/10/19/review-keep-on-spinning-a-debut-chapbook-by-jen-hughes.

In the meantime this is a post with a personal feel. As usual I shall keep its content brief and easily readable but have an ambition to build its premise into a larger work of greater depth and research, accompanied by poetry inspired by its subject matter.

The photograph which heads this post is of my paternal grandmother, whose first name was Bridget. I started to think of her a lot as February got under way when I found my Facebook Timeline inundated with references to St. Brigid whose feast day is 1st February. This happened partly because I follow a Proud to be Irish Facebook Account but also because I have a few Facebook friends who have their origins or cultural roots in Ireland.

The Facebook links associated with St Brigid/Bridget took me to poetry, old and current, and I was delighted to find that she was regarded as the patron saint of poetry and creativity. I also noticed that one Facebook friend, the poet Raine Geoghegan, referred to her as goddess, which made me think she must have a pagan origin.

Sure enough, a little further research confirmed that 1st February originally marked Imbolc or Imbolg, a pagan festival associated with Brigid, goddess of fire, inspiration, poetry and crafts and that this was subsequently Christianised. Historically it was a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of Spring, lying midway between winter and spring equinoxes. Originally it was celebrated not only in Ireland but also in Scotland and the Isle of Man.

So what’s all this got to do with my Gran?

Well, it has much to do with the way my mind and heart operate. 

By way of background, for her own reasons Granny stopped using the name Bridget at a fairly young age. When she was confirmed she took the name Cecilia and insisted on being addressed by that name. As a child, I was quite pleased with that, knowing that St Cecilia was regarded as the patron of music and musicians. While I have found no personal talent in that area, as a child I had hopes I might develop in that beloved art.

In any case, I was always romantic about Ireland and it was her husband, my grandfather and namesake, who was Irish. I did not associate Granny with Ireland at all. She, like me, was Scottish.

However, getting all this input about Imbolc/St. Brigid’s day got me thinking. 

I now have Irish citizenship, as indeed my Gran would have been entitled to acquire from her marriage to a Wexford man or because of her family’s origins in Newry.

I have in recent years achieved publication as a poet, and though I have not gained musical skills to deserve the saintly patronage of Cecilia (which was not Granny’s birth name anyway), it seems I have some entitlement to the patronage of Bridget, goddess and saint (and my Gran’s real name) for my literary efforts.

Frankly, I’m pretty chuffed with that and, as well as cherishing fond memories of my Gran, the Bridget in my bloodline, I am hoping an early spring in my creative step for the rest of the month.

Advent (Retrospective and Brief) Blog Day 8: Mum

Had I been up to date on December 8th, when the post for Advent Day 8 should have been written, it would have been very brief. So it will be now.

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This date marked the fifteenth anniversary of the death of my Mum, a day when she joined my Dad lost four years earlier. I miss her. I miss them both.

(Very Belated) Advent Blog Day 7: Unblocked Plus

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For reasons which, for the most part, I cannot divulge publicly yet I now feel completely unblocked, and more; you may say Unblocked Plus.

And the final part of this great evacuation took place on a Sunday, when one doesn’t necessarily expect any movement.

I should point out, for anyone who has not yet read my blog posts (Advent (delayed) Blog Day 5: Blockage) and (Advent (belated) Blog Day 6: A Slight Unblocking) I do not refer here to constipation. If you want to understand fully, avail yourself of the explanations provided in the previous blogs.

Similarly, when I refer now to Unblocked Plus, I do not wish you to have in mind the crude and off-putting suggestion of diarrhoea, a nasty and generally unwelcome affliction. On the contrary I refer to an unexpected bonus which I am sure would not have occurred but for the final unblocking.

You may have gathered quite accurately from the previous posts that, with some recent measure of success but still some frustration, I have continued my attempts to deal with apparently inexplicable breakdowns in communication. In particular, I have struggled with the sense of discouragement that such blockages raise in me.

I recognise that this is occasionally quite irrational and often obstructive to creativity. Although, thankfully, I have never (yet) experienced writer’s block, I do become particularly distracted when awaiting outstanding replies, details of outcomes, and responses generally. So distracted in fact that I sometimes cannot get on with new work, wasting time instead checking and re-checking email etc. in an obsessive manner.

I have spoken of the ways I have attempted to retrain my mind to overcome this sort of time-waste, and in my previous post on this topic reported some limited but encouraging success.

Though I cannot go into the details of the significant unblocking which took place on Sunday I want to say something of the ‘plus’ or bonus unexpected happening.

On the creative side, I received an email which explained, in a way that made me ashamed, the very serious reason that one matter had not moved forward as expected. In a separate email hope was offered about how this might be resolved. That got me off to a start that was a mix of reflective and positive. 

Following attention to another matter of personal importance to me, I then took the bull by the horns in relation to a non-creative matter which I knew was going to be time-consuming. It became more time-consuming when telephonic communications were lost for technical reasons, and face-to-face became the only option. I went ahead with some trepidation, double-masked in the current circumstances of pandemic, and did achieve the outcome I desired though it took a large part of the day and early evening to resolve and get home.

Once home, I was hungry and tired, so went ahead to prepare dinner with the intention of settling down in front of the telly for the rest of the night. Though I had wine with dinner, which can make me drowsy when I dine alone, at 10.00pm I made a decision to attempt something I thought would be impossible.

There were a number of deadlines for poetry and other submissions on Sunday 31st and I had submitted nothing whatsoever during January. Contrary to common sense, I chose to put together a submission that involved finding and compiling multiple poems rather than going for a single poem, or a couple of single poem entries which would have been much more do-able.

Having decided it was likely impossible to complete, I approached the task with a mix of urgency and relaxation. If, as seemed likely, I did not compile and send the themed submission by 23.59, that would simply mean I had not done the impossible (as expected).

However, with a minute or two to spare, the submission was delivered electronically. And that is my plus, the unexpected. Even if the submission is not ultimately found acceptable, I can take that rejection knowing that I completed a kind of Mission Impossible, something I did not have the wherewithal to do the previous day.

Having consumed three measures of Malbec

The work may not be up to scratch 

On the other hand one’s best often comes

When one is completely relaxed 

Whatever transpires, and I won’t know for a while, today was a good day!

Advent (belated) Blog Day 6: A Slight Unblocking

Photo by Peter A. : Painting by Gemma

Last night I drafted quite a different post to the one which follows. The original, I decided today, was too much about my personal life and certain recent happenings which brought me an unexpected level of joy. 

So I deleted it word by word until all that remained was the the above image, which I have kept here to encapsulate and serve as a reminder of what true happiness is about.

I’ll tell you only that this is a photo of the latest canvas to hang in my study, and that the artist turned eleven years old about a month ago. She spends most of her time working on imaginative portraiture and figurative art but occasionally turns her hand to landscape. This one certainly pleases me.

Moving on, Blog Day 5 was about communication blockage [ Advent (delayed) Blog Day 5: Blockage ] and in a way about the universe and everything. Rather than doing my usual random jump around the numbers, kindly observe that I now transition logically to Blog Day 6 and A Slight Unblocking, an episode which is both mercifully brief and stoically positive in my humble opinion.

As with the Blockage episode, what I have to say is not specifically about writers or writing. It is about the mindset of people like me who enjoy having several balls in the air at a time while lines of communication remain conveniently open, but find it difficult to move on to something new when communications about previous work or correspondence stop or are delayed.

It really only becomes a problem when there are several examples at once of this ‘blockage’ – those times when irrationally it appears that the whole universe is in conflict with your progress in particular. Nonsense I know, but it can feel that way.

In the previous post I think I hinted at the need to find a way to ignore this and force yourself to do new things, trying not to check email and texts every five minutes (in my case I go through phases when the frequency of checking is even more extreme than that). One must learn (I am trying to learn) that this behaviour simply wastes time, interfering with progress and creativity. More importantly, it increases anxiety. 

In short no good will come of this habit, and weaning yourself off such behaviour, I can confirm, does yield positive results. I should add that I fully understand from my own experience that being confined to home on one’s own during lockdown tends to make the situation worse, so going out for a walk may assist, especially if you dare to leave your phone behind!

In my own case, just by getting out for a little while, having safe socially-distanced or virtual chats with people I care about, breathing in some fresh air and putting aside concerns about unaccountable communication delays, I have felt less frustrated. 

Furthermore, the universe has opened up a little, sending me a couple of lovely pieces of snail Mail which I’ll tell you about in a future post, an email telling me the new publication date of something which had been delayed, a long-awaited email from a travel agent about transfer of a deposit and confirmation that an upsetting personal matter is going to be taken care of.

There are still other matters of importance I haven’t yet heard about but the anxiety I felt a few days ago has been taken down several notches.  

So, in my experience it does work. It’s also a good thing to remember the really important things in life like family and other loved ones. I have a wintry landscape image that will continue to remind me of my priorities.

If you don’t have one already, finding an image that focuses the mind in such a way could be a useful starting point.