It’s Time to be Insecure Again

Yes, it’s that time of the month when insecure writers of the world unite and state that they have nothing to lose but their fears…  This month I am feeling insecure about politics.  There’s so much hostility flying around in the political arena, what with post-Brexit recriminations (and racism), Labour Party factionalism, Donald Trump ghastliness (and Hillarious beastliness) that it’s hard to know where to turn.  It’s tempting, in fact, to turn right off and say nothing whatever about anything as the fear of being shot down in flames is too great.

But when you feel passionate about something you can’t just shut up and go away.  And there’s the rub: because in expressing passionate opinions you lay yourself open to all kinds of responses, from the enthusiastic to the Eeyore-ish, from the respectfully disagreeing to the abusive.  So whereas I feel more secure than I did about, say, my poetry, and I don’t mind so much if people don’t like it, I do tend to feel insecure when I express political opinions.

Aaand talking of a range of reactions, get a load of this then:

your profile photo

Yes, it’s my latest haircut (well, not so much a haircut, more a close shave.)  The other day I was lamenting the lack of dosh to visit the hairdresser’s.  Then I reflected that I didn’t really know what sort of haircut I wanted anyway.  So I got out the clippers, intending to cut a bit off the bottom and maybe shave the underside to cool off a bit.  And I just got carried away.  It feels great, as if a weight has been taken off my mind (!) but what’s interesting is the range of reactions I’ve had from people, from outright enthusiasm (Wow!  It looks great!) to a somewhat more wary (gosh, isn’t it short!) to the frankly scared.  Drastic changes do tend to evoke strong reactions in people and you can’t always predict who will react in what way.

But I digress.  This month we Insecure Writers are asked to blog about our first writing project: what was it, when was it and, most crucially, where is it now?

Well, I’ve blogged about this before, but here goes.  My first serious writing project began in about 1981.  It was a novel called ‘Seven Days’ and concerned a woman trapped in a nuclear bunker (remember, this is pre-glasnost.)  When no-one else comes, she concludes that they are all dead and that she is trapped alone in the bunker until it’s safe to go out.  To prevent herself from going mad she starts to write her memories.  Each day she recalls a different stage in her life, leading up to the recent past when the plot-twist happens and on the last day, Sunday, she leaves the bunker.  Sadly this novel has remained unpublished as I haven’t been able to do enough with it.  But I haven’t given up…

Happy Insecure Wednesday, fellow-writers!  And here’s the obligatory link to the blog:

Kirk out

So Long, So Long Marianne

I just found out today that Marianne, the inspiration for Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’ has died.  Not everyone knows that ‘So Long Marianne’ was about a real Marianne, but in the ‘sixties Cohen lived with her for a while.  She was Norwegian and in this memorial he describes her as ‘a beautiful soul.’

I keep thinking that any day now we will hear the news that Leonard Cohen is dead.  But the guy just keeps going on.  He’s a sort of guru of mine: any time I don’t know how to deal with a situation I think, ‘What would Leonard do?’  Of course, Leonard doesn’t want to be anyone’s guru – but that’s exactly what makes him perfect for me.  I have a sort of Groucho Marx approach to discipleship – I wouldn’t choose as my guru anyone who actually wants to be a guru.

There’s a nice joke in ‘Finding Dory’ – which we went to see for Mark’s birthday (his choice) where the heroine, whenever she’s lost and doesn’t know what to do, thinks ‘What would Dory do?’  The eponymous blue john dory suffers from short-term memory loss, but what was a brilliant joke in Finding Nemo turns into a rather dull, overworked trope in this follow-up.  It had its moments – I liked the character of the octopus with seven limbs – but basically it was lame.  Which, for film featuring a load of fish and sea-creatures, is some achievement.  Don’t bother.

What you should bother with, though, is ‘Spotlight’.  I’ll probably come back to this as it deserves a full review and deeper consideration, but the 2015 film of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of mass abuse by Catholic priests in Boston and how it opened a can of worms far larger than anyone could have dreamed, is a masterpiece.  Beg, steal or borrow (but not from me).

That’s all for now folks.  I’m in summer mode which means that posts are sporadic.  Sorry about that, but I expect you’re all sunning yourselves on some strip of sand somewhere in the Med and don’t need me anyway.

Kirk out