I caught sight of a photo post challenge response from Indira’s Blog earlier today and thinking I’d maybe take part, hopped over to check the Mundane Monday Challenge rules. Just my luck that this week has been declared the last week of that challenge, unless volunteer(s) step up to host it. After a whopping 150 weeks hosting the challenge, it is understandable that someone might need to draw a closing line and take some rest from it.
Are you making your Leap Day special?
Something in the air at Jacquies’s blogparty at the weekend had me all fired up and inspired. Seperately, having been issued 14 questions to answer in a challenge from a friend, I decided fourteen is a good number to work with and that there would be fourteen day until this year’s Leap Day and we won’t see another until 2020…
Naturally, what followed was thinking 14days, 14ways? Can I manage a Leap? and I want to make a four year plan – where would I like to be in my life by Leap Day 2020?
Alternatively, or additionally, how might I like my blogging to develop in those four years?
When I made this blog, my first concern was grabbing the url for my name, so that should I recover sufficiently to use it alongside semi-professional practise, I have it. Any hope of recovery enough to work outside of bedrest still appears a long way off. Never mind, it’s not impossible and considering this four year stretch could be a good way forward. Not the steps to get there, just where am I aiming for?
So, in the meantime, I’m of course making myself some fun and trying to extend my range in small ways. As well as continuing my informal blogging at the Wishing Well, I’m reviving my One for Fun Blog by challenging myself to two very quick posting tasks there for each of the next 14 days. The first task is about building an inspiring found image library (pixabay/unsplash etc) – I’ll aim to collect 14 images a day to my media library and select just one of those fourteen to post that day. The second task is to go back through my guest-posts at Snailzpace Daily. From the quotes I posted for my friend there, primarily for his resource, I’m going to select one quote a day that I really like and inspires me for my Leap – and apply it to the background I’ve chosen, like this first one that I’m reposting below.
So, this is what I’m calling the Leapster Challenge – if you’d like to join in, you don’t have to do something every day for fourteen days although you can if you wish! You don’t have to aim for fourteen ways either – it’s just my way of working out how many different small ways I might increase my posting, writing and creativity while at bed-rest and (believe it or not) trying to avoid burn-out. You could aim to just make one post on Leap day. If you like the number 14 theme you could use it, or split it into two posts of something 7… your leap, if you want to take the challenge. You could just think about it and join for a second wave of the Leapster Challenge springboarding from 29th Feb…
I’m pushing myself quite hard with things I think will take five or ten minutes each but might probably take longer.. as well as those two things at One for Fun, I’ve two things at the Wishing Well – the matchmaker Q&A, answering one question a day and making a psot of it – I’m also doing a reblog a day there from the party guests blogs… Two things to do here? I think I’ll just make a weekend post each of these next two weekends with something of seven things on each… then a Leap Day post on 29th.
Now I have to make a leap towards self-care and eating well today, so apologies for not applying links yet, I’ll have to save that for an admin task later…
Love to hear what you think of the Leapster idea – and how you might be making your Leap Day special …
(This post isn’t repeating text from my BW-feature, it’s me rambling about my process adn focussing on a couple of particular excerpts of Helen Keller’s writing.)
I really enjoyed researching for this weeks #authorstory post. I included some resource links, the ABF Helen Keller archive, articles and recommended some video links too. But I most enjoyed reading some of Helen Keller’s work, so much so, that I made my first public podcasts, reading excerpts from a couple of pieces of her writing. If you can spare a few minutes to have a listen and like to hear attempted readings of poetry and prose, I’d love to receive feedback and criticisms are very welcome 🙂
I also thought that a couple of audio files might be assistive for visually impaired readers, so recorded and uploaded those to my post (part 1 approx 10mins, part 2 approx 5 mins). Then decided that I needed to provide transcripts too, as pages hosted at my other blog, The Wishing Well. Note to self: work still to do at that transcript! As well as sorting out the pre-formatted text formatting in the top section, there’s a paragraph repeated in part ii of the text citing different paragraphs on each. Oh, when I can’t see for looking!!! (and doing things while exhausted makes for many a mistake!) Please, dear reader, if you go there, forgive me – I’ll catch up soon-ish 🙂
I selected some paragraphs of Keller’s 1903 essay, Optimism and really quite like the condensing as an abridged version but also plan to revisit the full texts and study them in more depth, at some point. There are links to the various formats full texts online sources on the transcript for my reading – and it’s wonderful to see digitised versions of the original book pages.
Helen Keller’s intelligence and command of language is absolutely astounding. I think I should read my abridged version every day to strengthen my resolve.
I, too, can work, and because I love to labor with my head and my hands, I am an optimist in spite of all. I used to think I should be thwarted in my desire to do something useful. But I have found out that though the ways in which I can make myself useful are few, yet the work open to me is endless. .. Darwin could work only half an hour at a time; yet in many diligent half-hours he laid anew the foundations of philosophy. … it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. [from part ii, para.26]
Here’s another favourite excerpt from that same text:
These things which you see and hear and touch are not the reality of realities, but imperfect manifestations of the Idea, the Principle, the Spiritual; the Idea is the truth, the rest is delusion.
I realised when i began to research, that although Helen Keller’s name was familiar to me, I had forgotten any prior learning of who she was. I expect that when we heard small mention of her in school it would have been a very brief introduction, telling us what an incredible person and writer she was, but not actually sharing her work. It was probably one of those 300 words of contextual information and a set of comprehension questions on a workcard. It seems such a shame – and apparently that’s still a common experience, according to replies in the comments to my post at Blogger’s World.
The second piece of Helen Keller’s writing I selected to read from is her magnificent poem, ‘Songs of the Stone Wall’, published in 1910. The transcript is here (and hopefully without error) and the audio file of my reading from this work is labelled as Part 2 on the BW-feature post. This was one of my favourite moments in the poem:
At the foot of the aged pines the maidens moccasins
Track the sod like the noiseless sandals of Spring.
Out of chinks in the wall delicate grasses wave,
As beauty grew out of the crannies of these hard souls. [from verse 12]
So, I came here not to write another few hundred words, but have enjoyed doing so, it seems.
I’d love to hear from you if you’re familiar with Helen Keller’s work and have any recommendations, or your own favourite moments in her work, or for any other feedback or discussion.
I wont be posting here often, while I work out how and why I am doing whatever next with this blog that I keep mulling over… so for now, and until next time… I hope you’re having a good day 🙂
Writing101 Task today:
1. Writing and not writing – what do you do when you’re not writing?… how do you maintain balance…? return refreshed…?
In general I’m very rarely ‘refreshed’! Life is generally sustained unrefreshed. Not for writing necessarily – although this activity can be incredibly draining, as it can be for anyone.
I don’t get out of the house most days, not even in my garden usually, but I enjoy looking out from my back door and have a good view of trees and sky beyond my garden fence. I like to play at snapping photos but currently have limitations of mostly housebound subject matter(!)
When I’m not writing, usually I’m either attending to the mundane necessities of everyday life or obtaining full rest because I have fallen off my feet. That’s the phrase I use for overstaying my vertical out of bed up and about the house time. I reach the point of such pain and struggle that to return to bed is the only option. This can occur less than an hour after getting up on a bad day or after a few hours on a good day if I’m fairly inactive (but standing, not sitting).
Sometimes I can then get comfy in bed, be propped up and still have concentration and ability to write. Sometimes I am fighting against the fog of inefficiency and incompetency. Sometimes I will battle on determined to finish. Other times there is no hope for activity at all and all there is to do is rest, kind of meditate the pain away, sleep if it’s what my brain insists though I try to defy it.
This week and for the next few weeks (or taking as long as a year) I have committed to the distraction of some formal poetry learning. I enrolled for the online Upenn Modern Poetry course (MOOC), so I have some poetry and discussion to watch and read. I don’t usually watch videos, mostly listen to them as if radio if playing them at all. I’m not undertaking the full course activity and will just drift through it. There’s no writing your own poetry, just critique and close readings. I’ve never studied poetry this way so it should be enlightening, although I’m not keen on formal discourse nor fluent in it. I say ‘study’, but I doubt I’ll be producing much in the way of notes or writing essays!
Splurging out words (creative writing) isn’t as intense a cognitive activity as reading, or attempting to write discussion based on reading or organising information from research. I’ve noticed some writers use reading as a resting activity, but I mostly can’t read when tired from writing. I don’t usually write much when focussing on trying to read. I don’t usually read or write much anyway…
Writing (via computer) doesn’t cause as much pain as drawing. I’d rather be drawing but haven’t done any for the last ten days. I’d hoped to keep drawing daily after my #DrawingAugust efforts when I managed an average of 20 minutes drawing each day. From 4th September I moved to a very quick non-dominant hand excercise, using a single line to draw just one small abstract ‘doodle’ daily taking one to two minutes max. I haven’t drawn anything at all since 11th September, ten days ago but I’ll start gain when I’ve rested from it.
There are so many things I would rather be doing than writing – but not much I can claim to be managing to do other than my little bits of writing…
What’s fifty-pence worth these days? Is it as good as ‘a ten-bob-note’? (UK currency)
In ‘old money’ in England, ‘ten bob’ is fifty pence. I’m not sure there was ever a ‘ten bob note’, perhaps in the days of crowns and sixpences and farthings etc. My good father’s use of the term ‘a ten bob note’ was often used humorously during my childhood, perhaps with potential underlying meanings I could never fully understand at that time.
I was born just before the imperial system was replaced by metric denominations of currency and measure. At school we had to learn, apply and be able to convert to and from both systems in our maths lessons – I still prefer the imperial system of measure but tend to interchange and use both.
A sample fifty-pence option shopping list
- at least one or two bananas most places
- one apple if you’re lucky, but unlikely in many shops, depending on variety of apple
- the cheapest loaf of bread in a supermarket but usually nowhere else
- not even a postage stamp!
- maybe not even a single disposable pen! perhaps a cheap HB pencil
- not even one single packet of potato crisps!
- a 500ml bottle of water some places, but not most
- one long ice pop (frozen chemical flavoured coloured frozen liquid in a plastic tube)
- not a packet of chewing gum
- one of the cheapest packet of biscuits in a supermarket
- two tins of cheapest baked beans in a supermarket, but not even one in most small shops
- not even the smallest portion of chips (fries) in any take-away
- the very cheapest jar of coffee in a supermarket, but not even a quarter of a cup in most cafes
- a cup of tea and two slices of toast in a church charity subsidised community cafe
- a very small child size chocolate or sweets (candy), but not most small packets of sweets in most shops
- a box of economy cornflakes in a supermarket but nowhere else
- not a pint of milk most places
- one packet of cigarette papers most shops, two packets if you’re lucky
- a small box of matches?
- maybe one rubbish toilet tissue roll
- maybe a small amount of fresh loose vegetables such as: two carrots, OR two medium onions, OR one garlic bulb, OR one medium baking potato, OR 6 to 8 brussel sprouts, OR half a small cabbage, etc.
- no type of over-the-counter medicine most places
short answer, not much…
and nothing for a penny or tuppence, nor a shilling (5p), maybe one bubble gum for 10p (2bob), perhaps a small lollipop…
What else might ‘a ten-bob-note’ (fifty pence) pay for?
- it doesn’t cover the running cost of my fridge freezer for a day, but it might for a modern one
- it didn’t pay for 1kW/hr of mains gas at last check of unit prices
- it covers one day of standing charge cost on either pre-payment meter for mains electricity or mains gas
- not enough for the charge for one day’s supply of water direct to the tap ( includes sewage drainage etc)
- only just enough for one hour of heat using an electric fan heater in one room
- two showers, only in summer when no room heating is needed to use a shower
- it’s not enough for a phone call from a public payphone
- not quite half of what is needed to travel on a bus to the next bus stop (maybe only 200m)
Multiply that ‘ten bob’ by eighty four and that’s the amount UK law states is the amount a person being ‘sanctioned’* needs to survive. That amount in many cases is not being paid to those needy people entitled to at least this much State asistance while by one use of legal rule or another claimant’s are entirely deprived of the means to live and left with no income.
*sanctions under the 2012
Welfare Reform Act = claimants demonised and persecuted for for failing to meet claimant conditionality for Jobseekers Allowance, JA. This is often achieved by employees of the State using dirty cheap tricks, hitting soft targets, vulnerable people with no or little way to meet unreasonable conditions imposed upon them.
UK citizens are dying of health-related issues and suicide as a result of this inhumane legislation. Some of those people are sick and disabled, but denied their due legal status. Many become sick or disabled as a result of such short-sighted abuses of power and budget controls.
The UK cannot claim to be a ‘developed society’ nor is this ‘civilisation’ while such inhumanity persists. The UK has no rightful place among world leaders claiming democratic status and adherence to fairness and justice.
Of course, many people of the world survive with not enough food, lack of clean, safe water and no sanitation. These people probably work for their survival. There are many places in the world where state welfare assistance does not exist at all. We are not very far behind them. Opportunities for work and shelter as may occur in developing countries do not exist in the UK. Such types of living and work/livelihood are illegal.
I realise that from the examples shown in my lists, it may appear that £42 is enough for most people to survive for a week. It might be considered that a person at such level of destitution deserves to lose their home and thus have no overheads of domestic service charges of water, electricity, council tax. However (a) that minimal amount is often not provided to people in extreme hardship with no other income or savings. (b) Small shops often don’t have economical food or water to buy and eat and might not sell fruit or vegetables that could be eaten raw (if no means to cook). (c) People deprived of the means to live may be so ill that they have no way of reaching markets, supermarkets, etc for economical shopping or food banks or other services for charitable assistance. (d) Church and community cafe facilities providing such a low-cost breakfast as 50p might provide are rarely available.(e) Food bank referrals are often reserved for those with children and do not exist widely enough that all have access. (f) Hardship provision from Local Authorities (councils) is only available to persons with a current open claim, not those denied a claim. Also those funds from local governement are not being spent on the designated use are used for other local budget shortfalls, as their is no legal duty to ring-fence those funds for individual hardship provision. (When well enough I might cite sources for reference).
NB: I am not currently of the category of welfare claimant described above. I am one of thousands of clamants entitled to disability support while medically unfi t for work. Under legal rules for my type of claim I may legally be left with no income for six months at a time while too ill to manage bureaucratic demands. Such deprivation is often dished out as winter approaches, increasing hardship and further ill health and disability. Court judge’s decide that if you appear at the court to defend your case you are able to work thirty five hours in types of employment that do not exist while not well enough to repeatedly and reliably turn up even two days a week and unlikely to last a full day. I am not alone in this experience, there are tens of thousands of us, not all able to claim alternative help and not all with borrowing capability or savings to fall back on. For claimants to be decided as disabled and unfit for work by an ignorant middle-class magistrate (as most seem to be) the claimant is expected to have legal welfare representation that also does not exist in reality for demand not meeting service availability. I am perhaps at continuing risk for persistence in daring to convey such opinion. NB: I write these things not for myself, there are so many more in such greater need.
The Writing101 day 2 task focusses on making lists – not ways of usings lists for purpose, which of course there are many. I started the day’s writing in ‘adverse to lists’ mode. As the day has progressed, I have more ways of making and using lists than I can probably work with today, but am likely to perhaps scatter my list posts around my blogging rooms throughout the day and who knows what might become of them next.
Throughout my writing101 course participation, anything I write on any of my blogs in response to assignment brief’s are being listed on my page index at this site. Word counts and summary of post-type is provided for additional reader selection or rejection. If as a reader you are confused by my use of different blogs, please try and see them as different rooms in my blogging home, each decoratedly differently and of different size and purpose. Hope that helps 🙂 I write for myself primarily and do not expect you to read everything, if anything at all. 😀