ColetteB….

not exactly work in progress…


6 Comments

Mundane Monday Malarkeys

I keep getting so distracted and bogged down and cloth-eared with a head-cold persisting on and off for two or three weeks now – so yet again I’m late and behind with the Recycled Book Reading Challenge post I always mean to make at the start of each new month. Photos planned for that lingering for a while so i will get around to it. Sometime soon.

I kept up fine for the first five or six weeks of my return to the ModPo MOOC (fourth year attempt, failing to complete every time during the Autumn’s annual 10-week mad-dash to cover the syllabus’ requirement). Then, six weeks into it, the poem for the third essay assignment really left me gob-smacked. A poem comprising two poetic voices (one main part being the text stolen from a British adolescent in the early 1960s, the other a British-migrant voice ‘completing’ the poem). Those facts of the matter not arising in the taught materials and feeling unable to write my essay due to the distress and disturbance of noticing the attributed pen-name of that poem (now titled ‘The honey bear’) and how that has been usurped to create some kind of construct as if the pen-name belongs to a ‘New York School’ contemporary poet. Looking at some of the other works now attributed to that pen-name it is clear there are multiple voices in the mixture combining a miscellaneous collection of work, some of which might be originally created by the persona now fronting the probably falsified CONSTRUCT. Crazy! (It’s not beyond reason someone might actually have that same name given to them as their birth name but they’d know ‘The honey bear’ is not their poem!)

If I ever doubted the foundational literature learnings of my childhood and teenage years, into further education and onward, here was living proof of the reasoning behind so many English Literature teachers in Britain absolutely refusing to teach American authors works. or glossing over it so quickly where it became mandatory to include American Literature examples within the English Literature class.

Of course it, the usurping ‘construct’ issue, is not at all the fault of the ModPo course providers.- it’s just ‘one of those things’.

Everyone having their (germ warfare) NHS flu jabs and spreading the attenuated virus to propogate this persistent ‘common cold’ effect gave me a new excuse to boot for my falling even further behind. Never mind. SloPo season starts from this new end-point and now there is all year to immerse in the wonders and dilemmas of Modern American Poetry and all the amazing and awesome international English learning I can wrestle with and explore through poetry. (Awe apparently meaning dreadful in formal American language meaning, or so I’m led to believe.)

Among other things distracting since that stumbling block essay/poem issue have been: witnessing a local fire-crew in chemical protection suits attending a terrorist fire in our neighbourhood; witnessing the bizarre presentations of local news presented out of time and disguised ‘factual’ details; many British people getting prosecuted for things they haven’t done that appear to be engineered by bogus operatives from wherever and an influx of visiting gofer-doofers assisting some kind of insurgency drive, again from wherever. Very recently, on Armistice Day, a single adult (presumed to be African-American) with three teenagers got out of a foreign four-by-four looking suspicious. They walked straight into a near-ish house, refused to leave when the householder yelled in shock “get out of my house!” at the intrusion and then by the sounds of it the householder(s) were attacked while the family’s young children were screaming in fear from upstairs. Hopefully it was the police who attended the scene because there have also been dummy ambulances, fake local authority vehicles and weird stuff like that around sometimes too. Freaky!

This last half-week has brought the opening of a new creative writing MOOC from UIowa’s international distance learning programme, ‘Stories of Place and the Natural World’. So far it seems as much about human nature as it is about Nature. This one has a non-fiction bias, though it’s difficult to see any difference much these days. The initial (certificated) phase ends on December 31st but the programme remains open until March for self-paced learning before moving to the mooc-pack site. Hopefully I remember the detail correctly. Earlier writing and poetry mooc-packs can be found there from 2014 to the most recent ‘Moving the Margins’, (fiction and non-fiction) for independent self-led learning. Something to keep busy with through cold, dark winter days and/or nights.

Obtaining any real news is nigh on impossible. It’s so frustrating that even the BBC is no longer a reliable news outlet. News articles aren’t even written in real English anymore. We’re presented words like ‘penciled’ to confuse us, meaning ‘pencilled’ but sounding ‘pen-sigh-ld’ when reading aloud. There’s so much bullshit propoganda around too. Pushes for a no-deal Brexit from foreign western journalists (and maybe some of our own if maybe ‘on the take’) leave Britain at risk. EU food regulations are already being flouted and dangerous foodstuffs have entered the retail market, including fake products in some bio-terrorist crime racket. Things like aspirin in kids popular snacks; biscuit/cake/confectionery/snack items containing amphetamine, LSD, Daturic acid, sleep medications, stevia – all examples of things turning up in food items in the UK that could have awful negative health impacts. It’s as if there’s an elsewhere determined to impose their economic migrant job creation scheme by ‘evidencing’ how the British public either need false imprisonment or an army of mental health workers and cognitive behaviour therapists(!).

Up in arms? Not likely. Cottage gardening is more the British way, even if only a windowsill available – and it’s beyond time to breathe life into the home-grower. Grab a spade and dig in. (We don’t dig with a shovel, we dig with a spade, although a trowel or re-purposing any old spoon’ll do for a planter or pot.) Why is ‘spade’ a racist word? It’s certainly not in British English. Language oppressions and bogus standardisation are making me more sick than I can tolerate. So fluff that for a game of soldiers and folk IT!

My twitter keeps getting interrupted, interfering with my endurement/enjoyment and all sorts of tech intrusions glitching things out here and there. Bullybuoy guys and gals mostly, actually, it seems are back at the ole bulldog bash game.

However Russia seems to be the main propoganda target again lately in latest fear-mongering war-mongering efforts. It’s been going on a while and gathering pace. Do people really believe all the fekkin’ shite put out there for consumers’ perusal? An interesting video clip turned up on my twitter feed from an account I had expected to be our British “Radio Times” (a weekly TV and radio schedule magazine) but turns out to be some other ‘global news’ account. The video showed young Russian-speaking soldiers firing short-range missiles from armoured vehicles in the desert and the accompanying text suggests it’s a military excercise “at Russia’s largest foreign base in Tajikistan”. It somehow begs fact-checking…

If it’s a foreign base is it another rogue area take-over alike the criminal military takeover at Kesteven in middle-England by our so-called allies ‘post-war’ and remaining? Hopefully not. Who knows! It’s hardly top secret that that (Kesteven) shit’s there!

The CIA website usually offers public access online to recent enough information that seems reliable and trustworthy enough and of course it runs high in the search results while I barely have time for visiting all the world’s online sites to balance the impacts of cookies on search algorithms (if that’s how it even works!). So a quick look into it and I discover that not only is Russian the official formal language of the Tajikistan peoples, but they also have a national military service conscription for all young men aged fifteen plus. Hence I deduce it is probably the Tajikistan army in the clip and not the responsibility or instigation of the Russian government. A major economic activity in Tajikistan is mining for metals and minerals and perhaps the training excercise somehow contributes to that. Double-whammy. Mind, I’m a dozey female without a clue so I’m maybe in error.

Talk about distracted. Forgetting to post my lingering draft I’m now into Tuesday, 2 minutes past midnight. Procrastinating my mooc-time with this ramble I wandered away trying to find online ANYWHERE still containing previously found Eastern Orthodox / Eastern European information on Saints Days, as there’s an important one this month I hoped to remember and participate quietly at home and maybe learn some more about it. Maybe I missed it. Under such dire circumstances maybe any ole day will do. Maybe I have an offline copy saved goodness knows where. Return of the dark ages has been creeping upon us via online corruptions and manipulations, wiping out much of our cultural identities that does not fit the template of tyrants responsible for such hideous incursions. So much reminds of the religious oppressions of the 9th and 10th centuries. Perhaps that’s the olde that I feel!

Advertisements


3 Comments

Time to rekindle my participation in milae’s Recycled Book Reading Challenge [1500words]

I’m way overdue for continuing this (and plenty of other previously planned blogging intentions). Never mind.

I’m still not managing linear reading well and struggle to retain what I’m reading as I journey longform, so dip in and out of stories rather than read from front to end. I’ve probably not finished reading any of the books I mentioned in any previous posts for this and definitely haven’t got as far as any writing on any of them.

The challenge host, milae has reviewed the book read during February and made an excellent post.

I’m beginning to think that writing book reviews is just way out of my league and so I’ll continue admiring in awe those more able and take part slightly differently. My efforts have always received warm welcome and I’ve missed doing this during absences.

Anyway, as I’m a scatty and sporadic reader, this month I hope to focus on four books pictured below).

arrangement of four books

Four books I hope to focus on this month

I’ll definitely be able to cope with starting and finishing the first book: ‘Our plane’ written by Beatrice Phillpotts and illustrated by Margaret Souza. It was first published in 1987 © Templar Publishing Ltd and first published in Great Britain by Macdonald and Co (Publishers) Ltd (also 1987).

This edition I bought in a bargain bookstore – for new surplus stock and cut-price books with plenty of print errors in some of them – so I probably bought this for my eldest child by about 1993 or thereabouts and it probably cost about 99p or £2 or less at the time. I’d guess for this kind of product in that type of shop (still trading today) the retail prices have probably remained quite similar even after all these years, but I haven’t been to town to recently to check that fact before writing this post.

back cover of the young children's book, 'Our plane' showing a boy and girl looking out of the window at a white bird, maybe a dove.

from the back cover of the young children’s book, ‘Our plane’

This edition (copyright 1987, as detailed in previous paragraph) was published in 1990 by Award Publications Ltd (London) and printed in Singapore. So boy did that book travel a long way and have a large carbon footprint. I don’t recall sight of any errors in the text though. I did however ponder upon how many times in the story I would feel a need to adjust my reading of the tale these days, if I were reading it to any of my grand-children. There seemed to be many sticking points along the way where I felt things needed rephrasing and were somehow less appropriate than i might have noticed as a young parent. It remains however a beautifully illustrated and well-told tale even if the characters are stereotypically: one boy, one girl, mum and dad, white family.

I have already re-read this story recently and have read it many, many times in the past with my children when they were young. I expect I must have added conversation about home safety with the reading of the story as two children play at making a plane by balancing a surf board across an ironing board to pretend it’s a plane and make an imaginary journey. Surf boards aren’t common household and leisure items owned by British families usually, so my guess is it’s an American story and I assume I realised that at the time I bought it. I can imagine myself leafing through to check the text for appropriate English spelling before buying. It has only universal English words where there would be no difference. What I didn’t notice at the time was the potential (small) racism contained in the story, in portraying desert people as ‘desert bandits’. I expect we talked about that while reading it too.

That’s not to say I won’t happily buy from American authors when I know it’s probably gonna be American English cos they can’t be bothered translating to proper English for their audience (or don’t know how and can’t afford translation costs) and as a reader I can just take a red pen and correct all the translation issues needed, explore meanings and make notes when I simply don’t understand what looks like the same language but sometimes isn’t. I suppose that’s what Americans do with our English, when they’re not trying to claim English as theirs (so ours is Anglisch is it? Well, if we’re descended from Angls, it could be…

As a paragraph previously track-pad-glitched to the-system, and I’m getting exhausted, I’m drawing a close here quite soon. Is what I was telling myself at that point.

Book number two, so far, is a fantastic book for children and an interesting easy-read for adults like me who just wanted to check for myself if it’s suitable reading before maybe passing it on or keeping it to read with grandchildren. First published in 1989, it’s cover price of £2.99 seems fair and it’s about what I’d expect to pay for a book of it’s small size (approx 130 pages, quite large print), even nowadays, although I sourced this from the fund-raising charity book sale quite a many moon ago now and I’d be happy if I paid £3.99 for it, as it seems very good quality writing. This is ‘Hippo Ghost’ by Lance Salway, ISBN: 0-590-13599-6 (I took the photo below of the front cover of the book and this shows my shadow over it. I like how that shadow fits with the subject matter of the story so far – I hope to manage reading this book through to the end during this month! – I also hope the author and publisher don’t object to my use of appropriative method, but my photo being low-resolution, illustrative, in context, and I assume Fair Use, as per all the images I’m using in this post. (As a personal, hobbyist blogger).

front cover of Lance Salway's Hippo Ghost, a book for younger readers - cover design overcast by my shadow as I took the photo

~~~~~~~~

The third book, Oliver Twist is from a collection of about eight retold classics, bought for my eldest, never read by him, nor my youngest nor any between. As I found when I unpacked them from their stuff from their childhoods being kept at my house, these books still appear mostly untouched. But even for me, trying to read and understand ‘Oliver Twist’, again it’s probably the same issue: American language. And it’s uncomfortable when the authentic English voice of the story is lost, although it’s ok in most parts, but it causes stumbling blocks and confusion. I’d seen these sets of books in the same bookstore as the first book, at knockdown price of £4.99, previous RRP £9.99, maybe during the mid-1990s; my eldest received these as a gift about twenty years ago. This adaptation is ©1969 and this edition quoting a 1988 copyright act; it states it was ‘Printed in India. Reproduced in the UK.’ I’m not quite sure what that means. Really? As there is a ‘no unauthorised act in relation to this publication or…’ stipulation and as I do not recommend this text for British children and have no due regard nor respect for this product whatsoever I am not giving any detail at all. Not for fear of that ridiculously unprofessional clause, but so as not to inflict those particular books upon any other British English reader. Does the Trade Descriptions Act not apply to publishing industries when generating such misleading sales to consumers in the UK?

I’ll be making  a separate post (elsewhere) sometime in the future, exploring the irony of this issue. If you are a Charles Dickens fan, you’re probably already aware of plenty of things I am yet finding to be interested in. The Gutenberg Project has many files pertaining to Charles Dickens and I assume most of them to be authentic texts but have already found one there that is so unlikely to be by THE Charles Dickens and has to simply be by an American author of the same name, so that was disappointing, but has to be expected really.

~~~~~~~

Finally, an old favourite, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Until I picked it up again recently I’d have swore the first chapter was ‘Shopping’ and had completely forgotten the gymnasium scene. I read this several times but want to delve into the detail of the story again, particularly the ‘PRAYVAGANZA’ scenes, as I don’t remember those featuring in the film, but could be wrong. I aim to check it against the film eventually as I should still have the VHS in a box here somewhere. Another thing for the evergrowing endless toDo list.

I thought I first read this book during A-level class as a teenager back in the mid-1980s, but my copy here is from 1993 when I tried A-level Literature evening class (completed the book, not the class – the teacher objected to teaching non-English authors in English literature class and wasn’t giving it the attention it deserved, rushing through and deriding it. At the time I thought that was daft as the exam title was ‘Literature’ and not ‘English Literature’. I wasn’t incentivised to resolve childcare and transport issues to continue the class and obtain my exam. Anyway, the language used is British English style in the main and I never had any stumbling over variant English differences with this text.

Detail from back cover of Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale ISBN 0 86068 866 6 with a quote from Conor Cruise O'Brien stating 'moving, vivid nd terrifying. I only hope it is not prophetic.'

Detail from back cover of Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale ISBN 0 86068 866 6