ColetteB….

not exactly work in progress…


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Level(ling) Uncertainty

I’m starting this post loosely drawing together my beginning and end points of my activity for today’s Writing101 assignment and indulging in time travel along the way. From a choice of six single word prompts I rejected Love, Home, Secret, Treasure,( another one that’s lost from my memory right now in a hurry to post and can’t afford distraction).

I made a snap decision choosing to use the prompt ‘Uncertainty’, in part because it sums up my situation in so many ways. I don’t actually want to use that prompt in that way of writing about how uncertainty affects me. Enough already is all over my blogs about such issues and more will likely appear anytime it springs out or seems relevant.

My pocket notebook is a special gift from my mother from last Christmas, unused until April’s ‘How Writers Write Poetry’ mooc when it was used for poetry sketching excercises – that is sketching with words in note form of observations to gather potential material to use for poetry writing. I only managed to get out for observations once, along the way of an essential bus journey. I didn’t manage any more notebooking as per the course suggestion once I’d worked through that particular writing task and was more than a bit disappointed to have not made better use. I’m much happier now it’s become a mini sketchbook and doodle pad…Below is my final sketch in my pocket notebook for #DrawingAugust. 

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Uncertainty

Whenever I see or hear the word ‘Uncertainty’ a particular contemporary artist springs to mind. John Newling is a locally acclaimed and much respected artist of international renown. I was fortunate enough that whilst at uni I was referred for a tutorial with him and advised to go seek him out to make an appointment. On finding him at a workbench in the art workshops I had a there and then unexpected tutorial, even though I’d interrupted his work to ask for an appointment .I remember that day very well, twenty-one years ago (in another month or two – maybe noted in my files if I ever get round to looking). The conversation we had that day was probably fairly brief but enjoyable, encouraging and an absolute privelege. It had a profound effect on the way I interacted with art from then on, whether my own art or the work of others, based on the simple advice to “document everything”.

That word, uncertainty, now always makes me thing of ‘Singing Uncertainty’, a project by John Newling in circa 2011. A resulting video was shown in the main entrance of Nottingham Contemporary during his exhibition there. I’ll have to add links later, but you can google or whatever if you wish 😉

Singing Uncertainty

I love working with colour, even in the simplest ways, as if a child with a box of crayons and a piece of paper – or any other way I find or fancy. Yesterday, on my blog ‘the Wishing Well’, I made a colourful visual list of music I’d like to listen to ‘when I feel well enough’. I forgot some, as we do with long lists. (Indexed in page at top of blog if interested to view that list.)

I was really pleased with having used colour and the simplicity of that music play-wish-list. Somehow it made me feel a bit better to have made it. Late last night having decided on ‘uncertainty’ for my prompt for today’s task, I sat up in bed, grabbed a handy piece of paper and my cheap kiddy style jumbo pens. I didn’t want to write another poem for this and typing to work my idea through would have turned into a poem,

I counted the letters in ‘uncertainty’, selected my colours and decided to make another list type response for an acrostic type piece of automatic writing, not shaped this time as it was inappropriate for the task in mind. So I wrote very quickly the first sentence that came to mind for each letter. (Pic of that piece of automatic writing at Fishing4Soup)

I didn’t post it straight away but once made and I felt satisfied I was able to sleep at still a reasonable time to be going to sleep rather than by first light(!) I’ve had a fun day today deciding how to further this task. I really needed the time away from the computer and not straining my brain any further than I have these first two days of writing101 or I’ll be more ill for days. So, I posted my pic of my writing first, able to relax feeling ‘mission accomplished’ with at least one post that easily meets the brief.

Next, something I’ve been meaning to do for ages (since HWWP2015 back in April) – source some ready prompt-box-potential vessels. Luckily I keep all sorts of likely to come in handy resources such as jars, tubs and boxes, even though I recycle plenty. Quick assemble of stuff and another photo snap that speaks for itself in how I would be proceeding, for my next step at least, for a photo post on my blog ‘One 4 Fun’.

I left it there at that point because I do have priorities like looking after myself, my dog, my home. Myself and domestic duties are quite neglected most days. Along the way of my mostly non-blogging domesticated day I had, in a round about way, three wishes come true – I’m saving that for another post to link up later. But I certainly found myself with singing uncertainty.

Later in the afternoon I decided ‘how long will it take to just…’ and grabbed my stuff and made play. Documenting each step along the way with quick photo snaps perhaps reads like expect a Blue Peter style tutorial on making a prompt box. You’ll be sorely disappointed if you’d like that post to be the result of my next post(s) –  as you will if you expect anything like pieces of writing 😀 It’s probably fair to say… expected any kind of rubbish…

By the end of my play I found one stray word on a tiny slip of paper that had been knocked to the floor and missed during my main play. This is the word that dictated my title for this post and I reveal it to you here, below.

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A snap of the penultimate step of today’s project

Finally, with my project done for now, one last snap at the packed away project, awaiting re-birth in some new way another time, maybe:

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The words revealing themselves in this picture are those that settled to the surface after a good shake having finished my play with this prompt task.

(further images and links for above text to perhaps be added at later date – in case you’re interested but don’t have or can’t use a search engine)


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On my soapbox (again) – with a Ten Bob note

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. 😀


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Reason – able

I’ve posted a full text version of my free-writing, slightly extended in the process of creating a page for today’s assignment #1 response. As that’s a long piece of writing and in places off-topic, I’m cutting it down to size, editing and re-writing for a summary post, as a bulleted list to share in the reader.

  • I write because I sometimes can. It is one of very few activities I can currently achieve.
  • I write because I am enjoying a return to regular writing after several years while experiencing some improvement in cognitive function during ongoing illness. 
  • I have taken onboard the Daily Post/Blogging U team’s encouragement to ‘give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft’ and am just getting on with trying to write whenever I can.
  • I can achieve a sense of purpose and accomplishment by writing. Without writing I have little or nothing and much lower self-esteem and a large sense of hopelessness.
  • It would be lazy to not be doing anything while I can still be doing something! Writing is a good way of distracting from some types of pain and discomfort. It’s impossible with some other types. I count every blessing of capability as and when it occurs.
  • Writing via blogging is currently my only ‘hobby’ and ‘leisure activity’, because my functional ability and capacity are so low. However, it is very ‘work-related activity’ focussed rather than leisure pursuit oriented. There are many other things I would prefer to be doing if able.
  • I can’t measure such activity and impacts unless I repeatedly try to sustain such efforts. Other activities are currently beyond my capability and level of limitation. Once I can establish a reliable baseline I can try to plan better and see if I can keep reliably to an activity plan, or perhaps judge better how to plan.
  • Engaging in whatever learning and practise I can manage might one day contribute toward possibilities of eventual employment / self-employment by at least improving my knowledge, understanding and practical skills if I ever again become employable.
  • It’s mostly the only way I have regular contact with the outside world. It’s a great way of connecting with and learning from others and expanding my horizons.
  • Like my other blog‘s tagline says ‘Blogging my way back to life somehow’!
  • I don’t especially have ambitions to write a book. I’m not keen to add to commercial mass-production and use of material resources adding to stock-piles of unsold books and other goods. I’m quite interested in hand-made books, on-demand publishing and ebooks (self-publishing) but that’s a lot of learning journey away. That would of course also involve having a finished marketable product and lots of energy for self-promotion!

I’ve wanted to keep a journal for ages but it’s not possible. I keep a daybook that I always call ‘my journal’- but there’s nothing much journal-like about it. I learnt the difference between a journal and a day-book during the HWWP2015 MOOC earlier this year. Other than my day-book scrawl and recent blogging activity I don’t write much else.

As my post-title says, I write because it’s reason – able.

(Writing 101-1b)