Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Self-help, I need somebody...

Why do the newspapers fill with diets and how-to-change-your-life pieces every January? Don't they know (a) they're all doing the same thing, (b) we are not paying attention and (c) most likely we'll never change anyway? I guess they have to print something.

Anyway, here's my contribution on the subject (written some years ago and it's on the site and in the book). It rhymes in a most unfashionable* fashion (hurray!) but it's one that hangs around me all the same. One line in particular relates slightly to the last post (and not the most obvious line either). See how you get on with it.

Self-help shortcuts

Let's save the £14.99
And learn to cure ourselves
We'll save a heap of time as well
And have more room on shelves

So (1) let's eat a balanced diet
That's not just sweets and fat
(2) Let's get some sleep at night
And (3) let's buy less tat

(4) Let's work quite hard
But (5) not too much
(6) Make sure we have some fun
Some laughter, treats and such

(7) Let's get some exercise
But (8) not overdo it
(9) Live in the here and now
There should be nothing to it

(10) Let's like where we live
Or work to make that so
(11) Ditch that Joneses thing
Comparisons can go

(12) Look in the mirror now
And who's that gorgeous creature?
(13) We can live with us
A semi-permanent feature

(14) Let's not bottle up
And (15) work guilt through
It's horrible to know yourself
But better to be true

(16) We must find a love
And (17) explore sex fully
(18) We should not be bullied
Or (19) be the bully

(20) Let's find clothes that suit
(21) Be kind to skin
(22) Watch less telly
Go out more and stay in

(23) Enjoy music
It's so good for the spirit
(24) Read a poem now and then
It's not that painful is it?

And (25) if we must
Rot our bodies and our brains
With too much recreation
Then there will be (26) pain

(27) Read widely
But avoid the self-help bibles
(28) They're a waste of space
Not very reliable

(29) Don't take advice
From the dense and glossy quacks
(30) Life gives lessons free
Let's read our own hardbacks

RF 2006

*Well, I say 'unfashionable' but I suppose this may change...Don Paterson having a lot more bang-bang rhyme in his newest book 'Rain'. I'm reading 'Rain' now...that is not NOW now...NOW now I'm typing this...but about 5 minutes ago...upstairs. And yes, 'bang-bang rhyme' is a technical term. Didn't you know?



The Weaver of Grass said...

I quite fancy having that pinned up on the end of my kitchen cupboard Rachel - do so agree about all the rubbishy self-help articles in January.

Rachel Fox said...

Funny you should say that Weaver...when I posted it on myspace (back in February 2008 - here)someone said they were going to print it out for their office wall. Maybe I should make a poster of it (too big for a postcard!).


Jim Murdoch said...

Have you also noticed that the Cadbury’s Cream Egg ads also start in January, four moths before Easter? Love the poem BTW. Never ever allowed myself to get caught up with any kind of resolutions. I was on a diet before Xmas, through Xmas and into this new year. So no change there then. Didn’t even notice the rhyme till I’d finished it and actually read the rest of your post.

Rachel Fox said...

I don't know which makes me happiest Jim - the thought that you love this poem or the idea that we have 'four moths before Easter'. But thanks.

apprentice said...

I think you said it for all for all us Rachel.

I hate the regular formula things follow. And i hate most of the modern formats, especially TV, all the talking head/tossers being endlessly interviewed by each other on the 50 greatest/best ever blah blah.

Rachel Fox said...

We were a very TV family when I was young so I find it hard to hate it (or I have a love/hate, family-type relationship with it at least). I know a lot of it is crap but then we watched the first 'Nurse Jackie' last night and I LOVED it.

So am I drugged? I always think of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy track...'Television, drug of the nation...'. It's here for anyone who doesn't know it. I might post it on the blog later on...but I think I've done enough posts this week! Am I hooked on that too? Oh boy...

Sally said...

Ahhh bang-bang rhyme. I love it! How are you getting on with Rain?

Rachel Fox said...

Which Sally are you? Sally Fiendish?

Too early to say with 'Rain' only arrived today (the book, not the rain). But I loved the one called 'Why Do You Stay Up So Late?' on first reading (this afternoon).


Rachel Fox said...

Yes, that poem ('Why Do You Stay Up..?') will be appearing in anthologies near you soon I should think. It's fab...and people will understand it! Total result.

Totalfeckineejit said...

I am really getting out more by staying in.And while I'm staying in I'm trying againt to read last Christmas' books what i got.(only got one this Christmas- recessionary cutbacks)one of them is Michael Longley's collected and I can't get past the rhymes (again)
hopefuly they'll stop for when they do the poems are enjoyable.I didn't feel this with your book.Why is that? And wat do you (really) think of Lemn taking the MBE ?

Niamh B said...

I can definitely see that on a poster. It's so true too, I think I'd find it generally motivational...

Rachel Fox said... book? One in a million obviously. And re the Sissay MBE - I'm pleased for him, he's worked hard and deserves recognition. I don't have much respect for all aspects of the honours system but until we get something else this is the British way of recognising achievement and individuals should feel able to accept or refuse honours as feels right to them. Some people I admire and respect have turned down honours and some people I admire and respect have accepted them. And that's my answer!

And Niamh...maybe I could stretch it out to a book...
Only joking.