Sunday, 10 January 2010


I didn't plan to post the questions in the last just sort of happened (story of my life...indeed most of our lives I suppose). Anyway after so many of you gave answers (or started thinking about them) I realised it was only fair to have a go myself. So here you are. Let the madness commence...

Do you think that you know yourself in any sense? Do you care? And if you don't care...why is that?

Sometimes I do think I know myself a bit. Other times I think I am totally in the dark. And I'm not sure which feeling I like best.
Yes, I care. It's not something I think about all the time but I do care. I am interested in people full stop so there's no reason why I can't be part of that general interest topic. For a start sometimes no-one else is around...and I have some quite good subject matter to investigate. My life has been anything but dull!

Do you like yourself much?

Sometimes I do. I would like to like myself a little more though...then I could think about something else (and stop worrying about all the things I've done or not done that have led me to not like myself as much as I might do!). Convoluted, moi?

What would you change about yourself if you could (and I'm talking personality...not physical changes)? And if there is something you would like to change...why haven't you just got on and changed it? What's stopped you?

I'd like to feel more confident, I think...that might surprise people who know me (because I'm confident at public speaking and things like that) but there are lots of areas where my confidence is really very low and I am working on those areas all the time. I don't talk about it too much (as a rule) because I think it can be a bit boring for other people. And I'm rarely wrong (which in itself is a curse...if I was just stupid this would be easy!).

When you look in a mirror do you smile or flinch ('s the concept of yourself that I'm thinking about here more than your physical attributes...though they may be linked)?

I neither smile nor flinch. I often think 'who the bloody hell is that? Oh, it's that person who keeps following me around!' (Really, I that a sign of some mental wouldn't be my first one).

Do you really treat people the way you'd like them to treat you? What always?*

I try. But some people are impossibly foul...and some are really annoying and selfish...and some just don't want you to be pleasant to them (so then of course being pleasant is exactly the way to annoy them!). People are my great happiness and my worst nightmare.

Do you think you've contributed anything positive to the societies that you've lived in? Do you think that matters anyway?

Honestly...not much (and certainly not enough). I do what I can for immediate family and for people I know but I'm not sure I've done anything that's affected anyone or anything much beyond that (though I get some comments about poems along the 'that really meant something to me' lines but I'm not sure that'd be nice if it did). And yes, I do think positive contributions matter (even if that makes me sound like a Minister from 'In the Thick of it'). The whole thing is a bit of an ongoing conflict in my head (hence the question I suppose).

What do you find really, really difficult?

Lots of things...if I told you everything I'd be here all day (and night). Being in a big crowd in a small space is something I find quite difficult (makes me want to scream really, really loud). And I'm not very good at keeping my mouth shut when I get an urge to speak (but often I don't see that as a bad depends).

If you are a person who writes then why is that? Think about the reasons and which ones are the most significant to you (practising honesty to the point of death!).

Writing is so weird...these days it can sometimes seem that almost everyone either is (or wants to be) a writer of some kind...and this leads me to ask myself quite often why I am continuing with this oh-so overcrowded occupation/vocation/pastime. Why don't I take up embroidery or something? Why don't I set off for Everest (got to be back for school hometime, that's why)? And who would notice if I stopped writing? Might I not even feel better for spending more time on a less introverted activity? So why do I keep at it?

Boring (predictable?) answer
Everybody always says this but I have always written (diaries, articles, stories, about that order) and I find it odd when I don't. My head gets overfull. Bits start to fall out all over the place.

More specific answer
Once I started writing poetry regularly (in about 1997) it just felt right it suited my brain more than other kinds of writing. And now I just love writing poems (it's about that simple) and I especially love trying different forms and styles and subject matters. And I have had quite a lot of positive feedback.

Annoying, whingey, self-doubting answer
Sometimes when I'm thinking about giving it all up and spending all this time (like now!) doing something else there are people who say very nice things about my poems and 'no, no, no you should carry on' and then I think 'OK, maybe it is something I can do and I should stick at it'. But I do vacillate quite a seems kind of a selfish thing to be doing sometimes...but I've bored even myself a bit with the vacillating of late to the point that my resolution this year is to shut up with the vacillating and just get on with some work! Really. You might not think so reading the blog thus far, eh?

Answer I'd rather avoid
How much of a person's reason for writing is about the approval and possibly even adoration they might get as a result (if things go really, really well)? Too much? Any at all? Oh come on...if you really look close? I come across writers (not well-known ones particularly) who talk an awful lot about 'the work' but who (I'm pretty sure) are really far more interested than they'd like to admit in the possibility of ardent fans one day regularly hanging on their every word...of becoming someone whose opinion means something. And then thinking about that I feel a sense of I have some of that in me? Is it all (or even just partly) about some pathetic need for...verification? Oh bloody hell that would just be so stupid! Plus it would mean I wouldn't be able to like myself very much at all and we'd be back to number 2! Circles, circles, ever increasing circles of nonsense, you see...

And now you see why I wasn't going to post my answers! What a bunch of overthought craziness. Sometimes I hate this bit of me that always wants to try and see the truth of things...

Anyway, let's have a song to change the mood. I absolutely LOVE English soul singer Beverley Knight (her voice, her performances and style anyway...some of her songs are... better than others). She was on the quiz show 'Celebrity Mastermind' this week and did brilliantly (and came up with a beautiful definition of soul the intro) – attagirl! Here's an old clip of BK on Jools Holland (and wouldn't you just love to sing like that, to look that good on stage?). I think in my best dreams I am a fantastic soul singer with a body to die for. And then I wake up.

This clip is a bit the heavy metal end of soul music. I think it's headbangingly good.



Rachel Fox said...

And there's a 'Big Chill' quote for every occasion you know. And today's might be 'spare me these bleeding hearts'!

And look I talk to myself too...


hope said...

No you don' were talking to me. Sure, you interrupted me talking to myself but... :)

I like answers which allow me to learn about a person. I'm going to work on mine now. Heaven help you. ;)

Ken Armstrong said...

I do what you do when I look in the mirror, not smile or wince, just wonder who that is...

The 'Everybody writing' thing is all about ease of accessing technology. I've been writing since pen-and-ink was my only technology and I remember years of longing for something mechanical to make my scribblings seem more authentic. Now anyone can sit and type as I am doing now and call themselves a writer. More power to 'em.

But we get out what we put in, in this game. And you put in a lot. And that counts. Big time.

Rachel Fox said...

In terms of online writing you two are quite part of the 'old faithful friends' fraternity! And I'm always glad to see you here. It's odd to think we've never met, isn't it?

The Solitary Walker said...

Hey, that's my kind of music! Great clip.

But I'll leave my own soul-searching till I get back...

Rachel Fox said...

I'm a bit envious of your upcoming trip! To wander and wander...not a suburban 'the drive needs clearing' thought for months. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

I musthave missed filling those in. It's funny how many of us think we are secretly a bit 'gagga' for some of the thoughts that run through our minds. The fact that it turns out that most of us have those thoughts shows its actually quite normal.

The Solitary Walker said...

No, it's only my mind that need clearing, Rachel...

... hopefully the snow on the drive will have cleared all by itself when I get back...

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, we spend a lot of time and effort (never mind the pharmaceuticals...) trying to be something like 'normal' when really we already are!

Yes, SW, we are very poor at drive-clearing...especially compared to some of our neighbours!


Titus said...

You asked (a lot) of fascinating questions, and these are fascinating answers - and I'm with Technogran on how things we believe so individual to us (and weird) are actually not so uncommon. The answers about "why do you write" are really interesting, and I loved "The answer I'd rather avoid".

Beverley Knight superb.

Still working on these, it's actually the first question that I'm finding the most difficult.

Marion McCready said...

Glad you posted your answers :) I would have liked to read more in your third answer, this kind of thing doesn't bore me at all.
I can't claim to be a 'real' writer because I rarely wrote anything creative outwith school assignments before I was 21 years old!

Rachel Fenton said...

I love reading your inner ramblings...sometimes it feels like coming home...I'd like to meet you one day t'other me

apprentice said...

We're all like icebergs, people, including ourselves, only get to see a tiny fraction of who we really are. Some care about that and some don't. I'm undecided :)

But the 5thaw is on its way -yay!

Rachel Fox said...

Titus - look forward to them!

Sorlil - I don't think it matters when you start. You were using language all that time (up to 21)'s all language use/manipulation. Maybe you were just listening and learning up till then!

Rachel...I know. Except I bet if we did meet we'd be shocked (as in 'you're nothing like me!').

Yes, A, I'm regularly undecided. And the thaw is so welcome - it's only been a few weeks but I want to see something GREEN!


Art Durkee said...

Great questions and even better answers!

I think this sort of self-assessment is a good thing to engage in occasionally. Just to check in and see where we're at. not to indulge in narcissism, just to check in. That old saying about the unexamined life not being worth living.

I applaud your courage in being so self-revealing and self-aware in your writing. I struggle with that. I try to be as honest as I can, when asking questions similar to yours, but I find myself holding back at times, for fear of getting attacked. Experience has made me a little gunshy about certain topics. So it's a good exercise for me to be ever more honest, at least to myself.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, Art, for that generous comment. And you're is just keeping track of ourselves...making sure we're not getting lost!

And I wish some of you lovely people lived within 'just called by for a cup of tea' distance.