running

treadmarks

 

I am the watcher

the runner

unofficial custodian

alone

non-partisan

my feet pray

to mother earth

my breath

synthesises

salt-sea molecules

of sky

and my eyes

monitor

the ways

in sweeping surveil

from mountain

to ocean

and over there

the horizon

mine not mine

owned only

in a global

internal

knowing

tread the land

stomp the sand

it’s yours, ours, no one’s

take care

 

Photo: Claire Doble

2020 words and goals

Happy new year, happy new decade! Hard to believe this will be the sixth year of Clairevetica. Where does the time go?

I like to write these goal blogs, mostly for myself to refer back to. Here are my

2019 – mid-year life update

2019 goals

2018 goals

2017 goals and words – consolidation & realignment

2016 goals and words – small, incremental changes

2015 goals and words – surrender

previous words – don’t rush in where angels fear to tread

I was originally about just putting writing goals here but I think Clairevetica can take it if mention some of the other stuff that’s important to me. It’s my space! So, in no particular order, here’s my update / goals / ideas for the year ahead.

Running: I had a goal to reach 1,000kms in 2019, which I achieved. This was not easy, I noticed late November that I was way behind and made the slightly rash decision to run 5km/day for the rest of the year to hit my target. I achieved this and with some spare change (plus a couple of rest days!) I’m pleased with this and I’ve set myself the same target again for 2020. I said I’d like to do one or two half-marathons in 2019 and I managed one. The move from Switzerland to Australia meant things were a bit all over the place in that respect. I will try to sign up for two halfs in 2020. Not sure I’m ready for a full mara yet.

Fitness: a new one! Fitness is becoming increasingly important to me as I move into my 40s. I plan to incorporate some more strength training this year and I’d like to swim more again (I used to do a fair bit of swimming). Since I live on the coast now, this should be a no-brainer. I’d also love to learn to Surf! 🙂

Sobriety: It has been almost an entire year since my last alcoholic drink and a full year since I last got drunk. Definitely the best decision I made in 2019.

Writing: I managed a decent amount of writing in 2019. Including writing about 150 blogs on the sober support website I joined. Since returning to Australia, I’ve done a fair bit of freelance and that has been mostly enjoyable. I’ve been trying to focus more on writing articles about things I am truly interested in rather than ones to merely pay the bills.

Novel: In the last quarter of 2019 I did an 8-week novel-writing course, which was good. I’m probably going to do the follow-up six-month course as, with both kids in school this year, I will finally have those precious few hours per day to devote to it. In retrospect, I was overambitious to think I’d be able to write the novel in 2019 with all the change and upheaval. But I did think about my WiP a lot and took positive steps. And I have refined my approach. I realised, for me, it’s not so much about churning out the words (I am pretty decent at that) but spending more time refining each section in shorter blocks/ bursts and that’s hopefully what’s going to be my process.

Short stories/submissions: I did have one short story published this year! But I’ve basically stopped submitting to literary mags etc. It takes too much time and the payoff is not amazing. I think my energy is better spent in the above and below, penning poems. I also decided a while back I would not submit/enter anything that had an entry fee.

Poetry: the poems just come when they do. It’s interesting to observe how, the past two weeks while on holiday, I have been more inspired to write more poetry. Maybe it requires a bit of difference / out of comfort zone or eye-opening to new things.

WORDS

Finally, I have been in the habit the past few years of choosing a word or words to be a sort of mantra for the year. In 2019 my words were ‘Wild’ and ‘New’ and there was definitely huge amounts of both those things.

In 2020, my words will be ‘Raw’ and ‘Curious’

Curious – because I’ve discovered that a sense of openness and curiosity is one of the best ways to ‘get out of my own head’ and divert negative thoughts. If I remain open and interested, I am far less likely to allow doubts and insecurities rule my thinking or actions. I’m also getting interested in spirituality! So this is a good quality to bring to that.

Raw – I hesitated on this one. The idea of being raw and vulnerable scares me. And really, that’s why I chose it. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I suspect that to be truly curious and open, as per my desire above, one must also allow for a certain rawness and stripping back. The best writing can come from here too, which is both exciting and terrifying!

So that’s where I’m at. What are your goals, writing and otherwise, for 2020?

Photo: night-blooming cactus flower by Claire Doble

Wired silence

 

I’m wired for sound

reading books from a supplier named for the rainforest we’re destroying, a queasy joke like

enjoy the silence

 

these days I read mostly e-books (same supplier, same quease) and my music is stored

elsewhere, while shelves sit full of dusting jewel cases, oh! that sounds more precious than MP3s

I’m wired for sound

 

can’t listen when I’m writing, so many hours of

words falling quiet through my fingers, thudding soft into keyboard squares; sometimes my thoughts pause –

enjoy the silence

 

composing lines in my head on the morning tram, smells aggressively of RedBull and cigarettes

produced by twitchy men I protect myself from with cheap headphones, thank goodness

I’m wired for sound

 

sometimes when I can’t fall asleep from stress, I try the meditation app,

she says soothingly ‘simply notice sounds around you’ but it’s 22.47 in Zurich, Oerlikon

enjoy the silence

 

I run away from my life, I run into my life, I run into the forest

and there is my life waiting for me underneath my legs my two feet keep going, one in front of the other, and it’s music I’ve found

I’m wired for sound

to enjoy the silence

 

 

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo Day 5 challenge was a difficult one. But I love the challenges! To write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. If you can use two elements, great – and if you can do all three, wow!

I managed this using “Wired for Sound” (originally Cliff Richard but I’m thinking of the Bi(f)tek version) and “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode.

I have to give an extra shout-out to Napowrimo for putting me on to this incredible mashup by poet Kyle Dargan of the Lord’s Prayer with Grandmaster Flash’s “the Message” – wow!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjzaGqGqkMY

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

 

The runner

Just when you get started

is

have I got a tissue?

did I bring lip balm

or forget keys

the good socks! Ah

better not

go back

the message is

not the medium

but

things’ll be dire

if I turn, must

run this track

so go, go go,

and put those

fickle-fuckle thoughts aside

of props

all you really need

is two feet, running

and

the vital missive

survive!

bright and clear

like wings, like hope

held fast (so fast, don’t stop) and

carried safe, in mind

 

 

It’s poetry month again! Yay!! I am so excited to participate again this year. Lots of changes afoot for me, which I’m sure you’ll hear about through the month, so it’s nice to do something familiar. Today I followed the early-bird prompt:  write a poetic self-portrait. And specifically, we’d like you to write a poem in which you portray yourself in the guise of a historical or mythical figure. Does that sound a bit strange? Well, take a look at this poem by Mary-Kim Arnold, “Self Portrait as Semiramis,” or Tarfia Farzullah’s, “Self-Portrait as Artemis,” and perhaps you’ll get a sense of the possibilities. I started looking up cool goddesses, like Hel and Hathor, but nothing quite clicked. In the end I went for that nameless first “Marathon” runner who saved his people with an heroic effort. I guess I’m feeling pretty noble about my quest! Also a good ‘beginning’ poem, I feel. Plus, as I may have mentioned, I have become a runner and it’s helped me survive some difficult times. OK, enough about me!

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@we_are_rising

2019 goals – writing and otherwise

It was with some trepidation that I looked back on my “writing goals for 2018” post this week to see if I’d achieved what I set out to. I somehow remembered that I’d been too ambitious and I really hate and fear failure. But I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d known from the start that this year was all about finding paid work and that would mean my own writing would suffer.

I guess it’s fair to say, I’m pleased to have achieved what I set out to do – get a job. But I’m also sad that this meant, as predicted, way less creative writing for me. However, despite saying I wouldn’t manage it, I did end up doing most of GloPoWriMo2018 global poetry month in April, so that was a bonus. I did submit a few poems, short stories and creative non-fiction but all were rejected and I didn’t have time or the jive to revisit/rework them and keep submitting. Rejection stings. Then some family issues mid-year, combined with starting work really diverted all my energy to survival-mode.

I’ve been on somewhat of a journey this year (forever). My birthday falls in January and 2018 was a significant one that made me reassess a lot of my ideas and habits. It’s a process that is ongoing but I’d also like to acknowledge here the hard work I’ve done throughout the past 12+ months that’s along the lines of trying to be my “Best self”. This has involved mental and physical undertakings.

I’ve been trying really hard to shed some outdated beliefs / habits / addictions and insecurities. I’m not 100% there (is anyone, ever?) but I think I’ve made progress. And it’s part of the journey to take a moment to congratulate myself. It has not always been easy or enjoyable, although sometimes it has! Well done, Claire.

A big part of this year has been my running, too. It’s funny, when we moved to Zurich five years ago a friend here mentioned “there’s great running trails here,” as a selling point at the time. To which I scoffed dismissively “not interested, that is NOT my thing. At all. Ever! ” Well never say never.  In 2018 I clocked up more than 1,000km of running. I’m stupidly proud of this. Not just because it’s a big number but because it means I was consistent. In rain, hail, snow, sun, heat, blahblah I kept on jogging all year. I went for runs in Zurich, Rome, Sydney, Porto, Perth, Ocean Shores, Dübendorf and Venice and I completed my first-ever Half-Marathon. And, to tie it back to my previous point: running has hugely helped my mental health.

It’s been an interesting year. When I look at my blog stats, they’re way down on 2017, which was a wonderfully flourishing period for my writing AND I did the 26Cantons52Weeks to boot. I wrote some decent stuff in 2018. I was going to say the quality had suffered, but I just read everything and… well… I like it! But I also know the difference it makes to write regularly, as I was doing in 2017. So I hope to get back to that in 2019. However, I am going to err on the side of sensible because I don’t want to set myself up to fail. So what are some reasonable goals…

  • Short stories: I’d like to focus on short stories a bit more. I had some success in placing those in 2017 when I was really working at it, and I think it’s a good way to go. If I can write or hone 4x short stories I’m happy enough with to attempt to place them in 2019, that will be a good outcome. (Actually I already have one on the boil)
  • THE NOVEL: I keep saying how I must get back to this. Maybe 2019 will be the year! I think if I can dedicate a few months of evenings / weekends to focus on it, it could happen. Maybe another NaNoWriMo?
  • Running: I would love to run another half-marathon this year. Maybe even two – one in Spring and one in Autumn. I don’t have the bandwidth to train for a full mara. That’s a goal for 2020!
  • Poetry: don’t think I need to put goals around my poems anymore. They can just come and go as they please.

 

Happy (almost) new year! What are your goals for 2019?

 

Photo: a wicked angel my son made at school

Concrete

 

So we’re worried about the bridges now

don’t trust the men who built them

or just men

in general

suck

don’t they?

but we’re still driving across

in our cars

that men built

those same ones.

not exactly the same ones but

sort of

the polluting ones

where they fiddled the books

or the sensors

or the stats

to pretend

they weren’t so bad

after all

but they were

still.

And what about the Maldives

sinking beneath

the waves

of plastic

we made

one more long-haul flight

and I never take

a plastic straw

these days

just sink into the bedrock

of sandstone and granite

can the two mix?

blonde and dark

a fizz

you know what

the best thing I heard this week was?

that the heart and lungs don’t know

the exercise you’re doing

but the limbs

they know you’re running

you’re running

 

Photo: Claire Doble