Friday, January 06, 2012

Bowing out

I don't want to be a party pooper or anything, and I know I've been doing it for less than a week, but I think I'm going to bow out of the small stones thing, at least for the time being.  It's a fantastic idea and I've enjoyed giving it a go, but I just don't quite feel I've got the hang of it, can't seem to be able to hit my stride with it. It's feeling like a bit of a chore, and  I can't help running off into narrative and anecdote and context, which is missing the point, but because I'm trying to be concise and pared down there's not enough narrative and anecdote and context  and so the things seem a bit pointless and baffling sometimes - like what was the pun the woman in the post office made?  Well as it was in French it would take a load of explaining which I'd probably cock up and it would be still be completely unfunny anyway because French puns are unless you're French.  It was something to do with the pen on the counter having a 'une mauvaise mine' which means it not looking well, but also its mine ie its lead (the bit that writes) is bad, which it was because it wasn't sticking out enough... oh forget it.

Then I feel obliged to do a load of expanding and explaining in the comments which again seems to be rather defeating the purpose.

Also I'm kind of missing doing more structured and extensive things with photos; my one-a-day on Flickr feels unsatisfactory, I prefer to group and sequence them really, and on the whole I just feel that my on-line activity is rather desultory and bitty.  (That's 'bitty' in the British-English sense of fragmented and lacking in form, focus  and gestalt quality, not the American one of 'small'. To twig means to catch on, to grasp, to 'get' an idea or joke or meaning. I read a rather good line in a novel recently where a Brit character points out to an American that we have to translate for you but don't require you to do it for us, and by and large I believe this might be true. Opinions?  You see, you can't do shameless fishing like this with small stones...)

Anyway, there are quite literally, I imagine, thousands of people collecting and producing the most exquisite small stones this month, so I really don't think I'll be missed.  As whoever the anonymous person was said, and as this post demonstrates, I probably am better suited to random and intermittent outpourings, at least for now.  Mindfulness will have to wait, or be sought elsewhere. I like to take a Three Beautiful Things cure now and then, but that's perhaps about my limit for being concise and disciplined.  And I've done quite a bit of daily blogging on and off over the last few months, so perhaps I'm just not in the mood!

Please forgive and bear with this rather tetchy and far from small and beautifully polished offering.  Normal, that is random, digressive, usually illustrated, service will be resumed shortly!


Rosie said...

If you feel like a boulder instead of a spebble...why not? You can have too much discipline!

Rosie said...

oops pebble

marja-leena said...

Lucy, you do not need to apologize. It's your blog and you do whatever you feel like doing. I do love your usual long posts, rich in both images and words. Being constrained by some outside rules doesn't appeal to me, I tried it once, I'm usually too 'all over the place' -is that an American expression, I wonder?

NT said...

I, for one, am delighted to have you more prolix and pictorial!

rr said...

See, I loved the uncertainty about the writing implement - it was tantalising. I had lead thoughts, I had thicker than thoughts. I had all the material I needed for some seriously fnarring alleyways. But there we are. As m-l said, it's your blog! Your rules. Apologies and explanations entirely unnecessary.

Catalyst said...

"More prolix and pictorial." Well said and just what I like from you, too, Lucy. I couldn't really "get" the small stones concept. I'm glad our Lucy is back.

Zhoen said...

There ain't no rules here. Expound and expand as your heart wishes.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

That's OK. If it don't work, it don't work. I am sticking with it but I morphed the River of Stones thing into something that sort of fits with what I do rather than doing it the other way around.

Roderick Robinson said...

I think you're right. First, to deny yourself photography is almost like self-harm. Second, your best stuff (as far as I'm concerned) has been getting on towards 1000 words a pop, though it can be difficult to judge the length because of the interstitial photos. Third you're at your best with one single theme (a holiday visit, a church, a book, a session in the kitchen, and - best of all - a task or a regularly repeated event which explains France). Mind you, it's all very well my saying this because biggies like that don't come around regularly and one can terrify oneself by imagining they're a diminishing resource. They're not but they often need tranquil reflection (not always easy) on the approach that eventually releases the subject.

The in-between alternative is to write shorter pieces which look as though they could have been extracted from one of these biggies, sometimes as a subject intermittently visited and with an implicit "To be continued" suffix. I don't why I'm taking time off to tell you these things since it's quite clear you've got along famously without such instruction in the past. But then onlookers are supposed to see another part of the game.

In any case I'm biased (but then so is everyone else - secretly or overtly). One thing that fascinates me is the matter of nationalistic stance: whether to write as an anglaise down there on a visit or whether there's a continuing desire for integration. You tread this line very expertly and your readers get two for the price of one with English telly, for one thing, keeping you up-to-date and allowing you to avoid the over-depletion of memory.

I'm sure that when I emerge from this hateful little comment box (had I known I would go on like this I'd have started off in Word and copy/pasted as I do with posting) I'm going to discover that all I've done is state the bleeding obvious but occasionally the obvious can be a comfort.

You'll notice I haven't committed the ultimate blunder by punditing on how you should divide your time between posts and poetry. However says he, slipping into his John the Baptist mode and thinking particularly about latchets of shoes, there is one better qualified for that should you ever need any help.

earlybird said...

Go with whatever suits you best, Lucy. I'll still be reading.

Rouchswalwe said...

Hee hee, I love it when you're shameless, sweet Lucy. Give me boulders and mountain ranges with Gestalt! Hurrah! (Yes, the excitement from yesterday's bottling has probably carried over.) But in any case, I have missed your normal service and applaud its resumption.

Sheila said...

smiley face

Anne said...

A blog is a personal thing and so we should each make up our own rules (or lack of rules). I like your discursive mode very much. I'm glad you explained the French pun because I thought I was missing something I would get if I were really smart.

Lucy said...

Thanks, my good supportive friends!

Rosie - I just love the coinage 'spebble'...

ML - you never seem to be all over the place to me :~) (No, it's not especially American!)

NT - thanks, and welcome. However digressive,I try not to go on too long; I know I have fairly short concentration time for on-line reading - no, that's not so in fact, I just have limited time, many places to visit and far to go before I sleep - so I don't like to presume on other's time too much. I just can't quite keep to tiny jewels!

RR - Hmm, lead in pencils etc... In fact their is a smutty French spoonerism about 'la mine de notre pere' and 'la pine de notre maire', I believe, and another one involving the head of a rabbit having bones in while the head of 'la pine' doesn't, but trying to share smutty wordplay is even worse... But if you knew our post office clerk you'd realise how liberated she was already by the situation.

Z - yeah, I know. Sometimes it helps to tighten up, keep to forms, sometimes it doesn't.

Cosmo - I really love what you're doing with it, it's original and creative and your making something larger than the sum. Keep it up!

Lorenzo - thank you. Less apologetic please, I have always but always deeply appreciated the time, attention and intelligence which you have given in commenting here, howsoever I may have seemed to respond, or not! I am nonplussed that you consider it worthwhile but I'm glad you do. I hope the longer posts you describe are not a diminishing resource, things can seem a bit dry at this time of year I guess, but encouragement helps. In terms of integration and/or an original take on the expat state there are others who do it much better (Rosie and Earlybird for a start). I have always felt uncomfortable and neither fish nor fowl, and have dreaded becoming a Peter Mayle type of smug ignorant bastard. Neither my language skills nor my social tendecies (the two being surely related) nor my current work status really qualify me as integrated. Poetry seems momentarily to have deserted me, but as yet I'm not despondent about that, I'll sit with it for a bit. You are a dear, with very awesome shoe latchets yourself. Bon appetit with the locusts and honey!

EB - thanks. Your stones are great. And you do so much else besides blogging too, you put me to shame.

R - thank you dear! Sorry, forgot the capital G.

Sheila - a non-emoticon! Return smiley face.

Anne - sorry about the pun. Thanks for kind words, praise from a praiseworthy source.