Thursday, 8 July 2010

Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe

Is a sensible piece of advice. You'll only get wet.

On the subject of advice, I've been given more - only slightly solicited. I was bemoaning (like moaning but posher) the fact that I hadn't written any good poems for ages.

'Write some bad ones then,' said The Man With the Beard.

He went on to explain the logic of this suggestion: if you are writing bad poems, at least you are still writing, and eventually you will go on to write good poems again, or at least fair-to-middling poems. But if you're not writing, you won't be producing good or bad (or even fair-to-middling) poems.

Just write.

So I took The Man With the Beard's advice, arrived two hours early at a poetic event, armed with my pen (it is, after all, mightier than the sword) and second-best notebook, all ready to write a poem before The Acts - sorry, poets - rolled in.

Writing a poem is not easy when every man and his dog - not to mention The Acts - had arrived two hours early, too, and wanted to chat.

Still, I wrote something; not quite a poem, not quite prose and - do you know? - I feel all the better for having written it.

If one (i.e. me)  knows one ought to be writing and doesn't, each time one even thinks about writing, one is consumed with feelings of guilt and worthlessness.

Well, guilt mainly.

All potential joy is leached out of the act of writing - which is a highly unsatisfactory state of affairs.

Reader, if you are also experiencing feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness for not doing good, erm, things, then my considered advice is to do some bad things first. The badder the better. It'll make you feel marvellous. Promise.

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of war, the beard of earth.


  1. Hmm, "the badder, the better.." philosophy is making me feel easier about my own efforts.

  2. I'm going to replace my conscience with the Man With The Beard. Sensible fellow, excellent advice.

  3. @ Martin - and this philosophy is not applicable solely to writing. You'll be pleased to know that I am conducting an in depth investigation on the areas of life to which this ethos can be applied.

    @ Deborah - a conscience is more trouble than it's worth. I abandoned mine months ago. Once you become accustomed to the light-headedness, it's rather liberating.