Working in broad brushstrokes: let me tell you how, man

Glossolalia (very much the prattle part)

Having alluded to the similarities (or lack thereof) between writing and painting and decorating a couple of weeks ago, the chance again presented itself this weekend to either further extend a crap metaphor or to at least rub salt in the original’s wounds. or both.

(BTW, thanks to Matthew Paul for his suggestion of a poem about painting and decorating by Roger Garfitt. I’m still on the hunt for more.)

Having done all of the prep work a couple of weeks ago, we did the painting of the walls last weekend—well, my wife did a lot of it and I did the last of it when Flo and I got back from Norfolk on Monday.

Let’s really give this metaphor a kicking shall we. If the prep work is the research and possibly the notes for a first draft, then the painting is the actual graft of writing the poem. The walls are the first and second drafts, the cutting in and ceiling (assuming it’s two colours) are the nth draft and then getting closer to a finished product. You’ve covered all the big ground, you’ve got your form and message working in unison.

If, and it’s a big if on an extension pole, we are prepared to accept any of that (and I can’t say I blame you if you choose not to), then this weekend was the final stages: the gloss work. I have spent the weekend taping up and then glossing a lot of woodwork.

I’m going to liken this phases to the putting the final touches to a poem (or story, etc). This is where small words and changes matter, where you change from the roller to the brush, then a smaller brush still (do write in if my technique sounds off) for eg the tops of skirting boards, corners etc. Words come in, words come out. A line is removed here, a stanza is tightened up, a comma comes in, an em dash replaces a semi-colon and then the semi-colon goes back. Until finally, you’ve covered everything.

You dip your brushes in White Spirit, you crack open a beer (other options are available) and tidy away the kit/press ctrl+P. You let things dry. How long you choose to let it dry is up to you. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m saying don’t send the writing out straight away. It always does it well to sit for a while.

And when the paint is dry, or the ink has settled, you remove the masking tape to see what you have and if all is still well.

If there are no drips, no missed bits then you re-hang the pictures, put the coat rail back up, put things back, etc.

This is where you send your poem, etc out into the world.

Christ, I’d love to find myself getting the rollers out soon. And I do mean work on a poem. I’m not picking up the actual rollers again for at least another month. That said, there’s still work to do on the gloss front..and sadly that does mean actual painting.

Media Planning vs Writing Advice

Have a read of a few of these. They are from a post called Know your Enemy. I found them at Andrew Hovel’s excellent blog recently. They are just a selection of them as I didn’t think it would be fair to reproduce them all. However, there’s a link at the bottom of this section to the full set. Before that though, I want you to see if you can work out if they’re either

a) advice for writers
b) advice for media folks/planners
c) a bit of both/neither

  1. Short-cuts and impatience. Excellence requires effort, you can’t get to wonderful without breaking through OK. 
  2. Distractions. You’re at your most potent in the Flow state, thinking without thinking. Slack, WhatsApp, ‘got a sec?’ all get in the way. 
  3. Fear. It’s easier not to try because failure, rejection, they all sting. The people that really change things have been hurt multiple times, they’ve learned to love the scars of war wounds, still afraid, yet do it anyway because when you’re scared you’re on to something.
  4. Chasing popularity. People find new thinking uncomfortable, they hate change, more afraid than you are. Find a way to disagree, but try not to be too disagreeable. I never said this was easy. 
  5. Not wanting to judged in case you look stupid. When pour all of yourself into your work, it’s not just the work being judged, you are asking for approval of you. Fortune favours the brave. 
  6. Ego. You are not all powerful, you are good, but until you can accept what your weaknesses are, you can’t work on them and find wonderful. Ego means you can’t accept feedback – you need someone else someone to tell you where you’re going wrong. There is a fine line between this and committee, but I think we’re agreeing none of this is easy.  Nothing worthwhile is. 
  7. Not asking the hard questions. This is part of fear, we hate asking questions we fear the answer to. The answers can hurt, but at least you know. This goes for far more than work by the way. Be prepared to bleed. 
  8. Caring what other people will think. Get the feedback, love the feedback, but make up your own mind. Don’t second guess everyone, the toughest committee is the one in your mind. 

Please go here and read the rest of Andrew’s post. Whether the answer is a, b or c doesn’t really matter. It’s definitely worth reading the rest of his posts. And for his love of tea.


25 press ups and 12-15 sit ups a day so far, and some days there were up to 20 Squat Thrusts

15.5k running – The 0.5 is very important. Better than last week. yesterday was some hard hill work.

0 poems finished – In fact 0 poems even looked at. A short working week and a lot of painting saw to that.

0 poems accepted, 0 poems rejected. It’s a delicate balance

0 submissions – See above

6 x feedback to a friend on their poems. I love watching a draft of someone else’s work come together. Seeing what they take on board, what’s ignored and why… That’s a post at some point…*Take a note, Riches – you said you’d do this 3 weeks ago*

2 reviews written and subbed. One to go and then I’m taking some time off that to concentrate on my own work.

1 of those reviews published – Rob Selby’s ‘The Coming Down Time’ is now up at London Grip

1 day without cigarettes…and then…Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


The Voyeur of the Dawn Treader
Be Gin again. 
Pack Your Raybans
Stationery Run
Boris Karloff’s Cooling Off
Everybody’s doing the Low Commotion
A Kindness Tribute Act
Login La Vida Loca


Jaga Jazzist – Pyramids
The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers

Some Cities
Lost Souls

My Morning Jacket – Red Rocks 08/02/19

Dinosaur Jr 
Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Don’t Stand Me Down
Tanya Donnelly & The Parkington Sisters – ST

Gwen McCrae
Rockin’ Chair
Something So Right

The Handsome Family – Milk & Scissors
Kathleen Edwards – Total Freedom
Bill Frisell – Valentine
Taylor Swift – folklore
Kate Rusby – Hourglass

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
None this week

Cardinal S2 E6, S3 E1-5
Friday Night Dinner, S1 E1-5
Kelly’s Heroes

The Archers (2 episodes of the epoch catch up. I’m not mid-July now. It’s still annoying as fuck…

Roger Garfitt – The Action & Selected Poems
Martha Sprackland- Citadel  
A footrest from work

Roger Garfitt
The Action
Selected Poems

A pair of trousers from Howies

Connie Bensley – A Leg To Stand On – New & Selected Poems
Ross Wilson – Letters to Rosie
Elizabeth Bishop – Complete Poems (Geography III and uncollected Poems section)
Rowland Bagnell – A Few Interiors

Spooky, this only just sprang into my mind when I wrote the title of this post. Weird, having listened to the majestic Dexy’s earlier in the week.

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