beating Auden – a writing game

English: Photo of W. H. Auden, 1970, taken by me.
English: Photo of W. H. Auden, 1970. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have this small writing game I play in my head.  Some days I keep score and other days I let W. H. off the hook.   Apparently, W.H. Auden would work at his writing for five hours a day, several cups of tea, an ashtray or three of cigarette butts, and some benzedrine.  At least some kind of pill, my memory may be playing tricks with the exact concoction he used.  Other writers would write 1500 words exactly, Hemingway pencil to paper and stop in the middle of an idea so he could begin again the next morning without hesitation.  Many writers have many rules and rituals, magical potions and incantations,  sharpening ten pencils was one I liked. Shelby Foote wrote seven days a week and every day of the year in a writing room where he slept.  He would not stop, for fear of the energy needed to regain his momentum.  He wrote his three volume history of the American Civil War with a dip pen and a bottle of ink.  You will likely recall him with his insights and syrupy drawl speaking as a talking head on Ken Burns‘ Civil War documentary on PBS. Check out his history of the Civil War, a masterpiece.

I am writing less these days and that is despite having more sophisticated electronic devices on which to scribble. A writer tries to find a way to make the effort of writing seem less difficult than it is. I went back in time and tried pencil, pen, typewriter.  I am considering a digital voice recorder or voice recognition software so I can just talk to write.  More accurately, mutter. I can confess confidently that I am evolving into a true muttery, ill, curmudgeon with all the trims and accessories.  Acidic manners and hair trigger rigged rants available 24 hours per day.  The odd bad joke.  A few million regrets and a surprising amount of wonderment as I read both history and new fiction.  I even bemuse myself with thoughts of more positive political results both nationally and locally.  Still an opti-cynic as someone labelled me thirty years ago, an optimistic cynic.

I get to the end of the day and consider the writing score: yesterday was Auden 5 me 1.  One hour spent writing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t equate my puny efforts with Auden,  He is just my way of keeping score.

Blackberry tablet camera shots

RIM Blackberry tablet camera shots – watercolour effect-ed by uing the app Pencil Camera

my view of the dialysis clinic during my dialysis treatment and a late night kitchen self-portrait- I was in the kitchen for the strong overhead lighting, not for a midnight snack

Tasmanian Tiger – film “The Hunter”

I watched The Hunter today during my dialysis treatment and once again marveled at the acting of Willem Dafoe, the lead, and Sam Neil, in support.  It is a film about Tasmania and wildlife and humanity.   The quest is for the Tasmanian Tiger.  I actually have a book on my book shelf about the Tasmanian Tiger, which looked quite differently from the appearance of the Tasmanian Devil.   The two have powerful jaws in common it is true, but Devils are dark and stocky.  The Tasmanian Tiger was more wolf-like with a sandy colour and tiger stripes.   In the film a corporation believes that the reported sightings of the Tiger are true and that the animal has a toxin it uses to paralyze its prey after the initial bite, and that there is money to be made from this bio-commodity.  Dafoe is sent to get the biological “riches”.  The young shattered family he lodges with seem to crack his hard shell and he warms to them.  The film moves through the wonderful Tasmanian wilderness and the plot and characters are well-drawn. 

It had a negative effect on me in that it reminded me how I am hooked to dialysis and could not spend twelve days in the wilderness chasing a Tasmanian Tiger as Dafoe does in the film. 

If you have a sense of how Australia looks, don’t misunderstand that Tasmania although just to the south of Australia is like another world.   My visit there today via the movie made for a quicker-seeming dialysis run.