Fandango’s One Word Challenge (2 November 2020)


Each evening, close to six o’clock,
My little world begins to rock.
Excitement builds, I must select,
What dish would make this night perfect.

Fish and Chips, that might be nice,
Or something veggie, cooked with rice?
We’ve always in stock a pizza or two,
Or a nice, hot curry, Vindaloo.

Perhaps a duck, all crispy, fried,
Cannot delay, I must decide.
Or sausages go with a bang,
To chase away those hunger pangs.

Unceasing time keeps marching on,
I must choose soon, or I am done.
So come on now, the time is nigh,
My runbling tummy pacify!

Ah, that was good. Now for something sweet,
My little after-dinner treat,
A piece of cake, or pancake, plain,
Oh no, they started up again!

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge(FOWC) of 2 November 2020, pacify.

If you happened to notice that all my poems are ever about is food, that’s basically because it’s all I think about!

Bob Fisk

I wanted to pay a short tribute to Robert Fisk. I mentioned his name in a comment earlier, and the reply was that the blogger had not heard of him. That’s probably not surprising – he was a British journalist, worked for British papers, and even then, I guess very few British, even, would have heard of him. He was very well-renowned in his field, winning several awards, but probably not so well-known by the public.

More than being a journalist, he was a Middle East expert. From the days of the Soviets in Afghanistan. He met Bin Laden three times. If anybody wants to gain an insight into why nineteen Saudi hijackers (a country propped up by the USA) were motivated to harm the USA so, read Fisk. Suffice it to say, these men were at war with the USA long before 2001. You might be tempted to dismiss these men as madmen, but they were far from being mad. To understand what drove them, read Fisk.

I read Fisk before my own stroke. At that time, he lived in Beirut. It won’t surprise you to learn that he spoke fluent Arabic. I lost touch with his career when I was going through my own turmoils, but I read that Fisk died at the weekend in Dublin, aged just 74. It was suspected that he had a stroke. Approximately 10% of strokes are fatal. Of all things, I remember that my own stroke came without any pain. I hope Fisk’s did, too. I think deaths are particularly sad at the moment. Even though it sounds like Fisk’s death was not COVID-related, he would still have suffered the hardship of being locked down for most of the year.

List of books.

Blogging Insights (2 November 2020)

Tanya asks this week:

Can you share some tips and tricks for using the new Gutenberg editor on WordPress ?

Okay, I have a tip. When you want to put a little section-break in a post, there is a block called the “Separator” block. It has the option of an inch-long, centered break, as I did above, or a full-line break, as I will do below.

And it supports different colours, if that floats your boat.

The reason? Why not create a break using underscores? _____

Well, when my reader picks up that construct, it repeats the word “underscore” many times over. Can you imagine a whole line of eighty-odd underscores? Can you imagine how annoying that is?

The effect is that I stop reading the post. All that writing effort, wasted! Can you imagine, people rate their time so cheaply?

This is not simply my little peeve, but an inclusivity thing – it is an appreciation that some people might not use their eyes to take in a post. Do people want to make their posts accessible, or not?

Incidentally, I noticed that when I copied Tanya’s question, she’d made it bold and italic, to make it stand out. She could have just used the “Heading” block instead.

Open Book Blog Hop (wb 2 November 2020)

In her Open Book Blog Hop, Stevie today asked another interesting question:

Is humour an important element in your stories? Do you ever laugh at something you’ve written?

I split myself into three here, driven by the three different types of writing that I have attempted.

  1. For straightforward prose, I just reflect my own personality. I’m quite like Stevie in this respect. If I can see a humorous angle to something, I’ll try to exploit that in telling the story.

Being serious for a moment, I think that one of the things that the stroke did was to leave very few subjects off the table as regards making fun – because ultimately, the only thing in our power is how we regard things. And I don’t think that’s particularly a personal thing – I bet anybody who ever had some kind of serious illness would say the same.

  1. In terms of the fiction that I have written so far, the characters are just in my image. The character might seek to exploit the humour in a situation, just like I might. But I’m not deliberately writing humourous situations for them. Having said that, as a reader I have loved authors like Douglas Adams, who could write such nonsense that, putting it all together, it was genius! I’m just left in awe of the wondrous place that guy’s head must have been.
  2. In terms of the poetry, absolutely. Simple as that. My aim in 99% of my poetry is just to raise a smile on the reader’s face. Okay, a bit of thinking has gone into that, though, as well. If the poetry is going to be funny, at the very least it has to be understandable,

which means,

I’m not just going

to add line-breaks

Here and There

To make my prose

Appear poetic.

Okay, all you poets out there will tell me that there is a darned site more to poetry than that, that I have misrepresented your craft. And I have. But that’s my point – I feel I have to write such that I am easy to understand. Maybe one day I’ll write something complex, but that doesn’t float my boat right now.