Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Burn's Night

Haggis, neeps and tatties was probably the most popular meal in Scotland last night. Actually, haggis is eaten quite a lot in our house. It's not just reserved for Burn's night.

And of course, poetry isn't just reserved for Burn's Night either, but in honour of the Bard, I wrote a few wee lines...

One of the new discoveries which came after I had to take early retirement from work was a love of writing.  I believe writing can be quite therapeutic, as well as being a brilliant distraction technique. Sometimes nobody else gets to read what I write. Sometimes my writing is specifically about a friend or relative, so it wouldn't mean the same to other people. Sometimes I publish work here on my blog or on Facebook where other people can read them. Occasionally, I have entered poems and stories into competitions.

The first poetry competition I entered had to be based on the national lottery. The lottery had just started here in the UK and nearly everyone was playing it and nearly everyone was believing they could win it. So it was an easy subject to write about. A few weeks later, I received a congratulatory letter to tell me I was a lucky winner and my poem was going to be published in an anthology beside other winning entries. I'd never won anything in my life, so that was pretty amazing for me. Once I'd stopped doing a happy dance (just an imaginary happy dance, not real dancing), I read the rest of the letter. 'To purchase a copy of the book, please fill in the attached form and return to us along with a cheque....'

So, my poem was to be included in a book. But I had to buy a copy. And of course I did buy a copy. So did my parents.

I started sending other poems to other competitions. A few weeks later, I received another congratulatory letter about another poem. Another winner. Another book to buy. And yes, my Mum and Dad wanted to buy that one too.

A few weeks later, yet another winning poem. Yet another book to buy. I didn't buy it. And I didn't let my Mum and Dad buy it either. I think I threw that letter into the fire.

It could be an expensive hobby entering competitions. Many of them charge an entry fee. Then if they deem the poem good enough to be published in their anthology, they want you to buy said anthology. And of course, they are very happy when the writer's parents are so proud that they also want to buy a copy.

To be quite honest, I don't think talent is required for some of those competitions. I could have sent them a shopping list and they would have possibly deemed it suitable to publish as poetry....so long as I was prepared to buy their book.