On the Predicament of Routine

I’ve ever so slightly fallen in love with Microsoft Office Outlook, something I’ve never been able to use properly before. The calendar function is excellent; you can colour code every element of your life, scheduling yourself in until your heart’s content. The search for a job however is prevailing; I am simply desperate for a job at university, if only to find myself some structure within this abyss of living in toy town; university day structures just don’t suit me. Arising at two in the afternoon and eating supernoodles on a regular basis is now a banned practice: I will not arise any later than eight in the morning on any given weekday. On Sundays however, I’m allowed a concession: nine am, but only if I’ve been out late the night before. The general “feeling” and routine of university life makes me feel unproductive, and I can’t stand feeling so completely swamped in apathy, so I have to try to get up and out and get things done during daylight hours, to the best of my ability. And unfortunately for students everywhere, alcohol does not make a person any more mentally efficient.

The Microsoft Outlook Icon: A Symbol of Hope For the Fundamentally Disorganised... (1)

You see, all I can think about at the moment is changing things about myself; starting an exercise routine, a better skin routine, a new part-time job. I feel as though I need a complete change, in order to see a complete physical change. Having begun changing my routine in mid-December, I’m already starting to feel the benefits of a regular sleeping and waking pattern, and the lack of junk food and excess alcohol makes a huge difference: I feel far less sluggish, and I have a plethora of energy I didn’t know existed. I’ve gone so far as to start looking at spinning classes and gym membership, and purchased cropped leggings for the purpose of attending the classes. Once the money has been spent, I feel too guilty not to make the most of the service I have paid for.

On a general point then, I’m hoping that this endless amount of energy will fuel not only the functional elements I’d like to change; hopefully it’ll move to me maintaining my blog a little better, and writing a little more, and forming ideas for novels, pictures, and plays. At this point however I digress, into the land of the optimistic, romantic artist. I like to inhabit this beautiful land, because it’s full of hyper enhanced colours and diamonds in the sky. It’s far nicer up there.

And so in this vein, I venture to share another of my works with you;  again, I’d love to hear what everybody thinks of this poem. Since it is loosely related to the theme of writing, and seeking publication in general, it would be interesting to hear what people in a similar predicament think of a poem that could potentially relate to them personally. I hope you enjoy it!


Letter to Talent

There was never a chance this would work. Well,
Competition, was inevitable.
There is a large, empty space, on the floor.
Scorch marks, by the fire. My carbon footprint.
The empty bottles, clink. Shame, floods my face.

The letters, the postcards. The newspaper.
Inky reminiscent. They smoulder, underfoot.
Smoke from our forefather. He founded the
Words, and songs; the poems, the plays, to us.
Dedicated literature, burning.
Scorch marks into the hardwood flooring.

Memorandum arrived, all from London.
Messages; Dear Sir; Dear Madam; Truly.
Bundles of new paper, new ideas, all
Etched into fresh, shiny ink. Sketched our words.
Seeking approval, we bid for our place.
A place in time, a magazine. A book.
A place, somewhere, anywhere to belong.

To exist, in the world of creative
Integrity, is a paradox;
Constantly, overshadowed, by bigger,
More powerful talent than your own being.
Carcinogens curl around your pale throat.
Inhaling: Have you found the mystique of
Post modernism, existing beyond
Your own suffering body? Searching for
A reason to stop stamping envelopes…

…The posting out of the charred paper: What’s left?
What is left of soul? You would (screw) everyone.
If everyone was asphyxiated
In your soulful, poetic arms,
Their charred bones. Mind.

(But for this agony, of attempts and failure,
Whatever is truly owed to us,
Whatever will become of us.)

-Sarah Alice

(1) http://www.medlineschool.com/Portals/12654/images/outlook.gif



4 thoughts on “On the Predicament of Routine

  1. I’m not quite sure how to respond to this. First, let me say that alcohol does stimulate your mind for a while before lethargy and stupidity take over. There are other thoughts, one of the from Hunter S. Thompson, who says that when people speak of inspiration, what they really mean is fuel. I know this feeling well. I don’t need to think about what I need to write, I just need the fuel to push through it.

    I think it’s a clever poem, maybe a little too clever for me. It’s quite densely written, which is an honoured tradition in poetry, but I found myself having to go back and re-read things.

    The idea is interesting. The relatively new version of the very old problem, the paradox, that the validity of a writer to the valuable reader is one who doesn’t conform to trends; but for the writer to be published (and so survive) they must write something according to the stipulations of, ultimately, the accountants who work for the people surviving via the gullibility of the lowest common denominator. If they only publish the stuff which is likely to feature on Richard and Judy or Oprah’s list, then you get in your writers not artists but craftsmen employing formulae to give the public what it wants so they can be published. We ask for safety, that which is recognizable, and tell artists what they must write to get published. The world loses out, the readers and the writers, and we console ourselves with the quick fix. I don’t seek naked entertainment, I want blood on the page. When H.G. Wells and Huxley were writing, there were no genre categories in bookshops, the science fiction just fell under the fiction section. There only used to be fiction and non-fiction. How about that for allowing a reader to choose based on different criteria. This is all an over-simplification, but the lines are drawn. As always, there is grey area.

    • Thank you for your lengthy and provocative response. I think the poem not only focussed on the idea of consumerism and genre, but also the internal implications of the life of the writer on a person. It’s difficult to distinguish the poem, and I often reread it and think about different things it could mean myself.

      I however do like to strike a balance between having pure blood on the page, to having a more refined kind of dissection of life; starkness and shock value don’t always appeal to me. I love ideas percolating in my mind, and thinking about one inexplicably subtle idea, in a variety of ways, so sometimes, shock value is too acid; it is too much. I love the finery and decadence of literature, because reality is not always dressed in finery, and literature allows us to take the reality and enhance it, making it decadent and beautiful. It does not have to be realistic.

      At the same time however, I appreciate the point you are making; there is certainly a place in the world for total abuse of the power of language, and a complete honesty within that. There is however, a great opportunity for decadence, especially in this period of deep recession.

      Thank you for your comments!

  2. I got the internal struggle, it’s one I have. My intention with my poetry is not to shock, although I aware some of it does, but just to try and be real in some way, as much as that’s possible. I can do finery too…

    The Sibilant Sesquipedalianist

    Sacred deviations
    to pullulating osculations;
    immemorial meditations
    on meaningless mediations.
    Conflating invitations
    for sell-a-bit celebrations:
    bon conflagrations,
    conjoined inflations;
    incendiary inspirations
    to elevated elations.

    Dissident recollections
    for mediocre dissertations
    found constipated invocations.

    The literary accidents
    of an inkwell miscreant?


    The inkwell accidents
    of a ludicrous deviant?

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