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So this is what happens when I sit down to write

A free evening, and it’s a couple of hours until Downton Abbey (I’ll start watching it at 9, pause it at 9.01 so it starts recording, then start watching it at 9.15 and I can fast forward thru all the ad breaks – sorted!) So I think ‘I’ll dig out some old poem and give it a re-working’ – standard practice if I’m not inspired to write anything new.

Actually I’m a fan of recycling – I’m glad to have kept all the stuff I wrote pre-2009, which is when I tell myself I started taking poetry seriously (ie started READING poetry and realised I was on the Wrong Track) – even though the base material may be, well, base, sometimes there’s a kernel of something which can be dusted off and used. Somehow.

The poem I chanced upon is a little piece written ages ago when I was living in the US and a bit lonely and when I got some leave I used to take myself off on road trips. Ah yes! Cruising along the strip malls, perching my cardboard cup in the drinks holder and pretending I was a native. Surely I can summon up those memories no problem? Except I can’t. It was a while back, and I can’t even picture myself in a left hand drive automatic car, although it certainly happened.

I need to get into the mood – how about some American rock anthems? I used to LOVE singing along to them as I negotiated the I-5. A quick look on Amazon and I’m sampling ‘Babe’ by Styx (1979, their only number 1, apparently) and of course ‘Is this love?’ by Whitesnake. ‘China in your hand’ – ugh, that singer was so FLAT as she approached the chorus. But hang on, Amazon only gives you a few seconds of the song. I need to hear these in full – bring on YouTube. I’m listening to “Babe’ and reading the comments from people who met their first true love when this was playing. Then I remember a slightly embarrassing scene in a Florida piano bar when I sent a request to the players for ‘Babe’ and included the unnecessary details ‘English! Staying at the Hilton!’ on the request slip. Oh dear.

But back to the poem. Unfortunately by this time I am too far gone down the one-way street of lowbrow memories and general tackiness to be able to pull together anything of literary merit. And Downton is on in 20 minutes. Ho hum!

Published inAngstSerendipityWriting

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Robin Houghton 2021
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