Before I begin, let me just say that this is the first time I’ve used the new-look New Post feature and I HATE it. It’s all white space and missing or moved buttons. Wassup with that, WordPress?
I’m in a bad mood. I have discovered the point of philosophy, a question which has puzzled me since the summer of 2003. That was the first year of my Open University degree. I attended summer school in Manchester – seven minutes away from my house by train; and I chose it for just that reason, having a sick husband and two young children at home. Plus, I was a wimp in those days. Travel alone in such a lawless country as Britain? Forget it.
It was a glorious summer (the sun always shines on happy memories) and I had a blast, spending all of my time in lectures and learning, singing in the choir that was composed of almost the whole cohort of students, and playing Medea’s daughter in an amusing stage parody. I was disappointed not to get two weeks, à la Educating Rita, but loved any break from my adorable family.
I attended a lecture on the piece of music which was the subject of my next assignment and it was so good, all I had to do was transcribe my notes into coherent sentences, giving me one of my best marks that year. It’s not cheating if you’re just paying attention in class.
Music was not my best subject but Philosophy was definitely my worst. I just did not get it. I remember sitting in a tutorial that summer and asking, What is the point of philosophy? The tutor looked startled and then annoyed, and he didn’t have an answer. I rest my case.
I wish he was here now, because today I learned the answer: philosophy exists to enable desperate poets to cope with the vagaries of Microsoft.
My Word stopped working. I don’t know why. I don’t know what version it is. I don’t know why I didn’t read the dialogue box that came up every day for a week or more which probably would have told me. But that doesn’t matter because of course it’s Microsoft’s fault: it is the creator, and we always blame the creator when things go wrong. That’s my philosophy.
I haven’t been around the blogosphere much because I’m nearing the end of phase three of my second poetry collection: the editing process. The editing process is my favourite part: the research has been done; the poems have been drafted from thin air; I don’t yet have to brutally cut some of my favourite babies, or put out for a publisher. All I have to do is neaten, tidy and completely re-write until I’m sort of but not quite satisfied with the work that’s already done.
I edit, therefore I am happy.
I type, therefore I am busy.
I think, therefore I am using the education the Open University gave me.
I stay at my computer, therefore the Hub doesn’t have to see me.
I lose Word and my life falls apart: what am I supposed to do with my time if I can’t edit poems? I might have to talk more to the Hub [shudder]. What if the world never gets to read my genius because Word owns me?
I may just be losing it…it’s only been thirty minutes since Word said Get lost and I’m babbling like a woman who just lost her Word.
On the plus side, I now have time to read your blogs.
Sidebar: the architecture block of the 2003 course was fascinating but the only thing I remember is how to identify columns. To this day, I have a weird finger thing I do to remind myself of whether a column is Doric, Ionic or Corinthian. Identifying a type of Classical architecture is a totally useless skill for me to have but I love that I can do it.
What’s your useless skill?
A Poem to Mourn a Great Loss
I miss Word.
Word has gone.
How will my work be done?
I’m editless; I’m numb.
This poem is the sum of my madness.
Return, Word, and all will be gladness.
Now you see how good a poet I am, you’ll understand why I’m going crazy here.