Painted Faces

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/eyes/”>Eyes</a&gt;

This was one I made earlier – much earlier – when I attended a creative writing class at Lancaster university. 

Make your face up,
make up your eyes,
blend the colours,
paint the skies,
gild the lily until it dies.

th-10

Mask with mascara betraying eyes,
lengthen the lashes add to the lies,
brush on the blusher, don the disguise,
put on a brave face, a sage face and wise,
colour the lips but hide the eyes.

Make up stories make up lies
save your face, shut off your eyes.

CG16D

 

ESME

 

Advertisements

Licensed to Extort

Among many other curious customs we have in Britain, is the way we fund our public servth-7ice broadcasting, the B.B.C. (The British Broadcasting Corporation.) There is a levy, a tax if you like, on every household with a television. Yes, that’s right. A one-person household pays the same as a twenty-person household; you pay the same whether you watch B.B.C. programmes all the time or not at all. People who watch only independent television channels or even just use their set to play films and D.V.D.s  are still subject to the same charge. The levy takes no account of how many televisions receivers you have. Think of a family of two adults and two teenage children.  Gone are the days of the whole family clustering round the television in the sitting room to watch the same programme. The children will be likely to have their own tellies in their bedrooms; there may be a set in the kitchen and another in the main living room.

I’m not against public service broadcasting. I think the B.B.C. is a good idea. While I wouldn’t say it is perfect, some sort of news and information service, not directly controlled by the government is necessary. The B.B.C. is claimed to educate, inform and entertain and by and large that is what it does.  The only thing wrong is the archaic system of funding this service.Public service broadcasting should be just that – a public service, like the NHS or the schools, paid for from general taxation and free at the point of use.

The current TV licence costs £145. The collection of it is both costly and complicated with letters and queries to non-licence-payers and television detector-vans roaming the streets to catch the miscreants who haven’t paid their fee.

Now we’re told that from 1st September – less than a month away – we will be required to have a TV licence to look at BBC programmes on a mobile phone or an i-pad. This extra extortion will be impossible to police. How many people own portable pieces of computer equipment that can download broadcasts from BBC i-player? A hell of a lot. How can it make sense to try and check whether little Jimmy is plth-9aying an innocent computer game on his i-pad or breaking the law by watching a BBC news or sports broadcast? How about Mum on her mobile phone? Is she simply emailing a friend (legal) or watching Come Dancing or the Great British Bakeoff? (not allowed) Then there’s the thought that a TV licence as I understand it covers a building not an individual. We found this out when the TV licensing authority sent us a letter telling us in no uncertain terms the we should not allow any of our workforce to watch TV on their computers as we do not have a licence. Since we are two pensioners both retired we do not have a large number of employees. In fact we have none.

Since a TV licence is linked to a building rather than a person someone going into a friend’s house or visiting a pub with Wi-fi could presumably watch TV on a tablet or a laptop to their heart’s content. And the friend, pub or coffee shop owner need not even know.

Yes, of course the TV licence fee should be altered. It is an out-dated and archaic system. The best replacement would be a standard fee for each income-tax or council-tax payer. This should be easy enough to calculate and would remove the chance or people trying to dodge payment. If it is felt necessary the “free” TV licence for the over-75s could remain, as could the similar concession for blind people. (Isn’t it odd that we provide something like TV free for those least able to benefit from it? Deaf people don’t require a radio licence either!) This system would also remove the regular badgering of those of us eccentric enough not to own a television. Just imagine if we received a regular notice saying “our records show that you haven’t got a shotgun license” and demanding that we get one immediatley, even though we don’t own a gun!

I suggest £100 per annum would be a reasonable amount to charge each tax-payer for what is after all a very worth while service. This should be easy to administer. Even the most incompetent of governments should have such basic information as Total population, broken down into those paying income tax or council tax and charge them a fixed sum each. People over 75 could be exempt, if this is felt necessary, as could school-age children. Then all that needs to be done is to bill each individual or household for the appropriate amount.

This would actually cost me and my husband more as we don’t have a TV (or a licence). But the idea of paying for something you don’t immediatley want or need is nothing new.  All taxpayers contribute to the cost of the Health  and Education Services.  We all pay towards the upkeep of our roads, even someone who never leaves their home. Will the government adopt this obvious easy and sensible way to fund public service broadcasting in Britain? NO WAY!!

One extra thought: it seems unfair that the licence fee goes to the B.B.C. and the independent broadcasters get nothing.

ESME

 

 

 

Elegy on the Death of My Muse

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/muse/”>Muse</a&gt;

Sounds good.
(I knew it would!)
My muse is dead,
that’s what I said.
I’ve lost the urge
to splurge on verse
and, worse than that,
my prose is flat,
dull as a lake.
No breeze to shake
the surface stillness.
Is this an illness
that I can shake off
like a sneeze or a cough
or final and fatal
and from this date I’ll
write no more,
write but to bore?
I won’t entertain it,
can’t explain it,
But I just know
It can’t be so!

ESME

CG16D

Professional Writer?

“A non – professional writer means a person who has never received a fee for their work, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Prize money received as a result of entering work into a competition is not considered a fee. “

th

I was thinking of entering a short story competition I came across recently on the Internet. Two things I ask from competitions: do they charge an entry fee and can I send my entry by email.

These are not set in stone. I enter a number of competitions where there is an entry fee and quite a few where the organisers ask for postal entries. It’s just easier for me if I can work on screen rather than print off a story, find an envelope and a stamp and trek to the post office.

In the competition I was considering I got as far as reading  the Terms and Conditions. (Advice to writers and comp entrants: always read the T&Cs ideally before you’ve started to work on your entry.) I found the condition quoted above defining a “professional writer” . The competition did not accept entries from “professional writers.”

Some time ago I wrote a regular column for my local weekly paper. They paid me. Not a vast amount, but they paid me. I’ve also had a number of poems printed in a magazine called “Quantum Leap”. It runs competitions but also pays for poems submitted on spec and published. Unusual among poetry magazines. Often editors regard a poet as an unworldly creature who doesn’t want to be paid and is quite happy to work for nothing or just for the honour of appearing in print.

I wouldn’t have said the small monetary rewards from these two sources make me a “professional writer”. I am hardly in the same league as James Patterson or Margaret Atwood. But apparently I am not elegible for this competition. A pity. Think what Dragonfly tea and the Henley Literary Festival are missing!

CG16D

ESME

C a R e F r EE

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/carefree/”>Carefree</a&gt;

 

Carefree

I’ve time to spare.
to do and dare
I’ve time to share
With friends.

I brush my hair
What shall I wear?
the forecast’s fair
“Begone dull care”
The Bard once said. Depends
if weight of care
can bring despair
so I don’t dare
to leave my lair
or climb the stair
to reach the rainbow’s end.

I yearn to be
I’ll learn to be
Completely totally
CAREFREE!

CG16D

ESME

Frail?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/frail/”>Frail</a&gt;

“Frailty, thy name is woman”

Shakespeare, or rather Hamlet, lamenting the fact that his mother had married his uncle very soon after his father’s death. Today I think we’d call  Gertrude treacherous and wicked rather than frail. To me the term “frail” conjures up a person  man or woman, who is physically weak,  probably elderly and easily swayed by a stronger personality.

The term that goes most often with “frail” is “old lady”.  A doddery old woman tottering along with the help of a stick, speaking in a low croaky voice and generally overlooked and disregarded by those around her.

I’ve dealt with this situation in several pieces of fiction I’ve written where an old lady is being bossed about (usually by her daughter}. This “frail” character develops unsuspected strength and ingenuity when dealing with an unforeseen problem. The chararacter of the little old lady with  hidden depths is, I think, sadly overlooked in popular fiction.

Nowadays we have become used to strong women in postions of authority, Margaret Thatcher, for instance, and of course our new Prime Minister.  By no stretch of the imagination could either of these women be described as “frail”.

 

 

ESME

CG16D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey’s Start

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/a-journey/”>Journey</a&gt;

A frantic rush to get away from it all,
snap shut the suitcase lid,
close it down on the daily frustrations,
thinking to escape by keeping on,
moving on, searching for a new place,
new sights, new sounds, new feelings,
till the travel becomes an end in itself.
The journey becomes its own justification.
Its own metaphor for the journey through life.

The mad dash down the motorway,
tantalising wait in traffic jam,
the struggle to escape from thinking
by moving on
never realising – or never admitting –
that it can’t be done.

 
gg63477848

 

CG16D

       ESME