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Music Monday: ‘Double Thread,’ The Orbweavers

A friend of mine recently suggested – or perhaps welcomed, or challenged, depending on your viewpoint – that I begin regularly posting a Music Monday entry to my blog.  She does the same and has found it helpful to have a regular blogging goal to which she can adhere.

I’m uncertain how to approach this without being too self-critical, so instead I’m not going to overthink it.  Music will be posted from Spotify unless I have a strong urge to throw in a video, in which case I’ll aim to share the artist’s official video from YouTube.

So here is my first entry: Double Thread, by Melbourne-based band, The Orbweavers.

Further thoughts under the cut.

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Changes & Challenges

I have several unfinished drafts of blog posts here on Ink-Stained Worlds that I will almost certainly never publish.

Most of them attempt to put into words my feelings regarding the death of my mother and the unusual relationship with grief that I seemed to have developed following her passing.  Alas, I am not as eloquent as I would like, so I will quickly sum up the core of it:

I have not cried for my mother, and I do not expect to, since she died.  I am not upset that she is dead – at all.  I miss her fiercely, and I wish that I could discuss many things with her as once I did, but seeing the literal agony in which she lived the final months of her life, I am grateful for her death, because it has given her peace.

Jennifer Thornby

Jennifer Thornby

Grief counselling has never been something I have gelled with, but in my mother’s case I simply don’t feel the need.  I have closure here – or, at least, as much closure as anyone could wish to have upon the death of their mother.  I said my goodbyes.  She knew that I love her.  She is no longer in pain – and those things, for me, are enough.  Grief is a very personal process and I had a quiet but intense friendship with my mother that grew and deepened in the years leading up to her passing.  I appreciate that time.  I do not wish for more, exactly, because I would not wish more life on her without being able to assure her quality of life, and that was denied to her by her condition.

To wish more life on her simply so that I could talk to her some more would be selfishness of the highest order.  I would wish death upon the worst of Humanity before wishing upon them the ordeal through whish my mother passed – and she was the best human being I have ever met.

This post, as I am so wont to say, isn’t about that.  It’s been bugging me that I haven’t written the above clearly and succinctly, and unlike the former posts (which I wrote with the mindset that I’d maybe put them out there, if I liked the way they turned out), I do fully intend to publish this one.

So.  On to what this post is actually about. Continue reading

Trapped in the Mirror

Sometimes I get lost in songs.

The cage I find myself in, at times like this, are made of sound – tiny notes meshed together and harder than steel, even if they can be broken by pressing the Pause button – but the stuff in the cage, filling the void between bars and sloshing in the empty space around my (metaphorical) flesh is raw emotion.

I have an unusual relationship with emotion.  Mind you, I have an unusual relationship with most things.  I’m fairly typical like that.

Let me explain what this feels like…

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Sapphic Love?

Sappho, lyric poet of Lesbos

Sappho, lyric poet of Lesbos^

Over 600 years before the advent of what is now carefully referred to as the Common Era there was born a female child on a faraway Greek island known as Lesbos. Her name, in Attic Greek, was Σαπφώ, transliterated as the far more familiar ‘Sappho.’ More than two thousand years after her death, in the late 1800s, her name and homeland would be used for the first time to refer to female homosexuality and, indeed, this is one of the subjects that people most closely associate with Sappho.

She was a lyric poet of no mean stripe, established among her peers as both skilled and eloquent, but unfortunately very little of her work survives to the current day. According to records she was a mother to a daughter named Cleïs, after her mother, though this is by no means certain; the reference may have been to a personal and much-cherished slave-girl. She wrote about loving both women and men, yet there is considerable doubt as to the biographical veracity of her work. Certainly she was a Lesbian poet (that being, a poet from Lesbos), arguably the Lesbian poet, but was she the lesbian poet or, in fact, a bisexual poet? A Lesbian lesbian or a Lesbian bisexual?

Does it actually matter? Opinion on that will vary.

One thing that is not in question is her incredible impact across all of Classical antiquity. Sappho was a woman who had won the respect and admiration of her peers, a victory that was unlikely to have been easy. Greeks loved her. Romans loved her. She was not universally loved, of course, and saw a period of exile from her home to Sicily for an undetermined number of years – but this post isn’t about all of that, in any case.

This is about her poetic form.

I want to be clear about something, here. I am no historian. I am no anthropologist. I have no degrees of any sort, let alone those of language or poetry. As the Doctor once put it, ‘I’m a madman with a box – without a box!’ My position here comes from fascination and love of written expression, not one of formal structured learning.

I have never read anything more than snippets of Sappho’s poetry, both because I haven’t gone out of my way to do so and because I don’t speak Greek. Her poetry has been translated, of course, but such translations are by their nature imperfect.

What I have read about is something called the ‘Sapphic stanza.’

Not long ago I was trawling through pages about poetic forms looking, basically, for inspiration. I got it when I happened to see the word ‘Sapphic’ in a list of verse forms on Wikipedia. I freely admit that it caught my eye because it was related to that famous Greek poet – I’ve researched her a little before and I find her a fascinating figure. I knew her reputation was strong but somehow I had never heard of the Sapphic stanza. Aeolic verse, yes, but nothing actually named after Sappho.

I was hooked. So, like the good little fish that I can be at times, I swallowed that hook good and hard. Sadly, I was also extremely tired, so my initial attempts to parse the information I was reading were all fruitless. After a hard night’s unsatisfying sleep I came back to it and things became more clear.

Let me give you a brief run-down*.

The Sapphic Stanza

The first thing to understand about the Sapphic stanza is that it is designed for Classical language, specifically Greek. It doesn’t translate to English well. Part of the reason for this is that the poetic form used relies on quantitative metre. This differs from qualitative metre, the kind used most commonly in English-language poetry, in one very essential way: qualitative metre keys on syllable stress, whereas quantitative metre keys on syllable weight.

These may seem like the same thing. At first I was confused – isn’t the weight of a syllable the same as its stress? – but no, indeed it is not. The difference is important and makes Sapphic stanzas, in their purest form, exceedingly hard to craft in English.

Syllable weight, in this context, is defined roughly by how long the syllable takes to say. A syllable with a diphthong or a long vowel or which is followed by two consonants is long; otherwise it is considered short. In this way the single-syllabic words ‘lot’ and ‘lout’ are short and long, respectively – but only in isolation. Is the syllable ‘lot’ still short if followed immediately by the word ‘then’ or does the break between the words preserve the short status of ‘lot?’ Would the syllable be automatically made long, for that matter, if it were changed to ‘lots’?

These aspects are all concepts that my poor, untrained mind are ill-suited to understanding.

Luckily, there’s another option.

Modern Sapphic Stanza

Undoubtedly prompted by Anglocentric poets some time ago, the concept of the ‘modern Sapphic stanza’ is really easy – the poet simply substitutes the quantitative metre for a qualitative metre, equating a long syllable with a stressed one and short with unstressed.

Simple as that.

Stanza Construction

Sapphic stanzas are, depending on your opinion, either made of two lines of equal length plus a third with five extra syllables, or three lines and then a fourth that is five syllables long. I tend toward the latter view simply because I find it easier to keep in mind. Either way it comes out the same. The structure is based around the trochee (LONG-short) and the dactyl (LONG-short-short), as follows:

/x /x /xx /x /x
/x /x /xx /x /x
/x /x /xx /x /x
/xx /x

The above chart uses ‘/’ to denote a long/stressed syllable and ‘x’ to denote a short/unstressed syllable. In other words:

DA-da DA-da DA-da-da DA-da DA-da
DA-da DA-da DA-da-da DA-da DA-da
DA-da DA-da DA-da-da DA-da DA-da
DA-da-da DA-da

Or, if you like:

Apples, apples, oranges, apples, apples
Apples, apples, oranges, apples, apples
Apples, apples, oranges, apples, apples
Oranges, apples

Another way in which this differs from most of the poetry that English speakers are likely to be familiar with is that each line of the stanza begins with a stressed syllable rather than an unstressed one. The remarkable strength this imposes on the verse is undeniable and, especially when one is writing it, immediately obvious.

Sapphic stanzas typically don’t rhyme though, of course, there’s little to stop an enterprising poet from doing so. A poem written in this style can be of any number of stanzas. Go nuts, write for as long as you care to. Forget trying to fit your thoughts into X number of stanzas, risking the unlikely ridicule of others should you exceed or fail to meet that stanza count. Write one. Write 1,000. It’s your choice.

Thoughts

While I’ve only written a little in this form, and probably not very adeptly, I’ve thus far greatly enjoyed the Sapphic stanza. While this is by no means the only style in which Sappho wrote it is perhaps her best-known form. Others contemporary with her also wrote in the same style, to the point where people are undecided as to whether Sappho actually invented it or whether she simply adopted and popularised it. For my part, based on only the little I’ve read – which is barely any – I like to think she did indeed invent it.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site I don’t consider myself a skilled poet. One thing that I can say about poetry, though, is that I have a much easier time simply enjoying the process of crafting than I do short stories or longer pieces. Even articles about poetry are less fun to write than poetry.

This form, though, I found particularly satisfying. It’s difficult, there’s no doubt about that; while part of me wants to try to older, quantitative form a bigger part of me is sure that I need more knowledge of quantitative verse in general before I even try to approach that hurdle.

For now, though, I’m enjoying my little imperfect forays into modern Sapphic verse – and right now that’s enough for me.


* = Again, I hasten to point out that I am no wise poet or knowledgeable historian. This explanation of Sapphic stanzas may be wildly inaccurate but it is my understanding.

^ = Curiously enough I rather think this portrait of Sappho rather resembles Jennifer Ehle in her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

Queermance Anthology vol 2 – Coming Soon!

Q2: Queermance Anthology, vol 2Earlier in the year I was fortunate enough to be able to submit a story to Q2, the Queermance Anthology (vol 2) by Clan Destine Press.

The good news: I was accepted!  My short story, Purple Forever, will be in the anthology.  As this is the first thing I’ll have had professionally published – and is the first thing I’ve submitted for professional publishing – I’m pretty excited.

The bad news: There isn’t any!  Well, there kind of is; I’m currently down with the flu, so I can’t attend the launch at the Hare Hole in Fitzroy, Friday 17th of April (ie. tomorrow).

Purple Forever is a short story of about 10,000 words that follows the story of Yvonne and Chrissy, a pair of women from Victoria, Australia who certainly know that the course of love never runs smoothly.

Clan Destine Press have collected a number of authors with varying experience, from well-known names to complete unknowns (such as myself).  It’s a humbling experience to be listed among them.

Q2 will be an excellent ebook.  My (admittedly biased but still quite sound) advice is to buy it, read it and then tell all your friends to do the same.

You can find Clan Destine Press at their website or on Facebook.  They also have a Twitter account, @clandestinepres, which you really should be following.

You can find details regarding Q2 on its product page.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

2015 is shaping up to be a heck of a year already.  It’s been a while since I blogged here.  Much has happened since the year started.  I was originally going to post several updates in the one but I’ve decided against doing that.  So I’ll be posting a couple of things one after t’other.

The Death of Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE

Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on the 12th of March, 2015.  Most people who had heard of him (and arguably everyone who loved his books) knew he was unwell; Sir Terry suffered from early onset Alzheimers, ultimately the cause of his death.

I met Sir Terry once.  I was a younger person than I am now, by far – I don’t recall the year – and he was visiting Australia on a tour.  I sat there while he told us of his experiences in life, his enjoyment of writing and of reading, and I was struck by his voice.  It was a surprisingly young voice, I felt, and not the Received Pronunciation accent that I had (for reasons I’m unclear of) expected.  Sir Terry had a surprisingly light voice, an accessible tone that made him immediately likeable and no lack of amusing anecdotes to please the audience with.

When it came time for questions I stood up and asked him when we might see Eskarina Smith again, as she was my favourite character.  I can’t recall my exact wording but I do know that I was too nervous to ask elegantly.  He chuckled, perhaps recognising my nervousness, and said that she might turn up.  Certainly, he added, there must be fans out there who could calculate her exact age in the Discworld universe, given how much time must have passed.

Eskarina Smith did turn up again, years later.  I wonder if he remembered me asking that question.  Probably not.  I’ll never know, either way.

I got several books (including two maps, The Streets of Ankh-Morpork and The Discworld Mapp) signed.  It was a good day.

Something strange happens when a person passes out of normalcy and becomes a living legend.  It’s a subtle change, one that happens every day.  Most people idolise their parents, typically without even noticing that they’re doing it.  Fans ascribe incredible influence to their chosen stars.

One of the things that happens is the illusion of permanency.  Most people, as I said, knew Sir Terry was unwell – but how many of us really understood that he was going to die?  Intellectually the concept of mortality is easy to grasp: ‘People die.’  That’s it.  Factual, clinical, accurate.  Emotionally understanding that is an entirely different matter.

One day I went to bed.  The creator of the Discworld was still alive.  Then I woke up and he was gone forever.

Sir Terry Pratchett was a master storyteller.  He was a master of satire.  He was capable of taking something old and familiar, reshaping it just enough that it becomes new and fresh, then presenting it in a way that can never be forgotten.  Much like someone sewing a jumper out of used socks.  His use of language was exemplary and his vision as remarkable, to say the least.

He was also, as Neil Gaiman pointed out, a very angry man.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away in a Wiltshire town called Broad Chalke, which is perhaps as Pratchetty a town name as one could hope for.

NaNoWriMo 2014: The Aftermath

NaNoWriMo 2014: completed.

Verdict: I lost.

There are many reasons this happened, of course, and lots of excuses I could give – many of them relevant and valid.  but in the end it still comes down to one thing: I lost.  The real reason for losing is simple.

I didn’t keep writing.

But I did reach half the goal and I did finish up with a strong beginning of a novel that might, one day, be worth reading – and that’s more than I had before NaNo started.

Read on for more about why I failed and, much more importantly, what I’ve learned.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 – The Lead-Up

NaNoWriMoSomething different is happening for me in the lead-up to NaNoWriMo¹ this year.

I’m not looking forward to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to do it, but the high-energy anticipation that gripped me in previous years is absent this time around.  In its place is a hollow dread, a nervousness, a feeling that I might just flub the whole thing.

There’s always a little of that and, I suspect, a lot more writers have it than they might care to admit.  There’s always the possibility that life will throw you a curveball and you’ll find yourself needing to abandon NaNoWriMo in favour of not having your life collapse around your ears.  I’m not talking about that.

What I’m talking about is more insidious.

Read on, if you care to…

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A Farewell: Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Robin Williams
(21/7/1951 – 11/8/2014)

It’s been a hard few days for everyone.

I awoke on the morning of the 12th of August, AEST, bright and enthusiastic for the new day – which is, let’s be clear, uncommon for me.  You see, I suffer depression and have since my earliest memories.  I have good days and bad days but I can never remember a time when I was truly free of the lingering blackness which colours my life.  That may sound self-piteous and attention-seeking but it becomes very relevant when one considers the news I was about to receive.

My partner got out of her chair and came to me as soon as she heard me get up.

“Just to warn you,” she said, her tone heavy, “Robin Williams has been found dead.”

It’s difficult to explain exactly what kind of an impact this had on me.  I didn’t know Robin Williams.  I never had the pleasure of meeting him and yet it felt like I’d lost an old friend.  I had to confirm the news with my partner a few times, get the details, before it finally sank into my sleep-addled brain.

The news of suicide hadn’t been confirmed at that point; it was still the 11th in the States.  Most people seemed to believe it was indeed suicide, however, myself amongst them.

No secret was made of Mr Williams’s depression.  He was a man of incredible depth and, as with all depths, if you go down far enough things get pretty black.  While his comic work was beyond brilliant it was his dramatic performances that, for me at least, truly shined.  He could bring an intensity to his work that spoke of a deep understanding of the darker aspects of life.  One doesn’t get that understanding, I feel, unless one has lived it.

Unlike many other performers, whose work can and often is embraced fully or universally scorned, there is something for everyone in the stylings of Robin Williams.  From Aladdin through Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam and One Hour Photo to What Dreams May Come, which is a lifetime favourite of mine, his work was varied and powerful.  You might not have liked Genie (being firmly within his comic work) but you might appreciate his portrayal of the damaged, striking Seymour Parrish (just as solidly within his dramatic performances) or perhaps Chris Nielsen (which combines the two aspects beautifully).

He was deeply loved, most significantly by his family, but also by the world.  It’s a hard thing to comprehend when someone you love makes the terrible choice to leave.  It leaves us deeply shocked, reeling with pain, unable to properly parse such a decision.  With my brother Colin’s death there was no doubt – he didn’t want to leave but illness took him.  My brother Brian’s, however, was a different animal altogether and so it is with the death of Robin Williams.

It seems incredible to me now that even with all the evidence, all the media coverage, that people still treat depression as a silliness.  A weakness.  I have not seen a single post, comment or article that claims Mr Williams ‘took the easy way out’ but I haven’t gone looking for them – and I have seen responses to such comments so I know they’re out there.

Such arrogance doesn’t reveal only a lack of heart, it prominently displays a lack of basic psychology (not to mention biology).  Depression is an illness, a deeply insidious sickness that clings to the sufferer more persistently than any case of the flu.  That it (and any number of other mental illnesses) still isn’t taken seriously completely baffles me.  ‘Attention-seeking,’ ‘putting it on,’ ‘exaggerating.’

What the hell is wrong with you?  Are you people just wilfully stupid?  Just because you can walk easily doesn’t mean another person’s leg isn’t broken.

Robin Williams was taken from this world by an illness.  Never doubt that.

I loved this man.  Not in the way of a friend, a family member or anything closer, I wouldn’t insult his friends and family by implying that, but I nonetheless loved him.  Just like millions across this cloudy blue marble of ours I loved him as an entertainer, a light in the dark, a genuinely kind-hearted soul.  He was a shining beacon of humour, drama and compassion.  He was a good person, and the world should never underestimate the importance of a good person, particularly in the face of so much overwhelming, crushing personal pain.

Rest well, Robin Williams.  Our skies are darker now but may we all burn the brighter for your example.


On a personal note: I know from painful experience that it’s hard to seek help – or even admit that you sometimes need it. Accepting that you have depression is a staggeringly difficult realisation.

Please, if you have depression, please talk to someone about it.  See your doctor.  Call up a friend.  Touch the world around you and ask those you love for support.  Don’t assume it will go away on its own.  Depression is not the common cold.  It is a serious, debilitating illness which and and does kill.

Even if you haven’t suffered depression long-term, please find someone to chat to; situational depression can be just as devastating as chronic depression.  In Australia we have a number of brilliant and readily available services for people who need to talk, including Lifeline, a telephone line for immediate short-term support.  The sublime beyondblue offers the same (and more) help.  Even if you don’t need advice, even if all you need is to talk and know someone’s listening, don’t hesitate.

Both beyondblue and Lifeline Australia also offer crisis support chat services over the internet.  Lifeline offers these services between 8:00pm and 4:00am AEST, while beyondblue’s chat services are open from 3:00m to 12:00am.

All of these services are available seven days a week.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 (free from mobiles, local call from a landline) || Lifeline Australia website
b
eyondblue: 1300 22 4636 (local call from landlines, may be more from mobiles) || beyondblue website

Marigolds and Motivation

Marigolds - not actually what this post is about but lovely nonetheless.

Marigolds – not actually what this post is about but lovely nonetheless.

Any writer with aspirations to call themselves ‘author’ hits a point where they have to start thinking critically about their own work.

I don’t mean ‘critically’ in the sense of disliking it, thinking little of it or holding it up to the very unrealistic expectation that the first draft will be anything like the polished work of our favourite published authors (it won’t be, of course, and you can be certain that the novel you’re despairingly comparing your own work against probably only vaguely resembles its own first draft).  I use the term to mean the process of dissecting and analysing one’s crafted words to find out why the left wheel is a bit wonky.

Let me say up front that I don’t like the process.  I don’t know many people who do (but I have heard such writers exist).

But what I do love is when I find something wrong about my writing that I know I can fix.

I was lucky enough, recently, to be introduced to a film that I now quite love.  It’s a love story, I suppose you could say – a story about finding it, losing it, fearing it gone.  It has some of my favourite actors in it and covers a few aspects about life that I think are perhaps lacking in many stories nowadays.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the Elderly & Beautiful) was released in 2011 and has an almost intimidatingly talented line-up: Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, Ronald Pickup, Dev Patel and the ever-brilliant Dame Maggie Smith.  Based on a novel I haven’t read called These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, the story follows seven ageing English people who – for a variety of reasons – find themselves heading to a retirement hotel in Jaipur, India to spend their sunset years in what they think is going to be a lavish palace but instead turns out to be a dilapidated and poorly-run building owned by Sonny, the young Indian manager.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the Elderly and Beautiful)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the Elderly and Beautiful)

I won’t spoil the movie for you.  If you’ve seen it you may understand why I enjoyed it so (Dame Maggie Smith’s performance only one reason of many, though certainly a compelling one).  If you haven’t seen it then I heartily encourage you to do so.

The reason I bring it up, however, is that it made me think.

As a brief overview, the seven principal characters are: Evelyn Greenslade (played by Dame Judi Dench), a newly-widowed housewife who also serves as the occasional narrator; Douglas Ainslie (Bill Nighy), an optimistic but hen-pecked husband; Jean Ainslie (Penelope Wilton), pessimistic and hard-to-please wife of Douglas; Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith), racist and intolerant retired house-keeper being ‘outsourced’ to India for a hip replacement; Graham Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson), a newly-retired High Court judge who lived in India as a boy; Norman Cousins (Ronald Pickup), an ageing Casanova who desires to recapture his faded youth; and Madge Hardcastle (Celia Imrie) who, sick of being a glorified babysitter to her grandchildren, is looking for new love – preferably of the rich and handsome sort.

Each of these characters has a history.  Every one of them has issues to face, realities to come to, wake-up calls to… wake up to.  Some of their stories are more thoroughly explored than others but the fact remains that they all have stories.

I’m currently writing a story about a girl in London (a city which, I hasten to point out, I have never visited).  There are friends, dangers, trials, triumphs, misery and loss.  It’s not quite half-way through and it looks like it’s shaping up to be quite a large book already.

The main character is also the principal focus.  It’s written from a third-person perspective but the action specifically follows her.  The reader sees the world largely on her terms rather than following the other characters about.  I might change that aspect but for the most part I’m largely happy with it.

Nonetheless, something has nagged me about it.  It’s a sense of wrongness, of artifice, that some writers can’t tolerate and others associate directly with treating writing as a craft as much as an art.  It’s a sign, the latter group says, that you’re treating your work as a work-in-progress, a made thing rather than your precious special baby.  I take it largely as a warning sign; if the activity within the story seems somehow forced or stilted then it rings false to me.

I was in bed last night musing all of this over when I had an epiphany: I write single-growth stories.

Dame Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade and Celia Imrie as Madge Hardcastle in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

Dame Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade and Celia Imrie as Madge Hardcastle in ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

One of the things that I’ve discovered I love about Marigold Hotel is something that I haven’t realised I’ve been in love with for a long time.  All of the characters have a story to tell, a lesson to learn, something to teach, personal growth to go through.  This is true of more than the principal characters, too – Sonny and his girlfriend Sunaina have growing to do, as does Sonny’s mother.  Even Sunaina’s protective brother has a realisation or two to come to terms with.  Growth is everywhere in that film.  It’s a regular forest.

In my writing, however, the growth is generally restricted to one character – the character I’m placing at the forefront of the tale.

This isn’t a unique issue.  I’m sure most – perhaps all – writers go through it.  Some published authors seem plagued by it (no, I’m not going to point the finger – you’ll spot them on your own) so I know this isn’t something that I alone suffer from.

But it is something I can address.  It’s not a symptom, it’s a cause.  I can work with that.

That’s the part I love and, though this post seems largely devoid of advice or even wisdom, that’s the thing I hope readers might take from this: yes, the process of analysing your own writing can be a pain in the backside at times.  It can seem like a dull chore and it can even scare you into thinking that you’re going to end up hating your own writing as much as you (probably) hated writing book reviews in high school.

Don’t let that stop you from doing it.  Don’t let it prevent you from appreciating, enjoying, loving when you find an issue with your writing that you know you can work on.  If you can’t see a way to work on it, look deeper.

Maybe you’re looking at a symptom.