I, now
Don’t know
If ever I could
Work myself up
From a loss of faith
To the place that science
And reason are what bind me
To the beautiful world as I live in
Yet I am happy to take the stillness
And quiet meditation as a certain way
To help me to focus and to shape my day
I have a path laid out in front of me already
Which does include lots of spirituality and love
The poets, and the thinkers, and the writers advise
And educate me, they do help to inspire my daily life
Why then a need for an omnipresent supreme deity
Who for I never could have been the great creator
Or the saver of souls; to my mind it is way more
Than a seven day job; even the books on my
Shelves would take a year or more to read
Yet I acknowledge that there is a beauty
For those who follow what is admirable
If entirely beyond my understanding
Now back to the purpose of writing
Which is joy in the celebration
Of the new day, bathing in
The light which nature
Provides our planet
Also many others

I don’t believe, yet neither

Do I believe, that I
Or that we, are alone here

Available at Amazon

Christopher’s Website
for his Collected Works

Sagres to Lisbon Replayed begins to take shape; Self is being sub-divided into Selves.

The story asking for volunteers to an imaginary zoom meeting was asked on Medium. One of the first participants had their response to the question: How would you go about searching for the purpose in your life, if you already have a purpose could you please reveal how you found it? read out to the Creative Writing group, with positive feedback.

The twelve participants have had images assigned which can be seen on the new website. Motion is in motion. Portugal’s West Coast is being virtually surveyed. Ramirez’s purpose in life, of supporting his family and supporting his country is being picked up on, so far everyone wishes to evolve beside him.

Meanwhile Jung’s Archetypes are being studied. The author is urging himself to understand what Jung said in order to explain what ‘the self’ is all about:

‘The self is not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness.’

Jung believed that reaching this stage of consciousness where no shred of unconsciousness is left within you is the sole purpose of human life.

It is our job to explore every aspect of our psyche, uncovering everything which is hidden from us.

So now we go to Portugal; a virtual walking and enquiry-into-self tour, from Sagres to Lisbon.

That’s right, we are going to combine walking with psychoanalysis, or at least we are going to investigate the personalities of those who we meet along the way. One of our tools with be Proust’s Questionnaire, courtesy of Wikipedia, which will be used as an ice-breaker.

We will also works with Jung’s Archetypes as I have recently enrolled on such an on-line course. Our first combatant Suzy has already spread herself across three or more categories and provided some entertainment for our Monday Morning Writer’s Cafe.

We start in Sagres with a welcome meal, drink and presentation. Next day we set off to wherever we choose to go to. We set out for Vila Bispo, we have a room booked in the Pure Fonte Velha B&B, from where we are heading to Bordeira’s Beach, and Casa Fajara Rustic Boutique House, Hotel & Apartments.

In our first night hotel we meet Agnes, Georgia and Frida. We go out for a meal and the three ladies are the first of our new friends to answer Proust’s Questionnaire.

Agnes chooses question number one, which may already say something about how her logical, straightforward mind works, if that is how her mind is, or works.

Agnes, please tell us could you what is the principal aspect of your personality?

Agnes is thoughtful for a good thirty seconds, quite at odds with the speed with which she chose the question number one.

I like certainty, I like to know where I am, and where I am going. I like to be appreciated for what I know to be right. I want to find ways to explore, understand and confirm my certainties.
We all sit back in a bit of amazement at the clarity and lucidity of her answer. We communally say thank you for that. Then Georgia asks how does she know what the certainties are, or equally what are the uncertainties which counterbalance them.

Agnes steps in to say that she will answer that, but first to ask if there is another question from anyone so that she might combine the answers. Frida then asks what tests does she put in place to confirm the certainties which she holds or has identified.

This is going way better than I expected I say to myself, as Agnes begins her response:

I was pretty self-assured as a child, I think that came from my mother, who had already made her mark in what was then a man’s world. The self-assurance, coupled to my mothers exceptional support, meant that I was able to try many things. I painted, I played music, I wrote stories, I went on long walks. I was happy. I worked out what I enjoyed, I logged what made me feel good, also what I did not care for. I was a black and white kind of kid, everything neat and tidy, a box for each and every reason or purpose. I was never really uncertain about anything for very long. If there was something that gave a doubt to my mind then I would quickly determine, through my own reasoning, whether or not this was useful for me, whether or not it would help me to become a better person, whether or not it would help me to match up to my mum.

But, but, but, where, what, how says Georgia.

Yes, yes absolutely, yes, yes, yes says Frida.

Agnes has set the bar high, but what do we think about her. Is she so certain as her answers suggests. Do her responses allow us to see a compassionate side to Agnes?

28 Videos out of Post-Production – So what to do next.

The lockdown days of post-production are completed. Cut and paste and form and fill. Fade and merge and twirl and clip all now mean more to me. Pan and Zoom won’t ever be the same when I watch Clint Eastwood’s cowboy movies anymore, but just where do you buy those video cameras on wheels?

The book is also completed and enrolled on Amazon, but now at £5.99. They do go together, although the images are not always the same, that is the artist’s prerogative (what a horrid word) isn’t it? I have sent something to Grayson Perry, thanks to a prompt from my good friend John.

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 15.11.36

So, what to do next. Well, I will send a copy of the book to the nice folk at Lavender Barn. And I may write to David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley (don’t you just love the name). He has made a sound job of sculpture at Houghton Hall. But after that who knows, watch this space is all I can say. I suppose I should put something on Youtube as a taster so to speak, so here it is: PP Poem 1 Outward Bound


28 Videos ready for post-production, whatever that might mean…

The four days and four nights of my virtual retreat in Norfolk are over. The 28 poems are written up and the book will be available on Amazon in the coming weeks. The poems have all been recorded on video and trimmed to remove the excess footage.

Now what to do with this chunk of work, already I have been asked where is it going to go. Fortunately, because it is all software, it won’t clutter up the places which I have already cluttered up.

I read one of the poems to our Friday Morning poet’s Salon, it was well-received, although someone wanted me to change in abstensis to in absentia. I stood my ground, I rather like made-up words, isn’t that how language evolves?

Imaginary Retreats FCImaginary Retreats - Norfolk Quartet ImageImaginary Retreats - Norfolk Quartet Poem


Still no focus, but maybe something is occurring…

Several days into video recording the imaginary retreat. The book is being written, or at least typed up, at the same time as the videos are being made. Hopefully, at some stage, the whole process can be laid out as neatly as Antony Gormley has done recently for the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine.

The first poem was read out to our Friday Morning Poet’s Salon via Zoom session. I think I can safely say that it was reasonably well-received, I believe that someone said: it has that easy flowing way of someone who seems to know where he is going!

I have got as far as the end of day 2, which included a visit to St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate, where the nation’s favourite, the late Princess Diana was christened. However back to Poem 1, here it is:

Outward Bound

It is eighty miles, just about
To Dersingham
A steady Sunday afternoon drive
Check-in is from four PM

Boston, unusually
Is quiet and easily navigated
There appears to be little or no
Police presence thus far

I think to shop at Sainsbury’s Kings Lynn
But change my mind, no, not today
Instead to press on; turn up the stereo
I pull unto Lavender Barn at four-fifteen

Apparently, so my host tells me
We are on the flight path of the pink-footed geese
Also close by there is the Sandringham Estate
Although it was closed last time I called

And now that the courtesies
And bonhomie are over
I can make a pot of tea
And run a bath

For one must be adequately prepared
If one is to write productively
And that is the intention
For these few days in Norfolk

Video, Audio, Poetry Oh, how your rings tease.

I was making no headway whatsoever with the video. I rang my friend and told him: I don’t like how I look, I don’t like how I sound, I don’t like how I feel. Sympathetic and empathetic as ever he gave me some practical advice.

So I set up the long shot, I sat on the slant, and I became ten times my real self; to read with confidence, to express myself just a little outrageously. And it worked, or rather it is working, if only I can work out how to adjust the focus and the depth of field on the Panasonic HC-VXF1…

Gobbledegook may be too strong a word, but impenetrable would be hard to fight against. Here I am two days later still finding it impossible to reach the focus tab, which the manual clearly shows…

Touch (left side)/ (right side) of on the Touch Menu to switch the operation icons.
≥ It is also possible to switch the operation icons by sliding the Touch Menu right or left while
touching it.
Touch Menu

Recording Mode
You can change the operation icons to display. (l 45)
Displayed only in Intelligent Auto Plus Mode (l 67) and [Miniature Effect]/[8mm movie]/ [Silent movie] of the Creative Control Mode (l 67).
(Forthe WXF1 / VXF1 ) /E (Forthe VX1 / V800 )
Displayed in the following situations:
Displayed only in [Time Lapse Rec] of the Creative Control Mode (l 67), HDR Movie Mode (l 53), Scene Mode (l 71), Manual Mode (l 79), FULL HD Slow Motion Video Mode (l 73, 77), 4K Photo Mode* (l 77), Stop Motion Animation Assist Mode (l 78)
(For the WXF1 / VXF1 / VX1 )
When Slow & Quick Video Mode or Slow Zoom Mode in Cinema Like Effect Mode is in use (l 72, 74)
(Forthe WXF1 / VXF1 / VX1 )
Displayed in the thumbnail view of 4K MP4 scenes. (l 37)
Playback Mode
 
Elsewhere in the manual what appears to be a simpler process, yet still thus far unmanageable, or unnavigable by a wretch like me (is wretch too strong a word, or even the right word.)

Manual Focus adjustment
If auto focusing is difficult due to the conditions, then use Manual Focus.
≥ Change these menu settings to use MF assist. MENU : [RECORD SETUP] # [MF ASSIST] # [ON]

1 2
When using WXF1 / VXF1
Press the camera function button to change the manual ring setting to
[FOCUS]. (l 79)
Press the AUTO/MANUAL button to change to manual focus.
≥ MF appears on the screen.
3 Rotate the Manual ring to adjust the focus.
The parts that are focused are colored. (Peaking display) The normal screen returns approximately 2 seconds after you finish bringing the subject into focus.
≥ To return to auto setting, press the AUTO/MANUAL
button or change the Recording Mode to the Intelligent Auto Mode. (l 63)

Any help would be much appreciated from the VXF1 experts!


Retreat through the imagination.

I am on retreat in Norfolk. Dersingham to be specific. I am staying at Lavender Barn. Yesterday I visited Houghton Hall. The video by James Turrel was the highlight. A really good expose to give the poet some ideas if writing a poem about light.

The writing is being well fed by this time in a different space, or in new places. I did make it to Sandringham. Another move into an atmosphere and ambience way outside my normal field of vision.

Before and after shot, the entrance to the expansive avenue of trees is now opened up by Richard Long’s Sculpture of upturned tree stumps entitled White Deer Circle. Apparently, on a beach not far away, there was a buried sculpture in a very similar style!

Wabi-Sabi Photography.

Once again I am indebted to The Artist’s Rule, for on week 7 of this book I am told about wabi-sabi (I do have such a book somewhere). Essentially it is about imperfection, and as the theme for the week in question is Humility, then it by no means seems inappropriate.

As usual in Artist’s Rule, there are words to read, and words to write before one gets to the pure playing part. So I have written my understanding of humility and how I figure it in my life. I have also written a short poem based on a blessing, and again that may figure in the coming days, or it may not.

But then to the dessert course, yes the jam roly-poly of the day. We are asked to take some wabi-sabi photographs! I am elated. I am no great shakes as a photographer, so how good is it when my goal is imperfection. Here goes:

Oh, and the pen didn’t work by the way, that’s why it figured a couple of times. The rest of the shots were Au Naturelle so to speak, not an inch of staging believe me, life just as it is in these times, without visitors to tidy up for.

Obedience, Stability, Conversion (The Artist’s Rule)

A few pages back in the book, and a few days back in the life I was given the author’s response to what the terms Obedience, Stability, Conversion meant. For each heading, the writer gave two or three pages of explanation or definition.

Now, on this new day, with zero preparation I am asked to write what these things mean to me, and to write in a stream of consciousness style, with no correction or editing, simply to let pour my instant reactions and reflections. These are they:


I am at my best when the task is to obey myself; I do see the blue skies, the red sunrises, the yellow sunflowers, the sensual shadows of bob-cut hair. I obey the desire to find peace, calm, stillness, love. Also the urges for passion; sexuality and sensuality of past and present times. I walk through meadows and on beaches; I taste the salted sea and feel the Mistral blow through my hair.



Today I sit, listen to The Temple of the Heart. My meditation quietens what otherwise might be a restlessness. In these strangely quiet times I am more than a survivor, I take joy from the beauty of the moment of these moments. I am asked to stay at home, and I will stay at home, I am here now aren’t I.



I am driven, always I have sought growth. First it was economic growth, to allow me to change and improve my circumstances. Next came technical and academic growth, to put myself on an equal or higher footing than those who I was aiming to compete with. Finally I have moved into personal and spiritual growth, to allow me to both explore myself and understand the various societies in which I already am, or would wish to be, embedded. This exploration confirms, and doubts, my faith in myself in more or less equal measure.


Next, I was asked to select lines from these texts and arrange them in an order to construct a French Pantoum poem, a form or style which I had not come across before but which reminded me of my Box Poems structure from a couple of years ago. I will leave you to work out the Pantoum methodology for here is my poem:

The French Pantoum Poem

I am at my best when my task is to obey myself; I see the blue                                           skies, the red sunrises, the flowers
Also the urges for passion: sexuality and sensuality
of past and present times
I am more than a survivor, I take joy from the beauty
of the moment of the moments
I am asked to stay at home; I will stay at home,                                                                              I am here now aren’t I
Also the urges for passion: sexuality and sensuality
of past and present times
To put myself on an equal or higher footing than                                                                      those who I was aiming to compete with
I am asked to stay at home; I will stay at home,                                                                                   I am here now aren’t I
This exploration confirms, and doubts, my faith in                                                                     myself in more or less equal measure
To put myself on an equal or higher footing than                                                                             those who I was aiming to compete with
I am more than a survivor, I take joy from the beauty
of the moment of the moments
This exploration confirms, and doubts, my faith in                                                                    myself in more or less equal measure
I am at my best when my task is to obey myself; I see the blue                                                   skies, the red sunrises, the flowers