Different challenges work for different people. I’m always super-impressed by Jan Wells, for example, the local lady who does a 2 minute beach clean daily just because she does and she can. She originally set herself a challenge of doing it for a year, but has now got into the habit and continued. She posts her pictures daily to promote awareness. I thought of her yesterday when carrying smelly fishing net across the beach! No glory, no publicity, just a daily beach clean to keep things good for the environment and others. Thank you to Jan.
Others set themselves difficult tasks involving amazing strength and resilience. My son shocked me last year by training for and walking up Kilimanjaro. This was the once teenage boy who developed quite a good relationship with the sofa and his Playstation. Some people learn a new skill, some write novels, some do good for the community; many do a mixture.
Recently, I’ve been feeling a tad culturally jaded. Bude is absolutely wonderful in so many way, but I occasionally ache for an art gallery or three, lectures by learned people, discussions, debates, live theatre, ballet, opera, film, literary houses and massive libraries. I can’t keep racing off to do this (time, money) so using my mind is the next best thing.
Bude & Beyond, for example, is in my humble view good and I enjoy back giving to the community, but we are not talking demanding writing here. I tried watercolour painting, but lost my mojo for that when my mother died, having realised many months ago that I’ll never have that artistic special something; it’s just a bit of occasional fun and that is fine.
What floats my boat and what I truly miss is studying (can’t afford the fees or the travel these days). Learning about literature, especially, at an intense level is something I find very personally fulfilling. Many wouldn’t, I accept that, but I do. So, I’ve now decided to make time every day to read decent books again. I’ve just started Lady Chatterley’s Lover, amazed by the incredibly evocative descriptions of the industrialised east Midlands. He is a stunning novelist.
The other challenge (which I know to most people will not sound like a challenge but for the time poor, it is) is to find a meaningful poem each day for my new Facebook page, A Poem a Day or Something, to share with those who are interested. This means I am reading poetry again (which is wonderful) but also spreading the word in a regular and methodical manner. At heart, I am a disseminator! In a year’s time, I will have read 365 poems, some familiar and revisited, some not! Wow.
If people will look at poetry in bite-sized chunks, then my mission will be complete. Recently, I undertook a Future Learn course on Literature and Mental Health. This reading for wellbeing course, headed by Jonathan Bate and Paula Byrne was an excellent freebie which I would recommend to anyone. The next one starts in October.
What I learned from that is that poetry is good for the soul. Try it! Or tell us all about your own inspiration.