The Blindfold of Hope

 

The Blindfold of Hope.

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My neglected followers need an apology: The silence over past months has been deafening. We writers are used to fallow periods of doubt, fatigue, burn-out, depression, which tend to express themselves in a whinge. This will not be another whinge but some kind of awl; puncturing the inflation of self-importance, which keeps us afloat, like a blue bottle bladder on the salt seas. To ensure another stinging, mettlesome incisive contribution. Another that will sink without trace.

I am here to prick out the air of hope that inflates this persistent bubble.

Hope is the real narcissistic betrayer. The less of it there is, the more irrational its high maintenance, the stronger it grows. Like the death throes, the final gasping is more laboured and more desperate than those earlier rhythmical currents of disappointment followed by resolve. Breathe out; breathe in. Take up your pen and scribble.

There I was thinking I had come to terms without hope, hope of readers, hope of publication, I had accepted the accelerating speed of ageing and sifted out a few ‘manageable’ tasks that might be squeezed in before dementia started clacking its teeth.

Out of the blue came a letter of fulsome praise for a work I had almost forgotten writing. A seeming blast of enthusiasm (in its original sense- or so I thought) re-inflated that wrinkled bladder and set it a-sail. ‘Surely you must have been inundated with requests of this kind but might we meet? So much I want to ask.’

The_English_balloon_and_appendages_in_which_Mr._Lunardi_ascended_into_the_atmosphere_from_the_artillery_ground,_Sepr._15,_1784_LCCN2002721993.tif

Instead of the rational response ‘Nice idea, but why?’ I took wing. Well, car. Travelled some distance, well, three hours one way. Was I discouraged by horizontal pelting rain? Not a bit. Was I afraid of winds strong enough to hurl cars across the lanes of the Severn Bridge, well, yes. But hell. A man liked my book. Was interested to know more. Death had no dominion.

So the funds that might have formatted the one that might come next, was spent on a dull hotel room in windswept Wales. We did encounter one another, a man reluctant to remove his hat and an old woman carried by hope like Mary Poppins, legs flailing.

I think maybe he really did initially like the book, but I think he liked the idea of being paid to ‘re-launch’ it a little more. That was the slow rising yeast within the monologues that assured me…err… of his estimable connections, his… err… family history of building err worthy stately houses. No mention of books. ‘Books are not really my field, though I do read a lot’. He would like ( you said you could spare it) a few hundred to read it for an audio, because he was a bit short, and ‘and by the way I need you to jump start my car to get home. It’s a tad unreliable’.

That was all the fault of hope. Bastard. What ignominy! How low will hope take one?

It puts a blindfold around judgement, and twirls you around, and pushes you towards every insane sweet smell of approbation. I have circled through five such hopeful proposals. Each thought I would pay handsomely for deeper disappointment, I would grant copyright for five years; I would print for reviews; I would pay to pulp; a disappointed author is a tree dripping plums. Hold up an apron and it will fill.

But this was the final gasping expiry of hope. I hope.

Advice? Avoid hope. Call it to heel, and grind it to ashes. You can recognise it whenever you start to breathe deeply. Instead like any woman in labour, just pant, and something might be born, or not. If it is, its appetite for attention will be modest, and it will not be a blue-bottle. It may be a sprat and swim. If it sinks you might plant a garden instead.

You will avoid humiliation. Promise.Hot_Air_Balloon_at_Baughton_-_geograph.org.uk_-_548819

Author: philipparees

A writer ( mostly narrative poetry) of fiction and non-fiction. Self publisher of fiction and Involution-An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God (Runner-up Book of the Year (2013), One time builder ( Arts centre) Mother of four daughters: Companion of old man and old dog: One time gardener, lecturer, wannabe cellist, mostly enquirer of 'what's it all about', blogger and things as yet undiscovered.

16 thoughts on “The Blindfold of Hope”

  1. A painful experience indeed, dear Philippa; even to read about.

    And yet… perhaps if each person’s path is evolutionary, hope is the practical link that keeps us connected to the flow of life. I like the idea that the allure of hope is what draws us forward into the synchronicities that fulfil our lives, even in ways we didn’t anticipate.

    Bravo to You, I say!

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      1. … this snippet echoed in me during the night; Eliot. So just to share it in ‘hope’ that it might have an onward resonance xx

        I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
        For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
        For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
        But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
        Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
        So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
        Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
        The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
        The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
        Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
        Of death and birth.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ruth this is a profound thank you for the Eliot. Could not have been more apposite or more timely. Very generous of you. I must, no want to heed it. Have been chasing my tail for many months and the ‘whisper of running streams’ would be infinitely preferable. I suspect in your wonderful garden you hear them constantly!

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  2. I’m sorry that your hopes were dashed, Philippa. I wonder about the hopes I carry regarding my writing. I guess I hope that I’ve done a worthy job that satisfies my readers. That’s the major one anyway. The rest fall into the “world peace” category – would be nice, and I’m doing my part, but not counting on it. The publishing world is tough and most of us are in the same boat and it’s not a luxury yacht. Hugs.

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    1. Good to have you Diana!It kick started even this modest post so that’s something. I have been muzzled by doubt for some months. Not so much writer’s block but a kind of paralysis that could find nothing to say that merited saying. So glad you called!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know there isn’t a salve for this kind of disappointment, P. I’m sorry you had to travel so far just to endure what sounds like a rather painful interview. But you spotted the losing proposition and left, I gather, with more dignity intact than your counterpart.

    Some one told me once, when young: You don’t get what you want, you don’t get what you need, you get what you get. If I had a family crest…

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    1. Perhaps a ‘mysteryman’ has a distant vision? Yes, I got what I got and perhaps given the fact I am no longer young, I also got what I needed? It did lead to breaking my paralysing silence, and that might get better things moving! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Crunch. Intuition told me I should’ve thrown in a word of caution. Irrespective of all the opportunistic suckers out there, no writer is ever truly alone.
    There are also the unnamed crowds of our soul families. I’m just working on a post in that vein.

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    1. Thanks Ashen. Even if you had, I wonder whether I would have heeded it! I fight against cynicism because it always seems to me potentially more destructive than gullibility which only destroys oneself! I do believe the initial response was genuine ( to the book) but something else took its place at the meeting! I just ended feeling a fool!

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  5. Nice comment Joe. This was not a scam, as such, possibly the hope betrayed both ways! My possession of my perch was so fragile that a flick of a nail could have dislodged me. I have seen all the orthodox scams, but the essence of this post was self-rebuke! I realised how pitifully reduced by hope one can get, and I returned to take two days to recover enough to write this modest offering. Which was good because I wondered what might occasion a return to my few loyal friends I am in danger of forgetting.

    I must simply return to the writing and perhaps put out the three that linger unbound! Leonard Cohen has a line for every occasion! Nowadays he would be approached by a greeting card producer!

    Perhaps, in fairness, I should have mentioned a coffee break during which a bookshop bought five copies and chose to pay for them rather than ask for sale or return. That was a first. So not entirely without a flash of light through the drizzle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just with regard to the Cohen song, I was thinking of two ends to criticism, the one that limits expectations and the one that opens the clouds. Of course there are other critical voices – Cohen has set us up with an either or proposition. … Also, your “blindfold hope” post would make for a good short story told differently, where you’d have to take yourself out of the story, but I’m not sure the protagonist would be the man who liked the book or the writer, the other of course the antagonist. It might be an instructive story and in it you might find a resolution.

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      1. Yes I saw the short story potential once I regained equilibrium! It is the sort of story I love to write because the clash is always between two equally ‘valid’ points of view that turn out to be irreconcilable! It would be an instructive limbering-up exercise!

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  6. It sometimes seems that writing is writing while the rest is business which has not much to do with the text in hand. As Woody Guthrie said, “Some men will rob you with a six gun, others with a fountain pen.” Maybe the worst critic is the one who ignores.
    ‘I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
    he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
    And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
    she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”‘ (Leonard Cohen, Bird on the Wire)
    There are many useful articles and researched blogs with advice for the would be published. Here is one short one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samita-sarkar/publishing-scam-artists-h_b_11232288.html

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