How a Bathtub Can Change Your Life (with thanks to Rishi Dastidar)

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One of my favourite books about learning to be a good writer is the marvellous How to be a Poet. It’s utterly nonsense free, useful and down to earth. I love it. Chapter twenty-three has the wonderful title “How a Bathtub Can Change Your Life”. I cried a bit when I read this chapter, not because it’s sad, but because it captures how I feel so beautifully. I also laughed, especially at the description of what happens when any poet starts to talk about their work. Then cried a bit again because it’s true.

Rishi also talks about copywriting as being a great job for a poet, which is handy.  I genuinely love doing the work I do. A dear friend said recently “I know it’s not your dream writing, but it’s good to be doing it” and I understand what she meant, but doing this kind of  is my dream. Writing anything is a joy to me. Getting paid to write things is incredibly useful. Having it as a main job, that works around M.E., rather than shoehorning it into a career that never really suited me is fantastic. I love words whether reading, hearing or singing them. I’m one of those people who’ll read the back of a ketchup bottle or cornflake packet just because it’s there ( cornflakes contain 5mg Niacin if you’re interested).

A big part of learning to be a better writer has been getting over the snobbery I had. I thought the only good books were the classics, or serious literary tomes, and that a good piece of writing was characterised by how many times the reader had to pick up a dictionary because I knew such terribly clever words. Long words are delicious, but if they’re just used to show off  they’re like a plate of nouvelle cuisine when all you want is a decent pie. Writing can be challenging and need a little exploration but it doesn’t have to be so oblique that understanding it is near impossible. I said in an earlier blog that the feeling when something I’ve written captures a thread that resonates with someone else is wonderful. I don’t need to use extravagantly clever words to do that.

On that note, it’s time to get to work.

How to be a Poet  and Ticker Tape by Rishi Dastidar can be found at Nine Arches Press

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