Lost in Music

A poem about Music and Humanity

Music a gift as old as the hills,

pots and pans and spoons we use,

children make music with any excuse.

As children grow up we listen some more,

rock music, pop music, jazz and more,

so many genres to explore and enjoy.

We move into our teens and explore it some more,

get lost in music, culture, fashion and more,

all while building our lives soundtrack.

Then it’s out into adulthood and it changes once again,

different music added and we go get lost some more,

then eventually as we get older, we go back to what we know,

rewind the soundtrack and replay our youth,

a lifetime lost in music, what a wonderful truth.

I tried Grammarly, here is why you should too

It’s a great tool to learn how to improve your writing

Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not being paid by nor am I in anyway connected to Grammarly. I simply tried the free version and saw a huge improvement in my writing. Because of that I wanted to share.

Writing tools, they are everywhere. So is the advice on what to use. It can be confusing, there is so much information online.

As someone who started writing online recently. I resisted that advice for a long time.

Why would I want to write in a program where a computer tells you how good your writing is?

It’s a valid question.

There are people who will insist that it’s pointless and won’t help you in the long run. They believe that the computer will take over writing for you.

For the rest of us though, these free to use tools can be invaluable. Many of us who decide to write don’t have a formal education in it. Writing is hard enough without having to worry about structure and grammar all the time.

While we should edit our work without mercy. There is nothing worse than our internal editor showing up to ruin the writing process.

That’s where free writing tools come into their own. You can write in them without distraction. Knowing that when you are finished the software has run through your work. There is a list of tips there that you can action to start the editing process.

This approach works for me, for two reasons:

1. I love a long sentence. These programs train me to keep it short and structured.
2. I struggle with Grammar, if I don’t have help then my writing is hit and miss.

For structure I use another program called Hemmingway which I wrote about here:Trying HemmingwayA game changer for writers?medium.com

Once I’m done writing the story and reviewing it in Hemmingway. I move onto Grammarly.

Once that review is done, I move onto Medium and format it there. The last step is that I then read out loud, make any changes, and publish.

How Grammarly helps me in this process is:

– It gives me suggestions to clean up my spelling, grammar, and punctuation
-It gives direction to the clarity of my writing. The direction, the engagement, and the clarity of what’s on the page come from the suggestions provided by the software.

As a free resource (there is a premium option) it’s fantastic. I don’t know of any other resource, that helps me as much in my writing.

Over time, my writing has improved. My understanding of grammar and punctuation has also increased and it’s helped me find my voice.

As a result, I spend less time using these programs to edit, which leaves me more time for writing. The engagement in my writing has increased and as a result, I find myself motivated to write even more.

If you have read the advice about these tools and thought it was all just hype. I would say take another look and spend 5 minutes exploring them.

I think you would be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer and the lessons we can learn from using them.

The Old Devil Diver

A short story from the deep

Days spent at sea with nothing to do. The pain of a sailor’s life.
No surprise then that stories, mischief, and mayhem pass the time.
It was on such a day that “the old devil diver” made an appearance on the C.S Lewis.

A sturdy old longliner steaming out of Aberdeen. She was heading for the Arctic fishing grounds north of Iceland.

New to the crew was the apprentice young Davie, on his first trip at sea.

Five days into eight-day steam and the crew were looking for mischief. As so often happens with youngsters Davie was a willing victim.

Keen to make a good impression on both the skipper and crew. Between long hours spent being seasick, he had spent his time trying to learn from the crew.

Now he was finally getting his sea legs. Hanging off the skipper and crews every word he was soaking up everything around him. Savoring the sights, the sounds, and the experience.

Not everyone was quite so keen. As usual, having a kid onboard was a pain in the ass. Yes, in the end, he would become an asset. But the first trip was always the worst. A heady mix of seasickness and enthusiasm.

Enough to drive you mad thought the skipper. Still, you couldn’t ignore the boy’s enthusiasm. Maybe you could dent it though.

As the young man headed below to deal with seasickness once again, a plan was forming in the skipper’s mind.

In the galley, the skipper told the crew of his plan over tea and cigarettes.

The legend of the old devil diver was born.

Like any good ‘wind up’ as they called it. They would have to start out slowly and build up to a terrifying but hilarious ending.

The next morning over breakfast it started. Little looks amongst the crew over the table. Small pieces of information shared. Lots of shaking heads, basically anything to build the tension and get the boy hooked.

Of course, the plan worked and after much hard thought, the mate took Davie aside. He told him the tale of the “Old devil diver”. These things were all superstition and rubbish he said. But sailors being superstitious people some of the crew believed the legend.

50 or so years ago in the 1880s, a boat had needed repairs at sea. The skipper was an awful man, tough on the crew and the alcohol. He was hated but he was also a diver.

As he jumped overboard in his gear to repair the boat the crew had cut his airlines and rope. The body never was found of course. But it was said that this wicked old skipper now haunted ships in the area, looking for his crew. They called him the “Old devil diver”. There were lots of reports about the crew going missing in the night. Only to reappear talking nonsense about a diver coming to kill them all.

As the day wore on, the tension rose. They were 2 days away from the grounds with lots to do in preparation. As the skipper tried to get the crew to work they seemed more and more distracted.

Having run out of patience the skipper decided to try and use the boy Davie. He couldn’t be any more useless than the rest of the crew.

Davie delighted spent the next several hours as the skipper’s best friend. Being shown how to set the compass, mend the lines, and prepare the bait. The afternoon and early evening passed in a blur.

As darkness descended the tension rose again. Over dinner, all the talk was of the diver.

As the crew broke up and went to bed, the skipper had another job for Davie.

“Davie I need you to go into the forepeak where we keep all the fishing gear and get me out the spare shackle.”

Delighted again to be of use, Davie grabbed a paraffin lamp and went below deck. At the front of the boat in the forepeak, he found an old-line, hooks, and barrels, in fact, a real mess.

As time passed he thought he could feel a presence in the room and some noise. It couldn’t be, it must be his imagination.

s time passed he again thought he heard maybe a grunt. No couldn’t be he said to himself. Just then he felt a light pressure on this ankle. Thinking it was caught up in some line, he turned to free it.

Only the sight that met him was otherworldly. No, it couldn’t be, but as the grunting got louder and the pressure on his ankle increased it became clear.

The old devil diver was real. Not only was it real but it had a hold of him.

He kicked and kicked as the old diver grabbed him tighter. After some time he got free, smashing the paraffin lamp in the process.

Running back down the dark corridors of the ship screaming as he ran. Davie fell over tools, hit his head on beams, but nothing could stop him. He had to get away and alert the crew.

He managed with some difficulty to get to the safety of the wheelhouse. “What the bloody hell happened to you?” asked the skipper.

Out of breath Davie started to tell his story. The crew listened intently with straight faces and serious concern.

“Sounds like you had a lucky escape their young man,” said one of the crew.

“Where’s Danny the Bosun,” asked another of the crew.

“He must’ve been taken when I got away,” said Davie full of concern.

It was clear what needed to happen. The crew would have to search the boat.

As they got out onto the deck, they got their first sight of the diver. As he came closer it seemed to be shouting and taking off his helmet.

In the half-light of the evening, he looked a little like Danny thought Davie.

As he turned around he to tell the skipper, the crew were all holding onto each other howling with laughter.

Davie realized what had happened. As youngsters often do, he took great offense. Refusing to speak to the skipper for the rest of the trip.

A week later though and he was back at sea again. All previous crimes against him forgotten. Dreaming of the day when he was in the wheelhouse and that old devil diver was loose on his boat…

My old friend jet lag

A poem about long haul travel

Zones in time,

there’s 37,

that’s just fine.

Jet lag, Jet lag, Jet lag,

your the villain of the skies

downside of travel I despise.

Each time zone is a blessing,

taken one by one each day,

but when jumped by aero plane,

the effects are here to stay.

Jet lag, Jet lag, Jet lag,

your the villain of the skies

downside of travel I despise.

There are ways to beat him,

I have to say that’s true,

but when you long haul travel,

jet lag’s waiting there for you!


A poem about the world

Time is a friend,

from the beginning to the end,

sometimes slow, sometimes fast,

a companion to the last.

Through the ups,

through the downs,

clock face moving round and round.

It’s a constant you can’t chase,

take it’s value from watch face,

creation of the human race.

Whether rich or poor,

time comes marching through the door,

you can’t stop it’s constant march,

life’s a blast but not meant to last.

Atyrau on the Silk Road

Another Poem About the Silk Road

There’s a town twixt Europe and Asia,

where the Ural river splits the land,

a bridge of golden promise,

where the silk road stands so proud.

History all around us,

centuries old trading post,

today’s its the home of black gold,

on the shimmering Caspian sea.

If you want to explore its rich history,

it’s only a plane ride away,

beautiful, rich land and cultural,

Atyrau, Kazakhstan is its name.

The silk road

A poem about the historic silk road

A road and a story as old as time,

Asia and Europe crossing a line,

bridging divides between people and culture,

crisscrossed with danger, predators and vultures.

Dusty and hot, snowy and cold,

lined with silk and incense and gold.

Through valley high and river deep,

the road is so long and no time to sleep,

goods to buy, to sell and exchange,

travelling by horse days out on the range.

Riches in person, in life and in spirit,

life’s an adventure, go out and live it.

The four seasons

A poem about the ever changing face of the earth

The summer breeze, those autumn leaves,

The winter’s ice and snows so deep,

The first breath of spring, and the life it brings,

The four seasons of earth, the agents of change

Getting Creative — The Brave Writing Choices

Experimentation comes with risks, but its the only way to improve

The first brave choice any writer makes is publishing.

What started for me as a series of listicles or even worse dumping thoughts on a page, has taken a turn.

I’ve realized that to improve I need to experiment.

If I stick to what I know and I’m comfortable with I’ll never improve.

This is not about money or followers or stat’s, I enjoy writing and want to be the best writer I can be.

That means being brave which in my case means trying to be creative.

You see my first love is non-fiction.

As much as I enjoy fiction, I’m a binary kind of person.

I can thank being an engineer for that.

To get out of my comfort zone I need to embrace other forms of writing.

Today that experiment was poetry, which I must say I enjoyed.

Something I would never have imagined myself writing.

The opportunity to experiment was there and I’m glad that I took it.

What’s next?

That’s a good question and I’m not too sure.

Getting out beyond my comfort zone is a must if I want to improve.

Writing in different styles and genres. Improving my editing skills. These are all areas I need to delve into and its scary.

Until I started writing I had no idea how intimidating it could be.

The brave the choice to publish, how steep the learning curve is and how big the world is for a writer.

If your willing to be brave and experiment there are a whole world of possibilities.

Conventional wisdom says we should find a niche and stick to it to be successful.

That might be true but the world is full of brave choices.

They almost always lead to something amazing and unexpected.

The first brave choice as a writer is always hitting the publish button, the second?

Well that’s up to you.