In Which I Reveal My Face

No, I’m not laying aside the niqab (I never took it up), but I have long been in the habit of keeping my face off the great interwebs. Even back in the day when I had a Facebook account (which I closed around the time I started this blog) I didn’t show my face in my profile photo. (Faceless-book?)

Rudolf Rössler Dame mit Maske
Also not my face.
It is within the realm of possibility that some of you may remember my foray into the cashless economy some years ago, in which I knit a hat and scarf in return for a portrait to be painted. Thankfully, the portrait did not eventuate at the time, and I am now able to present a (cough) somewhat more mature face to the world. No novelty hat, for a start.

It has just occurred to me that I could have asked, for this week’s question, what you imagine I look like. And then I remembered that the vast majority of the blog’s followers at this new address are people who know me in real life anyway, and therefore they wouldn’t have to imagine.

But! “I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” as Mr Darcy said when Elizabeth Bennet pointed out that “if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity.”

PrideandPrejudiceCH3detail
Those of you who know me by sight already are welcome to essay a word-portrait in the comments, should you so wish, and those of you who don’t are welcome to resort to your imaginations to furnish you with material for one.

And then you are all most welcome to visit the About page (in menu above, or click here) to see the portrait which Esther Van Kuyk has created of my very own face – positively its first appearance on this or any site!

What do you think? I like it very much, myself. Especially the eyes. I know they don’t look like they’re pointing in quite the same direction –  that’s because my eyes don’t, and I particularly requested Esther to retain that quirk of appearance. One eye is looking at you, and the other… well, to be honest, the other is probably secretly reading a book. Tolle Et Lege, after all.

Goals and Incentives

Strange how memories forgotten for years can suddenly return with such intensity. This week I have been remembering a newspaper cutting I had on my wall as a girl, which was on the subject of setting and achieving goals.

I remember the paragraph which said to list What’s In It For Me – taking the pragmatic if somewhat un-altruistic view that you couldn’t set goals which only benefited others.
I remember the remarkably bad posture [straightens back] of the young people in the illustrations, who appeared to have been genetically modified with turtle DNA (and not the ninja sort, either).

But before either of these I remembered the feeling of order, perhaps even control, which the cutting gave me. I could set goals, break them down into steps, and then achieve them, at least in theory. I could accomplish things.

The accomplished lady's delight

For some reason (early exposure to the classics?) I always wanted to be accomplished. To my chagrin, I live in a modern society which does not really go in for accomplishments, and therefore gives me nothing to measure myself against (rather like modern manners).

There is of course always Miss Bingley’s definition: “no one can be really esteemed accomplished, who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.”

1819-evening-dress-Ackermanns

I have a smattering of modern languages, and my posture is at least better than the teenage turtle-mutants in the clipping. Let us draw the curtain of charity over my abilities as to the rest. I might do slightly better in Mr Darcy’s estimation (“to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading”) were it not that he expected all the rest as well. An accomplished lady of the Regency, then, I shall clearly never be.

Well, never mind. Mr Darcy isn’t a patch on the Caped Gooseberry anyway.

The resurfaced memories did make me think again about motivation and goals. While working toward a larger goal, it can sometimes be necessary to motivate oneself in the short term. Never mind what’s in it for me next year, I want to sleep now!

Carrot on a stick

Sometimes it pays to use the carrot instead of the stick, to provide yourself with a few extra incentives. For example, if I manage to write 4,000 words tomorrow, I can go and buy a new exercise book.

To be fair, I’m making a virtue of necessity in this case, as if I write 4,000 words there won’t be room in my current book for another Monday’s worth of words. But buying a new one will be enjoyable just the same.

When I finally finish the first draft of my WIP, I might buy myself one of these to celebrate.
Do you detect a certain stationery orientation in my incentives?

Pen and Paper

I admit it – I love stationery. As a child of six, I kept an envelope full of blank strips of paper in my room. They weren’t even cut straight, but there was something indefinably pleasing about them. I used to take them out and fan them through my fingers. (Weird kid? Yes. Point?)

Pens, paper, ink – I love them. And if that love can spur me on to keep writing when The End seems unimaginably far away, then even better.

What are your goals? And what are your favourite incentives? All correspondence welcomed.