Baratynsky by Varlam Shalamov

	Three Robinson Crusoes
in an abandoned shack,
we found a real find -
a single, battered book.

We three were friends
and we quickly agreed
to share out this treasure
as Solomon decreed.

The foreword for cigarette paper:
one friend was delighted
with a gift so unlikely
he feared he was dreaming.

The second made playing cards
from the notes at the back.
May his play bring him pleasure,
every page bring him luck.

As for my own cut -
those precious jottings,
the dreams of a poet
now long forgotten -

it was all that I wanted.
How wisely we'd judged.
What a joy to set foot in
a forgotten hut.

by Варлам Тихонович Шаламов (Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov)
(1949)
translated by Robert Chandler

Interesting extra: The poem refers to Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky (Евге́ний Абра́мович Бараты́нский ) was lauded by AlexanderPushkin as the finest Russian elegiac poet. After a long period when his reputation was on the wane, Baratynsky was rediscovered by Russian Symbolism poets as a supreme poet of thought..

What To Do When You Have Made Too Many Notes

I kept notes on my phone and never typed them up only to find out I cannot transfer them via Bluetooth, email, messaging or text. What to do? They are all full note documents which are about 1500 characters each and I have generated on average 4 per day for the past 5 months! I tried typing them out but that involves having to constantly tap the screen so it doesn’t shutdown. If it does then the entire Notes programme reverts to its default, sending me to the top of the list, to the newest entries, and I have to spend 30 seconds scrolling all the way down again and finding where I left off. So what to do?

Use a DSLR camera and photo, then scroll down while keeping the last line on the screen, photo, then scroll again, then photo, ad nauseam. The first set of images numbering somewhere in the region of 500 shots added up to about 1.5GB of data. Obviously once I type them up this will be far less but for the time being it is a step in the right direction.

With them off my phone hopefully it will not drain the battery as quickly… no that’s not the reason for this spring cleaning. I have a bad habit of making notes but not writing them up. I have scraps of paper from the last three years which have probably lost all meaning by now.

If I clear my phone will it clear my mind? No. But it will ensure I do not look at them during the day. Not discarded but at least placed where they will not weigh me down. A catharsis through clearing my record keeping.

Tomorrow I will photo all the scraps of paper – Held in a see through A4 carry case along with pieces of high quality 300gsm paper sheets and notebooks of previous years (including one from 2012 whose contents I wrote up in an early blog post on here should you wish to look https://ramblingatthebridgehead.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/the-faux-wisdom-and-miscellany-of-a-partially-filled-2012-notebook/ ) on a chair which has for the past year served more as a storage zone than a seat.

Monday I will sort out my paperwork – Presently spilling out of a filing box as if a small non-flammable bomb had exploded at its base.

Tuesday I will sort out the table in the corner of the room where I have put numerous brochures, programmes, pamphlets and leaflets from every event I have been to in the past ten years and many I never ended up attending in the end – A wicker basket, won from a Harrods contest, holds them all in check. If you have ever seen the artistry some people have in maximizing their one allotted bowl of salad at a restaurant buffet constructing fom that simple base a cyclopean tower ike structure defying all logic and yet in no risk of structural failure then you know how I have ended up creating a massively overloaded, blossoming flower like, paperwork mass billowing out from the corner table where it has been growing for over a decade undisturbed yet nurtured.

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I have been too busy to write them up properly in all these years. A positive to take from that is I have been too busy living a life to do so.

All these image copies will of course take up a lot of space if I don’t go and crop them but ultimately it will save physical space in the house. Although it goes without saying I will further back these records up by copying them to an external hard drive. So in one way I am getting rid of them but in another they will loom there awaiting the day I return to them and find they were all a waste of time.

But what are these notes about? Ideas, turns of phrase, thoughts, story ideas, observations, trying to better guide my future self about certain people’s most common type of behaviour so I don’t keep finding myself always giving them the benefit of the doubt or condemning them along with other miscellaneous matters. Does it really matter what they are about? They mean nothing to anyone except me (unless the person looking is naturally inquisitive or nosey). When there are entire sites like Pintrest focused solely on ‘pinning’ things as if to make a note of them for future reference it seems nothing odd to be ‘old school’ and actually have such things in the real world.

It is a long task but in the end I hope it provides catharsis. Better this than burning all my worldly belongings no matter how alleviating and romanticized that idea may be to people who are at no risk of it happening to them. I hope it will be a cathartic experience. I am not sure if I am an enigma or an open book.

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The Faux Wisdom And Miscellany Of A Partially Filled 2012 Notebook

In 2012 I decided to start writing a haiku a day in a pocket size, faux leather bound, notebook. I quickly stopped this and did not use the notebook again until the end of the year. By then it was just random turns of phrase or odd thoughts.
Therefore these scribbled notes mean nothing or if they did once upon a time I have clearly abandoned them and so put will put them here so they may be of some use…


In Case of Emergency Please Inform: 999‘ – is what I wrote on the information page. This makes perfect sense. I have no one who could come and help. There are people nearby I know but they would not come. Therefore I must take precautions in everyday life as only those obligated would aid me and even then begrudgingly.

26/11/11:
Friends enjoy each other
Not ‘out of sight out of mind’
Gone by Tomorrow

27/11/11:
Narratives fill day
Staged laughter of paid actors
Hollow joy and mirth

28/11/11:
Screaming Winds and Rains
The year coming to an end now
Depression sinks in

29/11/11:
The assassin dead
Who will lead them from now on?
Templars will find out

30/11/11:
Dead days of the year
From Christmas until New Year’s
A cold sombre fear

31/11/11:
BBC Breakfast
This year’s obituaries
The final send off

07/01/12:
There’s too much to do
The stress is corroding me
I died long ago

15/01/2012:
Narratives half heard
Always interrupted yet
See it tomorrow

16/01/12:
Tooth deviated
No damage so no treatment
Good health yet ugly

18/09/12:
I would if I could, but I can’t so I shan’t

24/01/12:
They would rather lose limbs than lose face

25/01/12:
If rules are not consistent then they are pointless

01/10/12:
The homoeroticism of Sports:

“No, no, fair doos…he kicked a ball about a manicured field and we all worshipped him like a demigod.”

02/10/12:
“Aye good bloke. I ____ed the corpse at the funeral.”
“Aye we all ____ed it before then. Nothing special like.”

[unknown date due to being on a scrap of paper]
Everyone is in purgatory earning release just as acting on stage is a transitional act.

05/11/12:
A galloping gorilla.

06/11/12:
This is not a love story. It is only a tale of romance.
“Do not lock them in that room, it shall become their tomb!”

27/11/12:
Irony is that the superhero Ironman can afford to pay someone else to do his ironing for him so doesn’t bother himself.


Even before knowing who Daniil Kharms was I apparently had some urge to keep notebooks filled with ridiculous comments and miscellany. Admittedly this is nothing compared to his works and is the most bare bones of the note books I filled due to the long period of not using it during that year. The others, not that I have dug them out, are probably far more peculiar and eclectic… It all seems very dull to me though. These are past thoughts I discarded and only now put here as otherwise I would have posted another morose entry about how miserable life is. I am Eeyore and Marvin the Paranoid Android incarnate.