On my desktop I have a file titled To Do List AUGUST.

That’s because I belong to a species of human beings known as listmakers. It’s not a bad species. They are never ever listless.

The list on the desktop varies in length. Just now it comprises 24 items. It will never become a list poem. (I espouse lists, not list poems.)

I add and remove things to this list daily. In fact, just now I added eight things just because I started to think about what I needed to do today in addition to what was already on the list.b2ap3_thumbnail_MAILSHOTONE.jpg

However, seven items of the 24 have been on the list all summer. Two involve having cups of coffee with friends, or writing reviews, or whole publications.

An interesting (to me) aspect of lists is how all the items look the same size. But individually some are much bigger than others. A great advantage of a list, though, is that deleting a quick item (like ‘make dentist appointment’), removes a significant proportion of the string. It shortens the list just as much as, say, ‘write autobiography’.

Five items on my current list are connected with the Blame Montezuma! anthology (there were eight yesterday, which is cheering). But I have photographed the chocolate fish and added them to the webpage. I have designed and ordered the badges. I have ordered and received the chocolate tasting buttons for the event at the Conway Hall on September 6th. I have sent out the copies already requested (though not the sample copies to shops.) Have I mentioned how the first 25 website orders will get free fish? But they won’t go out till Wednesday because I don’t pick up the fish till Wednesday (it’s on my list).

Only one item on the August list has to do with the garden. It looks small. ‘Do garden.’ But it is big.

When August ends, I will save the list to the ‘To Do’ list folder (2014) and rename it To Do List SEPTEMBER and save back to the desktop. There is a system to all this.

I shouldn’t have started thinking about the list. The act of thinking has caused me to add two more items. No, three.

Also I’ve just realised that writing this blog isn’t even on the list. That means I need to add that too so I can have the pleasure of deleting it later. Oh – I’ve just thought of another thing. Posting the mail. That’s 28.

Item 28 involves a car and filling several postboxes. The photographs with this blog are what’s going into the postboxes.

Inside the envelopes, there are flyers and postcards and a newsletter. For every publication, I make a flyer. Four of those flyers were on the list last week, but I removed them when they went to Robert at Dolphin press. I hope the flyers are nice things in and of themselves: they try to be. They have a sample poem on them and order details – because we are also desperate to sell poetry here. (It’s not edible and you can’t sit on it.)

You could think of all this HappenStance activity as an admirable occupation. Or you could think of it as crazy. Why the hive of industry? Why the flying flyers? Why the persistent communication with four hundred subscriber/readers?

Poetry. That stuff. Once I just wrote it. Now I write it, and write about it, and print it, and publish it. And finally, the most difficult bit of all, peddle it. I am not a member of the salesperson species. I am, in fact, a fully-trained understater (as well as a listmaker). And I have never ever been good at making money, though I can make a number of other things, lists being only one.

You don’t need to know any of this. But if you’re one of the 400 subscribers, an envelope will reach you on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. All you need to do is open it, read the contents, and buy something.

Then enough money may arrive here to print the next publication. Which would be good. Or not; depending on whether all this is admirable or crazy. It could be both.

Oh! A semi-colon got in there. I must be weakening. Time to cross ‘write blog’ off list.






You’re getting obsessed with chocolate.

No, I’m not.b2ap3_thumbnail_CHOCS.JPG

Yes, you are. You’ve been staring at those chocolate pictures on screen all day.

Not all day. I wrote the flyers for the two new pamphlets and the press release for Montezuma and did the bio pages for Ruth and Tom on the website and the August competition. And I made two lists, wrote a letter to Tony, several emails, all of the ironing and emptied four kitchen cupboards ready for tomorrow when the Men come.

Well, what are you staring at right now? It’s that chocolate thing AGAIN.

I’m making the postcard.

Postcard? How much chocolate stuff do we need?

I don’t know. But it’s fun, isn’t it?

Fun. Two thousand pamphlets sitting in the bedroom unsold and she’s talking about fun. And what are those things?

Templates for the choc-lit badges.


Bands have them. And magnets. I thought it’d be nice to do choc-lit fridge magnets.b2ap3_thumbnail_MONTEZUMA_smaller.jpg

Eight boxes of chocolate books under the stairs and you’re talking about magnets. Magnets. So when do we get to SELL any of them?

I can’t put them in the shop until Sophie’s done the fish. And the bookmarks. But I’ve done the product page. Or nearly. And Sarah’s thinking how to set up the fish ‘special offer’.

Fish? Special offer?

The Pittenweem chocolate fish. I thought the first 25 orders could get free fish. Sophie makes chocolate shards too. Which would have been nice, but I thought fish.

I thought we were trying to make money. Not give things away.

Well, sort of. The superior chocolate fish are an incentive. The orders will come flocking in.

Like the one order for one pamphlet that flooded in this morning?

Yes. But more-so.

b2ap3_thumbnail_BADGE.jpgIt’s nearly nine o’clock, you know. Stuff chocolate. When’s dinner? And what the f*** is that  music? Sounds like Jamie with a ukelele.

It is Jamie with a ukelele.

So what’s that about?

It’s a chocolate song.

A chocolate SONG?