Another attempt at disentanglement from Facebook. Tacit collusion with Zuckerberg hypocrisy and the overall cynicism at the heart of the Facebook process is the larger context and a growing disillusionment with my self-created role as the well-patronised  curator of a wide range of re-posted material against that of the largely ignored sharer of my own poetry is the personal dimension.  

The former is an individual reflection of a currently widening sense of anger and disgust. The latter sense is, of course, entirely subjective, but it’s been accumulating for some time. It seems that I can manage the curation function effortlessly whilst failing almost entirely to generate a similar level of reader interest (if, inevitably, from a narrower constituency) as is stimulated by my poetry peers. At a time when I’m trying very hard to revive my ability to write at all, this indifference is discouraging, even disheartening. 

I’ll continue to post material to this blog, even though its tiny reach will have very few people reading any of it. But when I shut down the Patteran Pages and then subsequently, after a break, set up Sisyphus Ascending, I knew that this would be the case. The season of the slow-grow blog is long passed and I lost such momentum that I had left even as I attempted to sustain the Patteran Pages during the rise of the ‘fast-food’ social media. Sisyphus Ascending will operate best as an archive, maintained for my own satisfaction. Not an ideal state of being for one whose original motivation way back in the early noughties was to share communication within a wide and vital community of fellow bloggers. But ‘these are the rigs of the time, me boys, these are the rigs of the time’!

As for the poetry, that will form the core of what appears on these pages. I believe that I’ve managed to re-locate the deep current on which I was able to draw before my nearly two-year period of virtual silence and so that must bring its intrinsic rewards as before and I must satisfy myself with that.

As for Facebook, at this insomniac point at 02.30 on Monday morning I haven’t a clue as to what action or inaction lies ahead. Certainly the overwhelming desire is to shut down completely and return to the old analogue world. But, but…

About Dick Jones

I'm a post-retirement Drama teacher, currently working part-time. I have a grown-up son and daughter, three grandchildren and three young children from my second marriage. I write - principally poetry but prose too, both fitfully published. My poetry collection Ancient Lights is published by Phoenicia Publishing (www.phoeniciapublishing.com) and my translation of Blaise Cendrars' 'Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France' (illustrated by my friend, the artist, writer and long-time blogger Natalie d'Arbeloff) is published by Old Stile Press (www.oldstilepress.com). I play bass guitar & bouzouki in the song-based acoustic/electric trio Moorby Jones, playing entirely original material. https://www.facebook.com/moorbyjones?ref=aymt_homepage_panel http://www.moorbyjones.net/) https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=MOORBY+JONES spotify:artist:07MDD5MK9MnRGSEZwbsas9 I have a dormant blog with posts going back to 2004 at Dick Jones' Patteran Pages - http://patteran.typepad.com - and I'm a radio ham. My callsign is G0EUV
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    The Facebook thing is a bit like the NRA situation in America. It’s got too big for its shoes and most people who’re opposed to it realise any action they take will have no real effect so why bother? Standing up for your principles is all well and good but if we all quit Facebook (by “all” I suppose I mean you and me and all our artistically-inclined friends) where will we go? Back to blogging? That’ll never happened. We all exhausted ourselves writing blogs and trying to keep up with what other people were writing. There was a time I subscribed to some 200 blogs and made a real effort to read them all and add some kind of significant comment. I couldn’t do that now and frankly I wouldn’t try because much of what I read was writing for the sake of writing. Even the handful of hangers-on I try to keep up with sometimes feel like that. I scan Facebook two or three times a day. Very little goes in but it’s last refuge of most of my online friendships. I could go back to being alone and just getting on with it. It wasn’t so hard. If anything all the Internet did was build up my hopes and then dash them to pieces.

    I too am not writing much but I am reading. I’m waiting on a beta reader getting back to me with her comments on Left but she’s having a personal crisis and it’s not as if anyone’s crying out to read my new novel. I know she’s read it which is something. And assuming she doesn’t find any major bugs it’ll be off to the next beta reader and a wait of however long he takes. So I’m reading. And sticking to novellas and short novels—I’m having a crack at Mary by Nabokov at the moment—because I don’t have the patience for anything longer. I did have a nice spurt of poems at the end of last year but nothing much bar ideas that refuse to go anywhere so far this year. And some of them are very good but simply refuse to get out of the egg.

    As I’ve said to you before I do keep reading your blog even if I can’t think of anything much to say. Sometimes after reading I save a post to Evernote with the intention of looking at it again only to discover my note a year later and by that time it’s just too easy to delete it and move on. You can also be comforted by the fact that when you’re up all night so am I. I rarely sleep longer than a couple of hours at night these days although I have been sleeping longer during the day which is fine until I have an appointment with a normal person. I’m due a lunch date with my daughter this week and a part of me really can’t be bothered dropping her an e-mail but I’m a dutiful sort and I will and irrespective of how little sleep I get that day I’ll be there on time. It’s a pity you and I don’t live closer. Lunch a couple of times a year would be nice. And quite enough to reassure us we’re not alone. Well we are. But we’re not alone being alone.

  2. Dick Jones says:

    With you all the way through that first paragraph, Jim. And, of course, the point about taking a stand in principle being something of an empty gesture has substance. Yes, we could switch banks to the Co-op and tug our dosh away from the hands of the armaments manufacturers and Big Pharma, but then we discover that the Co-op’s Paul Flowers snorts coke off the bums of ladies of the night or whatever and there we are back on the pavement with our pristine principles in their increasingly battered brown paper bag… Well, you get what I mean! It’s a grubby old world and you can’t pass through it without touching the sides. And as for the dear dead days of those stately blogs all in full sail – no one saw the advent of the turbo-charged social media bearing down…

    Does the beta reader thing work? Best, of course, to have a warm-blooded, well-disposed scrutiniser. I let you down before because of the sudden advent (I had about a week’s notice) of 18-months full-time work, which turned out to be every bit as soul-sucking (although occasionally soul-enhancing) as I expected. Things are not so very different now – part-time classroom, but also teaching one-to-one Drama lessons through the week. Happy as a long-term admirer to read at least extracts of anything, if it might help to cast light from a different angle and there isn’t a yesterday deadline. As for the poems, crack the fucking shells! I only started getting back into any kind of production by forcing myself to sit in a corner regularly with a fine-nib fibre pen and my old notebook.

    I believe that Sisyphus is going to stick around. No more compulsive hit-rate checking. I just like the look of stuff on the page! As for the long watches of the night, it’s a real issue at the moment. The PLMD is currently out of control now that the medication has lost its mojo. And my cancer meds have me up at least three times a night to pee. Which is, one might say, a pisser. Is your nocturnal waking from straight insomnia or do you have a sleep disorder? And yes, wouldn’t the occasional lunch be a good thing? Alone together seems like a decent notion! ‘We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?’

    • Jim Murdoch says:

      I don’t really use beta readers for much more than proof-readers, Dick, and, to be honest, I don’t get a great deal of feedback but occasionally a glaring error gets picked up and so it is worthwhile especially seeing what the Americans don’t get. Ken Armstrong was a good help withMilligan and Murphy with the Irishisms and Vito Pasquale was invaluable when it came to tweaking the New York accent in my short story ‘Monsters’. Left is currently with Lis Hanscombe in Australia. She’s a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and I’ve asked her to diagnose the book’s protagonist to see if she comes up with what I expect. Trouble is Lis’s husband’s been in hospital for the last few weeks and so, as you would expect, she’s only managing the basics. If you’re interested in reading something a little less taxing than The More Things Change I’ve got a one act play you might like. I make no apologies, it’s pure fan fiction but I’d like to think it’s half-decent fan fiction. I sent it to the BBC when I first wrote it and they politely (and promptly) declined and basically after that it sat in a drawer. It’s a radio play—at least that’s how it came to me—but I added stage directions and I think it would work. It’s called Vladimir and Estragon are Dead which says everything. I did manage to get a copy into Barry McGovern’s hands but never heard a peep afterwards which led me to believe the thing was shite but since Beckett thought most of his own stuff was shite I guess I’m in good company.

      Do I have a sleep disorder? God alone knows. Since I stopped working—which is about eleven years ago now—I’ve probably had two decent night’s sleep. By which I mean I go to bed and sleep for eight uninterrupted hours. I talked to my doctor about my diurnal sleep pattern and his response was basically, “Well, that’s not good. You should do something about that.” I enjoyed making graphs for him showing the weird patterns but he was more concerned with my other symptoms and I guess he assumed if we got them under control the sleep would sort itself out of its own accord. Which it did not. There is no definite pattern but a typical night will involve me going to bed at 11pm, sleeping for an hour and a half to two hours, getting up, working as best one can in the night until I get tired enough to go back to bed which can be anywhere between 6am and 9am and sleeping until maybe 2:30. On Monday, however, I went to bed at 11pm, slept three hours, went back to bed at 6.30am and awoke at 5:30pm but still went right to sleep when I went to bed that night, slept for an hour and a half and here it’s 9 in the morning and I’m still too bright to go back to bed. There’s no logic to it. I’ve tried toughing it and seeing if I can break the cycle but the latest I usually sleep is 3am even after being up the whole day before. I’ve just got used to it. Carrie never sleeps all night either We go to bed together—it kinda seems important we keep that up—she reads for an hour or two and wakes whenever she wakes. She always has a nap in the afternoons too, usually a couple of hours but there have been days when I’ve woken up in time for lunch and THEN had my third nap of the day with her. I rarely get less than eight hours a day—fourteen was weird I have to say—but it doesn’t matter how much I sleep or when I never wake refreshed. Which is a pain. But what can you do? As for peeing… Don’t get me started.

      (This is the third time I’ve tried to post this. Don’t know what’s going on.)

      • Dick Jones says:

        Happy to read the play, Jim. If it’s shite a la Beckett, I can’t wait to read it!

        I would have said that any sleep-related process that has you tucked into that kind of a regime would count as a disorder! The generally informed view on adequate slumber has health linked to a series of consecutive sleep cycles whereby stages 1 to 4 followed by REM sleep repeat, gradually lengthening as the night goes on. Without the deep sleep of stage 4 and the dream discharging that takes place during the REM stage, long term disorientation at least is the result. So I read in my authoritative gleanings from the more balanced sleep study sources across the web. But hey, I’m a terminal anxiety junkie and people are mightily various so who bloody knows for sure? All I know now for my own part is that I desperately want to sleep through the night and it’s not going to happen until I find something inside a capsule that will fuck with my circuitry in a good way! Have you consulted medics about your non-sleep experiences?

        Re excess peeing, diurnal or nocturnal, I am a zealot! Generally it’s not caused by prostate cancer; sometimes it is. I shall be on powerful medication until I shoot through, hopefully in rude general health somewhere in my 90s. Had I checked a year earlier, morning horse-pills would probably have been avoided.

  3. sackerson says:

    I think it will take years to see how all this really pans out. Social media seem to be blowing away the culture of deference, with (mainly) young people bypassing the BBC, for example, and thinking what in the past would have been considered unthinkable (eg, supporting the rise of Corbyn). Is data harvesting a price worth paying for the free exchange of ideas?

  4. Dick Jones says:

    I guess if a healthy dose of cynicism – well, hardline scepticism – can be brought into play then we can both accept that Zuckerberg is a self-interested media demagogue, but that his brainchild has indeed effected a media revolution that has enabled a level & character of person-to-person communication & sharing unthinkable even 10 years ago.

  5. Natalie says:

    The above comments reflect exactly my own thoughts concerning facebook and blogging and the whole issue of wanting/needing feedback for one’s own creative work and/or random musings (sometimes creative, sometimes just amusing). There doesn’t seem to be an ideal solution and for now I’ll most likely carry on with both FB and blogging, mirror images.

  6. Dick Jones says:

    I’m currently getting the measure of Twitter. I joined in 2009, but I’ve never done more than cursorily scan the linked Facebook posts to see whether any of them have pierced the fast-flowing current. Having fun so far!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s