Right, left, write..marching to your own tune…

I’ve dabbled with playing a guitar since I was 12 years old. I’m still far from competent some 50 odd years later. I began with a steel strung acoustic. I admit that I didn’t have an instructional ‘play in a day’ manual but no matter how I tried I couldn’t make it sound tuneful. In short it sounded terrible.

After some time I was becoming so disenchanted I wanted to give up. My desire however was for an electric guitar (this was the early 60’s) and my mother found one in a second hand shop. The electronics were frankly dangerous and it came with a heavy valve amplifier. When I saw it, the reason I couldn’t play properly became immediately obvious. I’d been playing the guitar upside down…..

I’m left handed. At the time I didn’t think of any other way than to strum with my left hand and fret with the right hand. The new guitar made me turn things round and I began to use my dominant hand to fret the strings. My playing actually sounded tuneful occasionally…progress!!

I began to lean towards folk music, got rid of the electric and had various acoustic guitars, then discovered ‘prog’ rock and went back to electric guitars. I flirted with a twelve string acoustic and a few years ago found my blues roots and splashed out on a solid body guitar. Then last month I purchased my first ‘proper’ guitar, which is made by a small company in the UK. I still can’t play well, though I do look ‘cool’…..oh, ok, maybe the guitar does…

Gordon Smith Classic T sienna burst

The urge to write has always been strong in me. No, hang on, maybe that’s ‘the force’…anyway, I’ve always believed there was a novel inside me. However, getting to the end about half way down the first page probably won’t win you the Booker Prize.

My dabbling with writing continued off and on through most of my life, much like my guitar playing. Then one day I was persuaded (under protest) to attend a poetry evening, featuring local writers. I can’t say it particularly inspired me but it did enough to encourage me to put pen to paper. At the time I was studying for an OU Arts degree and I discovered sonnets. The format was perfect for me. Fourteen lines and finished. No worries about dragging out plotlines or fleshing out the characters. Just me and my thoughts and those magical rhymes.

The verse literally poured out of me, I couldn’t stop. Two or three a day became the norm that summer. I still don’t think a lot of them are very good. I began to write in other rhyming schemes which I think I enjoyed more. Then, when we moved to France my flow stopped. I really should try again, though I’m finding this blog equally as rewarding. To end, here’s a sample….


He looks at his hands,

Hands that gripped the plough,

Hands that wiped sweat from brow,

Hands that worked all the day would allow.


Hands that held his true love tight,

Hands that placed the ring on her finger,

Hands that caressed her that blissful night,

Hands that engulfed their newborn child.


He looks at his hands,

Hands that fumble to fasten his clothes,

Hands that struggle to turn off the tap,

Hands that cannot hold his tears back.


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s