Before I ran Arachne Press, I did many things, including, for quite a while, a job I hated. While in that job, I had as my screensaver/lock/background the words
Tymes Goe By Turns, and Chances Chang by Course
I felt better every time I saw them.
Looking back, it’s pretty obvious I should have left the job, rather than comfort myself with the fact that something else would cause a change. It’s also pretty obvious I had depression, which is why I couldn’t make the change for myself, and partly why I hated the job, to be entirely fair to my then employer.
The lines are from Robert Southwell (c. 1561 – 21 February 1595), who had plenty to be worried and unhappy about. Look him up if you want to feel better about your current situation by comparison, if that’s not the sort of comfort that moves you, (me neither) read the poem, which is at the end of this post; it’ll work better, promise. (There is a bit of God in it, I don’t subscribe but RS did, and it doesn’t spoil the poem for me).
WHY am I sharing this poem with you?
Because I really should be planning this year’s Solstice Shorts Festival, but I don’t know if it will go ahead.
Because Covid-19 might still be preventing us (hope not, it is the end of December!). Because Arts Council is in emergency funding mode and may not want to know about funding it.
Because if either of these, where and how can we be true to the basic live-ness of Solstice Shorts?
Anyway, I am a planner by nature, so I will plan the bits I can, and wait to see what chances change by which courses.
We always have a time theme, so here it is.
WRITERS/MUSICIANS I keep seeing on Facer and Twitbook that in the absence of paid work, you are knuckling down to projects and upping your rejection rates, so here’s another one for you.
Write a story or poem or song that responds or reacts or is inspired by the poem Tymes goe by Turns, or some concept in it. (also open to musical settings of the actual poem – I think there is at least one already.
We want enormous change, finding balance, release… just leave God out of it, ok? Solstice Shorts has a pagan undertow because of the day we hold it, and personally I’m a heathen, so any overtly godly piece will be automatically excluded. (21st December, shortest day of the year, winter solstice.)
If the worst happens and we can’t hold the festival this year (though we are incredibly ingenious) we will just put it off to 2021, and have the book ready to launch at the festival. It’ll be fine. We’ll work it out, but please be prepared for the possibility of a twelve month delay.
I haven’t QUITE set this all up on Submittable, but when I do, it will be at https://arachnepress.submittable.com/submit
Deadline 21st June 2020.
Here’s the poem.
THE lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moist’ning shower;
Times go by turns and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.
The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow,
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her tides hath equal times to come and go,
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web;
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.
Not always fall of leaf nor ever spring,
No endless night yet not eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay:
Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.
A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
The net that holds no great, takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are crost,
Few all they need, but none have all they wish;
Unmeddled joys here to no man befall:
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.