I confess to being a puzzle addict.
I started with codeword-type logic puzzles until I discovered sudoku and its variants.
Since I retired, I tackle anything that looks interesting: puzzles I would previously have dismissed as too challenging and time-wasting.
Guess what? They weren’t as demanding as I’d thought.
Learning to write has brought similar experiences. At first, I was ambivalent about spending time on practice exercises or writing group assignments that took me away from whatever story I was working on.
Now I know better.
I’ve found that polishing an unpromising pebble of a topic can turn it into a little gem. (I have yet to produce any diamonds.)
My confidence is improving. Each time, the task is less daunting, the writing freer, and the polishing a little easier.
I don’t have so much time for puzzles since I started writing.
For the last week or so I haven’t had much time for blog writing either, so here’s something I made earlier…
Puzzling it out
When my school reports said, ‘Could do better if tried,’
I was miffed, ’cos I’d done all the homework required.
Back then, crosswords were boring and WordSearch was worse.
But those Codeword-type puzzles – they captured me first.
No questions involved to mislead or confuse,
no anagrams, numbers or puzzling clues.
Then, with husband, and children, and gainful employment,
I had no free time for such trivial enjoyment.
Not with meals to be cooked and house-work overdue,
weekend laundry, and ironing, and shopping to do…
Till the morning I picked up a free daily rag
when the book I’d been reading was not in my bag.
I’d a seat on the train and there wasn’t much news,
and the schoolboy beside me was rattling through
the Sudoku on page twenty-eight. I’d not tried ’em.
Not numbers – since school I could never abide ’em.
How hard could it be? So I read the instructions.
Just logic, deduction, and no calculations.
The two-star was easier by far than it looked.
We pulled into my station – by then I was hooked.
So, from there, in my lunch break the five-star I’d savour,
and pick up some more with the evening’s free paper.
Then – one lunchtime – that dunderhead from Personnel
flashed a Killer Sudoku. It sounded a bell
when he said, ‘I like these,’ with a smug kind of look.
I thought – if he could do them… and bought a whole book.
At home, as the children grew up and moved on,
I’d more time in the evenings with all of them gone.
New puzzles – like Gogen – appeared now and then.
I ignored number crosswords but mastered KenKen.
In retirement, with no work to tax my mind much,
I tackled Kakuro, cross-numbers and such.
Though it’s true, even with the solutions to hand,
cryptic crosswords are often hard to understand.
I once thought them too hard so I didn’t even try.
What might I have achieved if I’d aimed for the sky?
I need to get out more, my children have said,
Go cycling, or walking, or swimming instead.
For, what use is an exercised mind, keen and taut,
if entombed in a body that’s ground to a halt?