I know I said I'd write about my launch party next but it's all been a bit crazy here and there's been no time to think in any kind of organised way so instead here's a post I've been half-working on for a while. I thought maybe today was its day...
Starting this blog wasn't my idea, you know – like all good ideas it was my hi-tech Beloved's. 'You should have a blog', he said some years back, 'everyone's got one'. That argument has never worked with me (and if you looked in my wardrobe you'd know that already..) so I ignored him and did something else. Then eventually I found myself looking at a blog here and there and got round to saying to him 'you know, that thing you said about having a blog...' I think he made a 'oh, shock, horror, was I right?' face. I see that face a lot.
By this time blogs were fairly passé so I felt it was OK to proceed (or something...anti-fashion or fashion...which is the bigger illusion? Discuss). Also I had been thinking that maybe, finally, it was time to communicate with other writers and that this might be a way to do it. As I may have said before I don't do writers' groups, creative writing courses, hanging out with writers – it's just never appealed to me and the times I have tried...oh gee (as Hope would say), it hasn't really been my cup of tea. Still it was something that I kept thinking about and I wondered if maybe this might be a way to give hanging with my writer homies another go – without the train journeys and the babysitting and the sitting through hours of (some) tedium. My offline, so-real-I-can-touch-them-sometimes friends these days include pretty much everyone but writers...I've got several artists, quite a few people in vague hard-to-define occupations, lots of musicians, a masseuse, a longterm Phd student (History), an environmental protection officer, various people in administrative jobs they do or don't like, a very musical cleaner, a couple of I.T. experts, a youth work manager, a couple of people retired from some type of teaching, a couple of people who would love to retire from some type of teaching, a civil servant or two – all these (lucky me) but no writers so I just had a nagging feeling that it was time to give writers another try.
Now here I am and I can't believe I've been writing this blog and reading others since April 2007 (but it's there in the archive so it must be true). It's been a strange experience so far but good overall...I think. I have read some interesting essays and articles and diary pieces online, I've picked up all kinds of information, made some invisible friends and found out that writers can be just as annoying and know-it-all in blogs as they can anywhere else but that I must learn to cope with that (and face up to the fact that I am just as guilty as anyone else...at times...no, no, it can't be true...well, now and again...).
So what do you think of the show so far? For me, the best of this blogging experience to date has been:
The interchange between interesting human beings – Colin Will, Hope, Jim Murdoch, Sorlil, Hugh 'Shug' Macmillan, other people now and again. I think blogging has to be an interactive thing or it's just another of life's disappointments, another missed opportunity for maximum communication. And if all you're going to write all the time is that you're too busy to write then please...go and do the other things and stop annoying people with you're 'I'm so busy's. (Cliché-that's-true alert – do something properly or don't do it at all...).
Humour – Is there anything more important in life? I've enjoyed the online humour of Ken Armstrong, Jim Murdoch (again), Shug (again), my old friend Sean Smith at Expletive Undeleted...that's all men...where are the funny girls? There's a couple on MySpace I like – they're quite rude though...
Great writing - I read a lot of good writing on and in blogs...young Fiendish in Ireland, for example, she's pretty amazing at times.
Interesting lives – I am one of those people (and writers) who thinks that everyone's life is interesting in some way. Of course, that said, not everyone can make the details of that life into an interesting blog! One of my favourite fascinating life blogs is Lemn Sissay's. His online diary is a wild wander through performances, projects, perceptions and people. He's one of the first poets I heard read poems live and I still love his passion for the word (written, spoken and in all its forms) and his passion for people and life (despite/because of some the crap life has passed his way). His spelling's pretty crazy at times so that will put some readers off...I am quite anal about my own spelling but I can bear Lemn's for many reasons but mainly because there's so much to get from what he writes that it would be a shame to miss it all because of a wrong 'their' here and their. I also love reading about Colin Will's travels and varied activities. Like Lemn, Colin sees through the wide eyes of a child but writes with the wisdom of a well-travelled thinking man.
Honey, just teach me something – if only all teachers were as good as some of the bloggers I read. I've learned a lot from the likes of Dave King, Jim Murdoch and Ms Baroque/Katy Evans Bush (though I disagree with the latter quite a bit too – see accessibility, song lyrics and political correctness. We have very different hobby horses, she and I...different ends of the toyshop at times). Still, all of these bloggers appeal to me when they pass on information and ideas with knowledge and enthusiasm. I'm not the most erudite literary blogger (it's just not my natural area of strength!) but I'm all for learning as many new things a day as possible.
As well as all that there has been:
Something completely different - I read blogs by some writers and/or poets who sometimes think so differently to me that it can be... awkward at times. About once a week I hear Don Paterson's voice in my head (disturbing, I know...) saying 'I fucking hate blogs' (remember that quote from a while back?)..and I want to agree. Then I switch back on, read something else that's fascinating, end up back at the blog that wound me up last time and find myself reading again...even if they don't read me (because I'm too... what? Too lowly? Too unheard of? Too slack? Too annoying? Or maybe I'm just too lowly for them to be seen commenting chez me...is that possible? Anything's possible...). Whatever... it's healthy, I think, to read about other people's points of view and not just stick to what my friend Verona refers to as PLU (people like us). I am a disgusting optimist on the subject of whether humans really can all get on together (even if, at the same time, I am well aware that it is the mother of all lost causes). Sometimes reading and getting involved with some of these blogs has had me...well, OK...close to tears ('why do people have to be like this!')...but, you know, on certain days I cry very, very easily. And sometimes I get an idea or even a whole poem out of the process. And in the end...it's only blogging. No-one gets hurt. Not really. Not for long. It's not like real arguments with friends or family where your very soul is ripped out by the carefully-judged attack!
So on I go...on we go...here we go, here we go...sorry...football chanting intermission. I'm not sure how long I'll be doing this but I'm really pleased about some of the people I've 'met' and some of the things I've learned and had to think about. So it hasn't been all pain and no gain has it, my friends?
2 hours ago