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Stopping By Words On A Snowless Evening

Revisiting an old blog post

Whose words are these I think I know …

Any excuse to invoke Robert Frosts’s beloved poem, but actually I’ve just been re-reading an old blog post of mine.

Called Let’s All Go On A Pink Floyd Odyssey 

Screenshot 2020-02-17 at 12.15.42

Cue recognition applause or spluttering into your wine horror, like when they introduce that singer on the Late Late Show.

I wish!

My WordPress stats page had told me the post had been read today in the United States. Two hits. 

The States? Wow!

Where? Who?

Anyone who has ever published anything will recognise that feeling of picking it up days, or even months later . Curiosity gets the better of dread and you proceed

Some biker dude from Wichita Falls in northern Texas with regulation handlebar moustache and a secret Floyd fetish? Three divorces and only busted last week for possession of marijuana for his personal use. Loves his old three-legged terrier cross Crusty.

biker tache (1)
No, not that kind of biker …

Him?

Came upon a blog post one day about his beloved Floyd. Written by some goddamn asshole in Dublin, Ireland …

Maybe my other reader was a loft-dwelling nebbish New York playwright, irritated by dry eyes and living in Pop’s place on the Lower East Side. Further irritated by the fact he’s living off Pop’s waste disposal fortune too.

Over 30 and still hasn’t finished that one-act play about a misunderstood artist longing for the approval of his money-grubbing father.

Loves his curious cream-coloured British shorthair cat even though she hates being carried, and detests Trump — our playwright with the itchy eyes that is, the cat couldn’t care less

Our man reads blog posts when he should be working. Liked that one by that cool-sounding Irish Floyd fan in Dublin. Great city!

Anyone who has ever published anything will recognise that feeling of picking it up days, or even months later …

Curiosity gets the better of dread and you proceed.

At first, my big, booming self-critic was holding court like Brian Blessed (you know the portly actor with the big beard and foghorn ac-tore voice).

Brian Blessed
My inner Brian Blessed  always ready to have a go

Phrases I’d honed and polished then looked laboured and overdone just now.

‘You pretentious idiot!’ my Blessed nuisance roared.  

But as I read on, to my Blessed relief, the self-critic just kind of slunk off. Never even saw him go.

It was like reading someone else’s words, and I got engrossed.

Not dazzled by my own brilliance engrossed, just interested in the writer’s thoughts engrossed. Which happened to be mine.

At the end, I thought, ‘You know what, that was worth reading’.

And so what if the whole thing is no Pulitzer crowd-pleaser, and the hits and the likes vary from post to post?

And writing. And putting out there.

I thought some more about that self-critical voice, the one all writers or creatives know. 

And says I to myself, says I: ‘It’s not Pulitzer Prize stuff, but that’s not even the point’.

pulitzer (1)
And this year’s blog post award goes to …

It was me writing something because I wanted to. And I added the pictures, filled in the hot-links, did the headline and the rest, and hit ‘publish’.

There were comments and likes, preserved forever, which are just brilliant to get.

It’s such a pleasure to gather my thoughts, shape them into words and put them down on my computerised page.

Sure I dress them up — a bit Sunday Best, maybe, for some, but why would I want to send my word children out into the world in grubby underwear and yesterday’s T-shirt?

Would you?

So I rephrase, and I strive for some phrases that don’t come without effort, I cross things out that don’t work. Or resonate.

My words are mostly dressed in solid high street Penneys gear that propel the narrative, but what a joy it is when a phrase of pure haute couture finesse pops into my head, and I get it down on the page.

Now these are often the sew-and-sews that can make me revel in embarrassment later.

But not always.

And so what if the whole thing is no Pulitzer crowd-pleaser, and the hits and the likes vary from post to post?

Yes, I want a reaction, my ego will always say ‘Yes, please!’ to a little hair ruffle of positive response.

But do I want to do it anyway. The answer is “yes”.

Yes, yes, a thousand times ‘Yes!”

Maybe cut out some of the curlicues and striving for effect bits. But equally, if they are felicitous and they work for me, I’ll put them out there with an Al Pacino  ‘ha-hay’  flourish.

Pacino shouting (1)
I said, you can’t call me Al …

I’ve been struggling a bit lately with the value of what I write. Both to myself, and the idea of sharing it with others.

The kids are bigger now, and way too complicated and big for me to share actual day to day stuff.

It’s been up and down with them, really. 

The odd moment of satisfaction on a job if not well done, at least well-intentioned.

Mostly these are the days of prosaic Penneys solidity and narrative-propelling progression. 

And regular moments of embarrassing failure, that my inner Brian Blessed is delighted to point out.

Days when the progress stops and I’m lost to debilitating self-doubt.

Days when I don’t know if I should put out a blog post or an SOS.

Days when I long for even Penneys progression.

But I always get back on the horse, and he gives his harness bell a shake …

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
My Word Of The Week (WotW) is self-doubt
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51 comments on “Stopping By Words On A Snowless Evening

  1. I know that feeling very well, Robert. Ahm, I mean, Ends!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *Enda….@#&+* Yankee autocorrect!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi. How could I not enjoy an essay that contains the word “nebbish”? I hadn’t run across that word in quite a while. See you.

    Neil Scheinin

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You should smother that self-critic in his sleep! So glad to have you back, Enda. I always look forward to reading your posts.

    And keep plugging away at the whole parenting thing. They do eventually come back to you. Hubby and I just went out for a beer with our youngest son last night. He’s lucky I didn’t smother HIM in his sleep when he was a teenager! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Only the other day I was thinking that I hadn’t seen any posts from you recently. Hope all is well. Thanks for the link back to your earlier post, which I had somehow missed. No idea how!

    Like

  6. aww, self doubt, that ole tormentor, always enjoy reading your posts so keep them coming! #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Daydreamer mum

    LOVE this Enda …. I seem to have developed blog stage fright …write stuff but darent press publish !!! Looking back at old stuff is really tricky !!! Think the creative types comfy place is self criticism!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is … but I have changed tack a little bit …no more weekly deadline for a post, just post when I want to. Do my best and let it go. Publish, Kelly, publish! Your posts are always worth reading

      Like

  8. I recently started doing a “new month old post” post at the beginning of each month because I have a few more readers now than a couple of years ago and they won’t have seen them. Gives me an excuse to read back and pick out things I still like. I’m not beyond a bit of rewriting and replacing the old post with a forward linik.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It can be very hard to keep up the motivation for this blogging game. But your words, whit and humor are a great combination so you should definitely go forth. Keep up the good work! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love this piece! Actually laughed out loud about who in America was reading this! I always wonder the same with my WordPress. Just why did someone in Samoa care about the birth of my Son?! Guess we will never know.
    #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re back! It’s great to see you on the #DreamTeamLinky, I thought you’d abandoned us. I re read old posts too every now and again and get that same feeling where you think, actually, this is pretty decent – even if I did spend several hours on one sentence hehe. I can’t ever imagine you being lost for words though… maybe your book is calling? And your blog posts will turn into that journey. Just saying 😉 Anyway – fab to see you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Annette … I just decided to post when I wanted to, rather than adhering to weekly deadlines imposed by myself!

      Like

  12. I love reading you Enda, your way with words is so special, it’s how I want to write but while it sits there in my head the words that come out of my fingers are so mundane. I write for those that read, and sometimes I just don’t like it. Strangely enough, this week, I’ve been hit over the head so hard with the hammer of self doubt, why bother at all. Well, okay, I like doing it, so who cares if no-one else likes it. I loved your Pink Floyd post and I hope your American readers enjoyed it as much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are very kind, Anne. But a lesson for me is to stop comparing what I write to other people’s work. To hell with Mr Self-Critic! Do I want to write is the question. And if the answer is yes, then I will! I think there are so many things at play. I love reading your stuff because it is more than words, you convey feeling and attitude so well, and I relate to what you write. That’s what’s important for me, this communication thing. Furthermore,. there is a warmth to your writing, and how you write. Keep writing — and publishing; that’s all that matters.

      Like

  13. Ignore the inner critic. Sometimes they want other things. I wrote a story in 10 mins that I jotted down in a hurry before a competiton closed and I thought it was a bit cheesy and it got published. I wrote a very beautiful story that I love and no one has liked it yet. (I keep entering it into things and it get bounced every time – but I’m reluctant to change it because I love it so much). I do love your ‘word children’ that you send out into the world. Sometimes the old tee shirt is what people like. (For the record, F Scott Fitzgerald changed his endings to suit the magazines and Hemingway tore him apart for it, to which he replied along the lines of ‘it’s ok, I know how they’re meant to end’. Only listen to the inner critic if he’s being constructive. Sometimes you just have to tell him to shut up.

    Like

  14. I am thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog! Count me as your third American viewer LOL! I’m a chronic pain plagued, pot-smoking, Disney obsessed, fifty-something mom and wife from sunny California! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love re-reading old posts as they are a diary of what we have experienced over the last 3 years. I love seeing the change in my writing style . Thanks for linking upwith #dreamteamlinky

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The self-doubt critic can certainly be a harsh one at times but it is good when we can shut him up and just enjoy re-reading our own words. Lovely to see you getting back on the horse and sharing another post. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That inner critic can cause issues! Mine runs rampant regularly. However, I do love reading your ‘word children’ and I am always entertained by your posts. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    Like

  18. The numbers of times I’ve deleted. Not because they are worse than the words I publish, but it just wasn’t their time. I often wonder who reads the old posts. Saw someone had read my hare post this week. Made me read it again. I resisted the temptation to amend it. Hope your playwright is doing well. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I do like your posts, you have a real way with words. Loved the way you described your idea of who the American readers may have been.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m so glad you continue to write for us, you always give me a moment to ponder something. I too go back and read my old posts, tweaking my words and phrases and polishing them. I know it will never win me awards, but I just love to know the writing is better than it was before. #DreamTeamLinky

    Liked by 1 person

  21. loopyloulaura

    I have just edited and published a post that I wrote months ago, very strange how perspective changes! Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ian Northeast

    Oh self doubt…… The very mention of it has allowed anxiety to rise. I love this article and always enjoy your writing. (Please) keep up the good work.

    Like

    • Hi Ian … it’s a bugger, isn’t it?

      Like

      • Ian Northeast

        It is! Although you have just encouraged me to revisit a folder on my laptop called ‘NO’, where everything gets dumped when my self doubt kicks in and tells me it is a poor piece of writing. As it turns out with a few tweaks the couple of bits I looked at, are in fact ok. The folder is now called ‘not yet’. So thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Good man, Ian … see you hadn’t abandonded them; that’s why they were in a folder, awaiting liberation!

    Like

  24. Awwww your word children! I absolutely love this phrase! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I love that feeling of reading something back and thinking ‘did I write this?’, and being able to read it as if it was written by someone else. It doesn’t often happen with my blogs (not yet anyway, and possibly because I rarely take the time to go back and read through old things), but I recognise it well from my uni days, as well as school before then. Writing essays etc… Before I donated my life to my child, sort of, lol!
    Thanks so much for linking up with #KCACOLS, hope you come back again next time x

    Like

  26. I love to speculate about who reads my posts, but expect it is really just my mum… Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

    Liked by 1 person

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