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.
Cue recognition applause or spluttering into your wine horror, like when they introduce that singer on the Late Late Show.
My WordPress stats page had told me the post had been read today in the United States. Two hits.
The States? Wow!
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.
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).
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 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’.
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?
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.
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 …
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