Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cogito ergo blog

I've been blogging for a while now. I'd quite forgotten how long until earlier today when I found myself trawling back through the archive to find a particular post I wrote about egg balancing. Yes, egg balancing. It is perfectly possible to balance an egg on its point as I demonstrated way back here. Do have a go. It's probably not really what you'd call fun but it is strangely satisfying.

That was just one of several posts I wrote during my first month as a bloggist/blogger. I started mine in July 2006, made a frightful hash of it, then started afresh on the 4th August with a series of posts about egg balancing, the Falkirk Wheel, eating insects, Buck Rogers, snorkeling dogs, fancy urinals, the face of Shakin' Stevens appearing in my toast, big pants, and a New York comedienne's magic vagina. That pretty much set the tone for this blog and it's been as eclectic ever since. But why did I start a blog? Actually, it was to keep myself in practice and to create, for want of a better phrase, a living, growing portfolio of work.

When I tell people that I write and have had work published, I quite often get something back like, 'Oh really? I've always fancied having a go at writing a book'. When I hear that, it's all I can do to keep myself from saying 'Then you won't'. I bite my lip, smile politely and and say 'Good for you' instead. I'm not being unnecessarily nasty or disingenuous here. I just don't think that any of these people will ever write a book. The reason for this is that if they don't write at the moment, then it isn't a passion; it may not even be an interest. And if it isn't something that they're driven to do, they probably won't ever do it. I might be wrong, but it does seem to be the case. Very few people just suddenly conjure up a book from nowhere.

It's a topic I brought up at a recent meeting of the London Writer's Group where myself and a bunch of really talented guys and gals meet every couple of months to drink beer, eat pies and bitch about our chosen career. As professional writers, they hear this comment too and most of them agreed with my sentiments. As one screenwriter, best known for his work on shows like Eastenders once said to me, 'I work in a shed on my own. I hardly ever meet famous people. I don't get invited to The Ivy. You've got to really, really love doing this to keep doing it. Thankfully I do. It may seem an over-simplification but if you write, you're a writer. If you don't write, why not?' It's a good question. Time can't be the answer, surely? You'll always find time for your passions, even if it's just a snatched handful of minutes here and there. people find time to play golf, watch their favourite TV shows, go on holiday ... so surely there's time to write? For nearly 30 years I've held down a 40 hour working week, got married twice, raised three kids ... but I've always made time to write. I've written eight novels, 30-odd short stories, two comics series, three sitcoms, two plays, five pilot TV scripts, two pilot radio scripts, 12 non-fiction books and a bunch of poems and song lyrics. And this blog. Because I am compelled to write, I write. I've always kept diaries and notebooks ... the next logical step was a web log.

Blogging puts my words out in a way that diaries and notebooks never will. I can explore any subject that tickles my whim. I can pepper my posts with photos and illustrations. Most importantly of all, my blog provides me with a reason to write and an outlet with which to make it public. And because I choose to write about television, films, religion, places I've visited, superstition, vinyl art toys, commuting, pirates, the environment, Viagra, aliens, growing your own veg, evolution versus creationism, comics, folk music, artists and, yes, egg balancing, my blog is now poised and ready to act as the perfect 'showreel' of my versatile writing abilities, such as they are. Let's face it, I'm no Hemingway and 99% of everything I've ever written can be appended with the word 'unpublished'. But that's not the point. I would carry on writing if I'd never been published. I write because I love to write. Getting published or being recognised for what I do would simply be a layer of marzipan and thick royal icing on the top of a cake that I already adore.

Meanwhile, while we all wait for fame and fortune to come a-knocking at my door, why don't you pop back now and again and read some of my older posts? Or, if you fancy a change of voice, I can heartily recommend these other excellent friends and bloggers:

Jason Arnopp
Piers Beckley
Paul Campbell
Sarwat Chadda
Simon Colgan
William Gallagher
Dave Gorman
Chris Hale
Robin Kelly
Jed Lomax
Jon Mayhew
Joel Meadows
Mark Page (adult material)
Lizzie Pain
Stuart Perry
Karen Redman
Helen Smith
John Soanes
Richard Wiseman

... and there are so many others I could mention. Give them a try.


Helen Smith said...

Thanks for the endorsement. I must admit, I've never balanced an egg on its point.

chris hale said...

Sunday greetings, and thank you for the second endorsement of my humble blog this month! There is something very satisfying about blogging; it's a bit like having a virtual scrapbook. And, when I look back at my efforts over the last year and a half, I notice how both style and content have changed, but I do feel a twinge of concern over some of the odder bits. I put it down to the Voices.

Keep blogging old chap - yours is always a good read and it encourages me to keep plodding on!

Anonymous said...

Technology truly is an inescapable aspect of our daily lives, and I can say with 99% certainty that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory drops, the possibility of transferring our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about almost every day.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS OperaMod)