I recently started considering childhood memories and / or memories of my own children when they were younger for blog subject inspiration. I used one of my own schoolboy memories for my last post, recalling writing a piece in response to extracts from Milton poetry during my English Literature A Level. The whole process got me thinking about “writing in response to…” as a means of kick-starting the creative muse. A worthwhile exercise, given that this blog is random in its subject matter as driven by said muse!
Why we do what we do and expend time and effort in doing it is different, depending on what “it” is. We go to work to pay the bills, kids go to school to learn, people diet to lose weight and improve fitness, and we indulge in hobbies and pastimes because we enjoy them. The motivation varies.
Debates and arguments see people all loudly shouting over one another to champion their own point of view. These often calm down amidst a sea of reasoned argument, presentation of facts and compromise to varying degrees, with even the most aggrieved parties shelving their resentment (or certainly being less vocal about them). With regards to the UK debate on ‘Brexit’ and leaving the EU, the utter refusal of many people to even listen to anything that contradicts their own opinions, both opposing argument or cold hard facts, has seen the debate become a hideously toxic mess.
I recently joined a number of blogging groups on Facebook. My own blog isn’t commercial or filled with affiliate links, so joining those groups wasn’t flagrant self-promotion (!) but was simply a desire to get better at blogging. To see the efforts of others, to share, to advise. To receive advice and feedback, and invite opinion on topics covered in blog articles if I choose to share them with this now wider audience. One thing that leapt out at me however, as part of an exercise on one group when we all invited to share a link to a post and comment on / share links shared by others: Spelling, grammar and punctuation!
“Blogging forces you to teach yourself what you don’t know and to articulate what you do…you are forced to organise your thoughts…”
Michael B Fishbein, The Huffington Post 2014
For some time now, I’ve had it in my mind to write a blog post about why one could or should write a blog. That’s not because I feel some sort of urge to magnanimously share information, nor is it to impose my opinion on that subject on others. It’s not even because I’ve been asked by several people, each for their own reasons (and with varying degrees of hostility!), why I do it. Blogs are all so different; general news blogs, tech reviews, fans of a movie / TV show, cooks sharing recipes, even attempts to influence government policy and campaign on particular issues. The list is endless! Equally so, there are a variety of reasons one could cite for writing them, and the benefits for both writer and reader.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, life is indeed like a box of chocolates – we don’t know what we’re going to get. It is full of variety, the human factor being the ultimate randomiser. In theory therefore, we should be prepared for this variety, good or bad. That doesn’t alter the fact that things happening which are unexpected, or that do not fit into some form of perceived “norm”, feel downright odd or just plain upsetting!
It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”
[I saw hate in a graveyard — Stephen Fry, The Guardian, 5 June 2005]
I recall reading that Stephen Fry quote for the first time (quite recently, despite it’s age) and smiling. The man almost always makes me smile whenever I read or see one of his erudite quips. There’s a degree of envy on my part I think, about the particularly articulate nature of his intelligence and humour.