At the moment, I’m spending quite a bit of time writing on the Medium platform. I’m being cautious though because I’ve been seized like this before, only to pull the plug; LinkedIn is another case in point, as is Tumblr.
Sadly, my blog — this blog — hasn’t received enough attention over the last few years. I regret that. I know that if I’d treated it like a business, I would, by now, have changed the format and produced material for sale — e.g. books, audio and even a few poems — as a way (if nothing else) of subsiding the hosting costs. For now, things are unlikely to change save that I’m going to give some thought to what I want to write about and how I want to write. Previously, I’d been too wedded to taking a sledgehammer to the idea of coming alive to our actual experience of life and expressing that (mostly) in a series of eclectic blogs. The idea never really got beyond that — i.e. an idea — and I should have been braver in either redefining the message or ditching it in favour of something less ethereal and more (to me at least) culturally and spiritually significant.
It’s still too early to be definite about the space or subject area(s) that I feel most affinity with but there has been a subtle but important shift that started to manifest when we went into the first lockdown in February/March 2020. Actually, I think it goes back a little earlier than that and can be traced to two books that I read: 10 Billion by Stephen Emmott and The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. Whilst neither book is particularly revelatory, and Emmott’s has attracted a fair degree of criticism, nevertheless, they awakened in me the existential dread and fear that I’d been feeling for a long time — perhaps back to the late 1970s when I felt that nature was being irreparably harmed on the back of our insatiable desire for more. I think what Covid-19 and the lockdown reinforced was how fragile is our species and nature’s importance to me. This lead me to re-explore and open up to a new paradigm of writing and listening, which has stayed with me ever since.
The other subject areas that play a big in my life is: death, grief and elderhood. (It’s no accident that I’ve spent more time reading and listening to the work of Stephen Jenkinson than any other writer.) Somehow, and don’t ask me why, they’re as important, if not more so, than shouting the odds about the climate emergency, loss of biodiversity and our anthropocentric view of the world.
Finally, there’s work. Or more specifically, there’s everything that’s wrong with work, the workplace and the people who are supposedly in charge. On this subject, I could write forever but whether it’s something that really floats my boat, I’m still not sure. One writer that grabbed my attention was David Graeber and his book, Bullshit Jobs. I wish I’d come up with the title or something similar because in truth that’s what I think about the whole facade.
One last thing. I’m now off social media. Let me rephrase that. I no longer Tweet, share anything on LinkedIn, write to Tumblr/ Livejournal or share anything publicly on Instagram. That means, save for setting up a newsletter on my blog, I’ve no way of sharing what I write outside the platform. As it’s a self-hosted WordPress platform (not https://wordpress.com/read) unless you use a RSS reader or routinely check out the blogging page, then I doubt I’ll ever attract an audience of more than a handful of people. I don’t mind that and in fact, it may be the spur I need to get writing so that, if I’m lucky, people might read a book of mine and then decide to check out my site.
(I realise there’s way too much wishful thinking in the foregoing paragraph but I need to have my sights set on something.)
In summary, I’ve got a lot to do if I want to develop this blog beyond its current incarnation; namely, one of the many million that span the flotsam and jetsam of the Internet.
Of course, if you’ve got any ideas on what I might write about and how I might share my material then I’m all ears.