“We can redream this world and make the dream come real. Human beings are gods hidden from themselves.” ― Ben Okri, The Famished Road
If you’ve read my last two posts, you’ll have detected a more linear approach to my writing. That’s deliberate. In the past — and I mean over the past six years — it’s been too random, too variable and didn’t take you anywhere. Going forward, I could make it very, very focused to the point where I set out in advance the 50 posts it’s my intention to write for 2017, but that wouldn’t feel right, not least because I need to leave myself the freedom to explore side issues, deviate completely and not be pinned down against the tide of my own life.
I’ll confess, though, along with my many other blogging sins, e.g. typos, over the past few years I’ve got stuck with my writing. In hindsight, I should either have written an ebook to codify what I was thinking or stopped blogging completely…at least for a few weeks. But that’s not my style — I’m too resolute sometimes — or at least it wasn’t to the point where I started rehearsing, and then playing with, the idea that to be focused (on any one issue, i.e. writing) we have to learn to say no. And keep saying it whenever the urge shows up. You see, in the past, I’d often feel the need to write daily, podcast and add further to the noise on Twitter and LinkedIn. I’m not sure what I was trying to achieve, but, in any event, that’s in the past and there’s no point (constantly) revisiting my foibles when there’s so much to look forward to.
Anyhow, just so you know the process underlying my subject areas for 2017, I did the usual brain dump (in manuscript) and then let things simmer. What I wanted to elucidate was all those ‘burning’ issues that I’d bottled up over the past few years. When I finally came to decide what to stick with and what to cull, I applied the only test I know, namely “Am I willing to bleed for my art?”. Now I know that might sound a bit over the top but having started blogging in 2008 that’s how I see things for the rest of my days — subject, of course, to still having the mental capability, the money and the facilities (I take nothing for granted these days).
OK, some of the subjects might have a natural beginning, middle and end but quite a few are a lifetime endeavour. Also, I think that too many of them go unsaid or at least we’re too afraid to admit that we need help or don’t know the answer. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to set myself apart and say I’m an expert (what are they anyway?), rather, I feel I’ve lived enough to share my experiences, albeit, in certain areas, I feel I’ve as much to learn as I’ve to share. Anyhow, I hope that sets the scene sufficiently for you to understand that this time round — if I can put it like that — I’ve done my homework so that I don’t run out of steam.
The subjects then:
The nature of work
Whatever else takes my fancy
On first blush, they don’t look much. Indeed, with my (previous) prodigious output, I’m pretty sure I could chomp through them in a few weeks. But I know that it wouldn’t be right in the sense that: (a) my writing would be superficial; and (b) the destination, i.e. the end, would be more important than the journey. I should say that there’s at least part of me that wonders how far I’ll actually get — I may get stuck with one of the subjects for the rest of the year — but I’m hopeful, with a bit of further judicious planning, that I’ll be able to sign off on my 50 posts with a final hurrah where I say, “Hell, yeah. I cracked that one.” I don’t mean to suggest that I’ll be done, done but, from a blogging perspective, I’ll have opened myself up to a more holistic way of seeing life.
I’m well aware that there are a number of bloggers who’ve made successful careers in only one of the subject areas but, for now, I feel I need to write more widely and see what shows up. Will that mean my writing will be more personal? I hope so. And I don’t mean to suggest I’ll breach the trust of any of my family or talk about things I know nothing about, but it does mean more of me — not the egoic one, hopefully — will be on display (apologies in advance for any misplaced F-bombs).
I should add that, running alongside this blog, I’m still in the process of writing my long-overdue book. I’ve not thought about it too deeply, but I’m pretty sure with a publication date of December 2017 that my blogging will help with the style of writing and overall look and feel of something that’s turned out more autobiographical than I’d planned for.
Am I excited?
In a way, even sharing the subject headings feels liberating. Also, it gives me a launchpad for those things in my life that have sat there simmering away but I’ve never felt brave enough to write about. I could have included politics but I decided that I’m past the point where I’ve any expectation that there will be a paradigm shift based on the establishment we’ve done so little to challenge. If you need to know my leaning — not that it should have any bearing on things — I’d call myself a liberal in the old-fashioned sense of the word.
Anyhow, that’s enough for now.
Until next week.