I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Ignore him; he's showing off

Theoretically I can post about anything. But I know that's not strictly true. In my heart of hearts, where shame rules and someone from Luddenfoot acts as chairperson, there is a need to reach out. To cause a response. The only proof that the act of writing has demonstrated its worth.

I could of course go the Germaine Greer route. Switching  from tough-mindedness to being a contrarian: seeking deliberately to get up another's nostrils. I did this in the early days. I wrote dismissively about gardening and Joe (then Plutarch) responded, too philosophically for my taste. I called into question nostalgia about aged motor-cars and Avus rose up.

After a while I saw this was crass. A variant on the French irony contained in: Ce chien est méchant; quand on l'attaque, il se défend. What I really wanted was for others to enhance and embellish my missiles in their own way.

Lists could do this and I did a lot of My Ten Worst... or whatever. But after a while a List-Truth became evident; the items needed not only to be honest but to be unexpected. They also had to have universal appeal. Then another smaller, more personal List-Truth emerged: lists aren't really writing.

Let's suppose I was desperate for a response. How would I go about trying to ensure it? One possibility would be to do what Peter Finch did, playing a TV news anchor-man in the movie Network. Announce I was going to commit suicide in front of a video camera on a specified date. I could go further, and promise an encore. Saying that my follow-up post would be from beyond the grave (proving there was an after-life) or not (proving there wasn't).

But would such a gesture, at best, result in anything other than Goodbye in different forms?


  1. Are you serious?!

    Are you truly so desperate for attention that you'd even joke about suicide? When there are so many young people - babies, compared to you - who actually don't see any way out of their pain but to do themselves in?

    Need anyone who follows you really have to remind you of what such an act from you would mean to them? Have you become, in your dottage, so callous and insensitive to the feelings of those who love you that suicide is the ultimate "fuck you all"?

    I don't know what else to say to you, Robbie. I'd never have thought you could disappoint me with anything you write, but I was mistaken.

    (How's that for getting up someone's nose? Love you! [grin])

  2. Again wall to wall pretentious crap.

  3. You have a predilection for provoking people because you want an intellectual discussion (not an argument) to ensue, which of course you will most likely have the satisfaction of dominating. I haven’t the stomach for much introspection, and never seem to hold strong enough views to make a stand and win, or should I say, come out on top from that kind of confrontational discussion. I am too susceptible to seeing the other person’s viewpoint, and possibly being converted, and so tend to avoid opposing view situations. A good conversation extolling the virtues or inadequacies of a mutually experienced book or film or whatever is a different matter which I welcome and enjoy.

    The fact that I don’t often rise to to your bait is not a shortcoming of your writing.

  4. The Crow: The point about switching jokery on and then off - as you claim to have done - is that I am now not sure which bit I'm supposed to believe. A bit like the famous philosophy exam question: Examine the moral implications of the sentence: "I am lying."

    Anon: The key word in your comment is "again". Suggesting that I am regularly guilty of this failing. Launching the question: Is crap your preferred taste?

    Sir Hugh: I really think you should never have read this post. Alas, it's too late now. I shall make amends. If any future post is marked "Not Sir Hugh" may I recommend you avert your eyes.

  5. I once suggested that I enjoyed blogging so much that it wouldn't worry me if no one responded. In response to your raised eyebrow and an unaccustomed moment of silence, I had to admit that I was not being completely honest. My earliest memory of the theatre is the moment in the pantomime Peter Pan when the fairy Tinker Bell invites the children in the audience to repeat "I believe in fairies" to stop her fading way altogether. I remember my guilty silence, but have since felt as you do that a response, and acknowledgement of our existence, skill with words, wit, perception, accuracy, matters as we raise our heads, look over the wall and greet the passing world.

  6. Joe: You made that confession about Tinkerbell as if you imagined you were in the minority. Whatever the level of applause on that night in the theatre I think you'll find that in worldwide terms, you're part of a huge majority. Certainly you and I are shoulder to shoulder on this one.

    I've just realised why I dislike fairies. Because they share the fragility of moths. I expect them to disintegrate close to me and I expect to be blamed for their disintegration.

    As to responses my hope is always this: that the responder grasps what I've said, however elliptical, and goes on to improve on it - operating in the same narrow confines as I have done. Ideally I should be left with the wry (but not resentful) acknowledgment that I could have done better.

  7. Oh...have I misread your post, or - at least - your intentions? I know you think we Americans are dense, but I didn't think I was that dense, to miss your meaning all together.

    I thought you were baiting a trap, so I responded in kind (as near as I could determine).

    If you were sincere, then I have to ask what did you mean with this post? Did you want a discussion on the purpose or value of blogging? Were you suggesting that if one receives no response, one should not make the attempt and quit blogging? (If the latter, I think Sir Hugh made the best retort with his last sentence.)

    What you can believe is that I do care about you, that I enjoy getting up your nose almost as much as you enjoy getting up mine and that I enjoy reading your posts whether I leave a remark or not. I read what you write because I always learn something from reading your words. It's like spending time in an art gallery, viewing paintings and sculptures - might not always 'get' what the artist means, but I can appreciate his/her form, style and execution.

    If, friend I have offended thee with my attempt at wit, I apologize. No offense was intended.

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  9. If I could have said it like Sir Hugh I would have done so many hours ago.

  10. The Crow: Is it really that difficult?

    Boiled down and removing the first person singular we have:

    Most people who blog are, essentially, looking for response. Being unpleasant ensures some kind of response but it's not friendly. Lists frequently generate responses but there's no literary pleasure in compiling a list. Threatening to commit video-ed suicide might get a reaction especially if one promised to do another post afterwards (hence, not to be taken seriously).

    Why didn't I write it baldly, as above? Because it's a fancy and I dressed it up - thus leading to a charge of pretentiousness from Anon. I didn't think the charge of pretentiousness stuck (although that's only my opinion) and he may have only been trying to get up my nose. It didn't matter, really; hence I gave him both barrels.

    Like many other bloggers I suspect I start posts with two aims: to say something (facts) in a way that entertains me and may entertain others (style). It doesn't always work but, hey, there's always tomorrow. Reduced to a personal message this post said: I'm looking for responses and am expressing this desire in what I hope is a new and original way. Since no one seems to have been entertained and all seem to have been misled (except for Joe who took a slightly different option) my score is probably 2/10.

    Some other points. I do not think Americans are dense (Reflect on the things I've posted about you and the Prague Polymath) but I have dined out on the differences between Brits and Yanks. A trap? That was a reasonable supposition and the front end of your reply had me going, I genuinely thought you meant it.

    What really worries me is when you ascribe honourable, even noble motives to me. Honestly, Crow, they don't exist. If you learn things from my post it's accidental; I suffered from teachers and have never wanted to become one. Most of the time I'm showing off: a little bit of French here, reference to a difficult novel there, some tricky modern music, a scattering of electronics. I have two skills: I'm curious about things and I know how to make a few facts go a long way. These two qualities were enough to sustain me as a journalist. And journalists are generally regarded as scum.

    These days I'm discovering that you need more than those two things to write a decent novel.

    I was not offended, though I was alarmed - briefly. But you were entitled to a bit of tit for tat.

    Ellena: I return regularly to your blog and it's still always snow. I'm glad to see you haven't been suffocated like a new-born lamb on the Brecon Beacons. As to Sir Hugh's last sentence it seems to lack a counterbalancing clause; I'm left waiting for the second shoe to drop.