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, 29 September 2015

A small death

Stella's deblogging, joining the sad group, HHB, Julia, RR (not me - another one) and Plutarch, whose names exist only as memorials on my Followers list.

Blogging's day is done. And it's not surprising. Almost everyone fancies being read; even - for a while - fancies doing the writing. But soon the blank screen threatens in the same way a virgin sheet of paper did threaded round the typewriter roller.

Don't for a minute think I'm being superior. Once I cooked, not now. And gardening is a steady agonising climb to my personal Calvary. I write out of habit and because age has despatched other interesting options. I understand. When I wrote for a living unwritten articles sometimes felt like a loaded gun pointed at my temple. Not pleasant.

Some say they're "written out", which isn't true but it's understandable. More often it's a case of coming to the end of easy, accessible subjects. Thereafter dreaming up subjects becomes hard work, followed by the hard work needed to write the stuff. On top of this is the lost pleasure of seeing writing unfold in a way that wasn't - until then - predictable.

Because, of course, writing has a dark side. The results may widen a social circle, but the act of writing shrinks it. The umbilicus becomes the centre of the writer's world. Writers become smart-arse and - worst of all - pedagogic. Feebly they encourage others to enter the noisome dog-kennel they have created.

I'm sorry to lose Stella as I was the others. In effect they stepped away from an occupation which offers little true comfort. Writing is a hair-shirt but without any true justification.

21 comments:

Avus said...

I agree with your ruminations, RR. When I started blogging (2006)I wondered,"why am I doing this?" But it became enjoyable and liking photography I could combine this with it. Thus it became an additional, pleasurable reason to take out the camera during my travels and see things that I wanted to write about.
You are probably correct the reason behind it is that most people like to appear in print, but one does meet new blogcompanions and it does increase interests.
My list of blog contacts, like yours and many others I guess,has lots lying fallow (only one confirmed dead).
Even HHB, my daughter, has given up on it. A shame because, with her artistic nature she was an interesting and enjoyable writer and saw little things in great detail.
Perhaps new digital media like Facebook and Twitter have taken over. I subscribe to neither, preferring the "spaciousness" of a blog. I shall keep on blogging all the while some return comments keep it fed. Although sometimes I know that "blank paper in the typewriter roller" feeling.

Avus said...

PS. No hyphens! (OK, just one exclamation mark here.)

Blonde Two said...

I have only felt the dreaded 'bloggers' block' once and, to solve the issue, wrote a post about it. I worry sometimes if I have become obsessed; cataloguing the events in my life as 'bloggable', 'private' or 'boring'. I also worry that I am being arrogant to think that people want to read about what I am doing; I guess they would stop if they found things lacking. Do other bloggers look at numbers of readers with concern? I do.

I find other people's blogs fascinating (Avus, yours is an example), but rarely find time to read as many as I would like to. While I was in New Zealand, I was selling the 'blogging' ideal to other people, whom I felt had important things to say. Maybe I should read more of them, be more supportive.

For me, the very best thing about blogging (second to the writing exercise) is the people I have met and the friendships I have formed (some virtual and some face to face). Avus' question about social media is interesting; in the World-of-Blonde, the blog and Twitter go hand in hand; but each would also work separately. My Mum made me laugh recently by bemoaning Facebook and saying that she 'Wished we could all go back to the old fashioned method, and email each other.' I guess we all have to roll with the times, we might as well do our best to surf the blogging waves while we are doing so!

Ellena said...

For a moment I thought you were going to stop blogging also and was not happy about it.
I have reached a spot in life where I have much left to do and short time to do it.
It takes me hours to write a post and almost as much time to make a short comment on posts I read. Very frustrating situation when one has things to say.
Oh, 10 o'clock already. I got up at seven and all I have to show for the 3 hours awake is having made a coffee, looked through 3 newspapers, read three posts, 6 minute walk up and down the hallway and a short 'phone' call. Off to start my day by making my bed. See you, no, read you again!

Lucy said...

Blimey Ellena, your morning's activities are a positive whirl compared to most of mine.

I was led to reflect again on these matters on the recent death of a blogging acquaintance of long standing; she was off the beaten track, rarefied, earnest and unsociable, a very intense and brilliant poet and photographer, who never commented elsewhere and rarely answered comments, the contact was entirely one-way, but who was certainly one of my very earliest and most esteemed inspirations. She always left her dashboard open, it seems, and her husband, a hitherto shadowy figure, seemed to find it a comfort to be able to write about her there after she died, and to share that part of her with her readers.

I still want to go on blogging, whether because of the friends I maintain through it or out of a need for self-expression (if indeed the two things are altogether separable), just not quite as much.

Blonde's categorising of life's events is interesting and recognisable. I suppose when I started I considered it necessary to make as much as I could bloggable, and really it's a bit of a relief that I no longer do; meeting the demands it placed on both oneself and one's readers couldn't really be sustained. Yet that habit seems well established with me now; much of the time I've got half a mind whether or how I might blog about this or that, even if I don't do it.

When we were away, I took few photos, and no notes, which would have been unthinkable at one time with such a wealth of potential material. Largely I felt I just wanted to enjoy the experience without having to commit it to record and make something out of it, to kiss the joy as it flies rather. Also I find while I might have the impulse thus to 'frame' things, I often feel wearied by the effort required in editing them - photos or writing - afterwards, and know that it's better not to bite off more than I can chew. Yet on one or two occasions made a positive decision that a certain moment or place was bloggable, and tried to act and think accordingly (except then the camera battery ran out).

While blogging sociability has clearly declined, and a number of people who were once fixtures on the circuit have disappeared, I rather think there's a hard core of us who will stick around, like old friends who might no longer want to hang out into the small hours smoking and drinking and discussing the meaning of life, but can still be relied upon to look in for a cup of tea and a quick chat about nothing in particular, which may be just as important and certainly healthier. I don't always linger and comment even on my closest blog-friends blogs (again, I used to feel a strong obligation to do so in the early days, and it was exhausting), and I don't expect to see them every time at mine, but I know we'll look in on each other sooner or later.

I wouldn't be too sure we've seen the last of Stella.

I think I probably really am more or less poemed out, at least for the foreseeable. I hesitate to express a reason for this, but it seems to be the case.

Beth said...

Blowing you a cool kiss from Iceland, just to let you know I'm reading even while on vacation. For some of us, writing and reading blogs is just engraved in our days.

Beth said...

Blowing you a cool kiss from Iceland, just to let you know I'm reading even while on vacation. For some of us, writing and reading blogs is just engraved in our days.

Beth said...

Blowing you a cool kiss from Iceland, just to let you know I'm reading even while on vacation. For some of us, writing and reading blogs is just engraved in our days.

Anonymous said...

Hallo BB (you will always Barrett Bonden to me),
I may not be blogging, but I still drift around the edges and pop by to read about my favourite people!
Love HHB

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: I was sorry to lose HHB but glad to read (further down; under Anonymous) in her own words she still drifts by around the edges. As to hyphens, it wasn't a criticism - just a point at which hyphens were needed (ie, turning a phrase into an adjective) and which I cannot now identify. Glad also to see you got there in the end.

Blonde Two: I agree about friends. A willingness to go to the trouble of writing a comment - especially a long one like several here - might well be the definition of a blog friendship. And for it to endure is a further blessing.

Perhaps my post was just too pessimistic. I should have found space to mention the positive side - the sudden appearance of a statement which links up hands and emotions across cyberspace. I don't think you should worry about being readable or interesting; I for one was attracted by an individual voice which has continued to develop over the months.

Ellena: I've said it before, now I'll say it again but in a slightly different way. Your posts are to me always worth the effort you put into them. You too have an entirely personal voice and you also have the gift of being able to create something out of very little, something that can carry me along by virtue of its style alone. This is a unique gift, please, please nurture it.

Lucy: If a comment is an expression of friendship, a long comment must surely be evidence of a profound friendship. Which may be arrogant on my part but I am also taking into account the things you have said and the way you have said them. I appreciate the effort, really I do, because on top of the written stuff there are reminders of corporeal Lucy: for instance, the moment when VR and I, waiting at Ashford International Station, saw you striding towards us in that strangely sterile hall bringing with you smiling confirmation that Joe would get the send-off he deserved.

Blogging can present friendship problems. Absence can be as eloquent as presence; a week or two slips by and one starts to worry. In my case always: was it something I said? But then the rewards are worth some hassle and I'm not complaining.

Here's to the Hard Core Gang.

"Poemed out"? Perhaps. But might it be a period just for reading rather than composing?

Beth: Cool kiss received and appreciated. I could have tidied up the two superfluities but forgive me for letting them stand. The extra emphasis may have have been a techno-accident, but I'm greedily taking it at face value.

Anon: Your tone was always Perth not just Australian. Memories are raised: Blue Dog, the photo of your bookshelf, the early morning walks. Nice to know you're still out there.

Avus said...

I hope all these confirmations from old friends (even my now blogless daughter) help to affirm that these interactions will continue, RR

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Let me add a toast to blogging and the overcoming of its side-effect, bloggishness - the state of sluggishness and slogging which induces blog somnolence. The injection of regular doses of comments, supportive, challenging, interesting and even provocative comments is, as we all know, a sure cure. Thank you RR for your generous contributions to the comments-pool and apologies for my own failings in this department. Must do better.

Blonde Two said...

Would it be permissible here, to raise a question that has been bothering me?
I am going to anyway ... never did like the permission thing.
My worry concerns the 'end'; not just the blogging end, but the actual end, when coils become mortal and shuffle away . How should that be communicated to readers? Should it be communicated to readers? Is there a protocol? In my case I am sure that Blonde One would do me proud, but what about solo bloggists? How would we all know?

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Blonde Two, that question has entered my mind too, especially since I'm a solo bloggist. Some time ago I actually googled the question and found that there was a website, maybe more than one, where somebody was offering a service to solve the problem. Unfortunately I didn't save the link nor can I remember what the service was offering exactly. Maybe further googling would be useful?

Roderick Robinson said...

All: I should have made one thing clear: I myself will go on blogging until my audience is reduced to the internet equivalent of the Speaking Clock. For one thing I need a fixed location to publicise my novels, for another cyberspace friendship is perfect in that it avoids failings inherent in face-to-face friendships.

Avus: You're right; friendly re-affirmation offers the same comforts as gluhwein on a day you find yourself ski-ing in the rain - an alien world-turned-upside-down experience which brings new dangers, expecially to the ankle.

Natalie: The string of adjectives, if they truly apply, are born out of my self-assertion: an attempt to say that which no one else has said. The odd thing is that when one of my comments does actually mesh with someone else's, I am inexplicably gratified. Go figure.

Blonde Two/Natalie: An excellent question since nothing should be beyond discussion. During my blogging two close people died: one was Diane VR's sister, the other was Joe whom I now prefer to identify by his earlier blogonym, Plutarch. Here's how I responded:

Diane:

http://bbworkswell.blogspot.co.uk/2011_04_23_archive.html

http://bbworkswell.blogspot.co.uk/2011_05_08_archive.html

Plutarch (Joe)

http://ldptonedeaf.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/goodbye-exhilaration.html

http://ldptonedeaf.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/joe-goodbye-exhilaration-2.html

None of these four tributes is an obituary as such. However they give you an idea of what I felt. In the unlikely event that either of you pre-decease me I would in West Riding argot be heart-slufted and would post something (perhaps more than one thing) which I cannot presently envisage. But the examples above allow you to decide whether or not my tribute would be ambiguous and to opt out pre-posthumously if you wish.

In the more likely event that I do the pre-deceasing I have to say there'll be no warning, always assuming I have the time. I've pondered this and feel warnings are tacky. I doubt VR would fill in the gap - not from lack of feeling but from lack of techno-knowledge. I suppose my brother Sir Hugh (blog: Conrad Walks) might weigh in, so if Tone Deaf is silent for a month or so, it might be worth checking with him.

Neither of my daughters (Professional Bleeder and Occasional Speeder) nor my granddaughter (Bella) do blogs, but all have smartphones and may find ways of communicating with you. The great thing is that these situations will almost certainly ensure delay and you'll be relieved from getting in touch with Interflora or making a cash transfer to the Society of Broken-Down and/or Defunct Industrial Journalists.

If by some miracle you learn of my extinction in time, the plan is for the ceremony to be Humanist, the wine to be reasonably expensive pinot noir and for Brahms' Alto Rhapsody to be played. But here are two caveats: once dead the corpse carries no authority and the living may choose to re-do the plan, also Hereford is a long way from everywhere and the journey will almost certainly over-face you. Feel completely free to listen to a late quartet instead.

Avus said...

Give a near, blog aware friend or relation access (passwords , etc.)to your blog dashboard with instructions to publish your demise. This I shall do to my daughter.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Oh. Now I'm feeling very sad.
For you, for me, for all of us who have to go, sometime. Don't tel me it's not sad because it is. Tragic.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Well, I've just found a link and believe it or not, Facebook has actually pre-empted our question (if you happen to be on Facebook) See this link:
http://businessetc.thejournal.ie/how-to-set-legacy-contact-on-facebook-2253701-Aug2015/

Blonde Two said...

Trust FaceArse to think of it first, although I oddly had a 'friend' request from a deceased colleague the other day. I presented me with a short moral dilemma.

I too feel sad now; although, it might gratify you (and embarrass me) Robbie if I tell you that my head has written a scene at the start of a novel, in which a young female blogger attends the funeral of her older blograde (other options for blog-comrade welcome). I look forward to the wine!

Rouchswalwe said...

Huzzah! Here's to the "hard core gang" ... I admit, I've posted a little less this year; however, be assured, I am in it for the long haul. I've fallen head over heals with a T-RAV, and so my adventures sometimes steer me away from blogging. But I'm here. Daily.

"I have reached a spot in life where I have much left to do and short time to do it." My dear Ellena, I'm here and thankful for every one of your posts.

Robbie! You're one of the first who commented on my posts, and I read every one of your posts.

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Nah, that's still tacky.

Natalie: Sorry about the sadness, that wasn't intended. Just a hint of realism. I don't do Facebook, I fear.

Blonde Two: Everyone's writing novels, aren't they? Hope your head's book moves on a bit. A Humanist do allows impromptu contributions; you will be well placed for one of these since you've only known what I fondly imagine to be my best side: the written one. The shambling hulk will be decently hidden in one of those eco-coffins - perhaps knitted by Lucy.

RW (zS): Thank you for celebrating Ellena's timid but nevertheless established genius. I am pleased I was one of the first to comment on f├╝nffingerpl├Ątzebut it was inevitable: you, like everyone here, spoke and speak with an individual voice