Had I posted last week it would have been the 301st post since I started writing this blog, nearly seven years ago. As it was I was undone by a trip south, via a monastery in Yorkshire, to run a workshop for a London communications agency and spend a little time each with three of my four children.
Come Thursday evening I was, in local parlance, fair wabbit and I had to work on the train on the way home next day, to which I awoke with the startling news that on just over 20% of the vote, Ruth Davidson had won the Holyrood election for the Tories – or so it appeared from the reporting in most mainstream media.
Anyway, what with general exhaustion plus a dose of election hysteria, the blog went by the board. It’s odd, missing a post. It leaves me feeling that the rhythm of my life has been quite deeply disrupted.
I’ve become so used to it, to the pressure that mounts on a Thursday afternoon, to the slog of actually writing it at the end of the day (a self-inflicted habit but one I seem incapable of changing), to the eventual satisfaction of having plucked something to say out of what ever more frequently feels like thin air, to the anticipation on Friday morning as I watch the readership figures climbing and finally – the real payoff – to the pleasure of reading any comments that happen to come in. I’ve become used to it, and to the love-hate relationship I have with it.
I’m not sure that I entirely trust the WordPress analytics but they tell me that last year the blog was read in 102 countries. 20 of those boasted one solitary reader. In another 45 there were 10 or less. Well, at least they could discuss it, if they knew who they were. I’m particularly proud of Myanmar (4), Gabon (2) and Guadeloupe (1). Seriously though, how on earth do people in such places come across it? And what on earth do they make of the random ruminations of a 66-year-old Scotsman?
I write to be read of course, but I write primarily to figure things out for myself. On that subject, I’ll be absent again for the next couple of weeks as we help, I hope, a group in Spain to figure some things out for themselves. On our The Stories We Tell residential we’ll be asking them to write – along with a lot of other things – because writing is such a powerful tool. Not everyone can draw, or play act, or make music or dance, but everyone can string words together on paper, especially when it’s in the knowledge that they’re not for an audience. With the right prompting those words can pack a powerful punch.
Now I must go and pack a suitcase. To my readers in Myanmar I say, min-ga-la-ba. To everyone else I say, See you in three weeks.
If you’re interested in a writing tune-up, we have another Dark Angels taster day scheduled for Friday 10 June in Edinburgh – details on the website here.
Greetings from your reader in sunny Tenterden, Kent. Enjoy Spain.
Enjoy Sardinia! Funny how you think anyone can string a few words together. So many people think they cannot write, just as many think they cannot draw, or play music, or dance, but surely anyone can dance (we are born moving) or anyone can learn to draw or play music. And I guess you think anyone can learn to write well. I guess we all have our natural preferences, or talents.
O I so wish to be your reader in Guadaloupe – it’s such a gorgeous tropical paradise!
Jamie: you didnt put this in, but I thought I comment why I read you. The content is fun – but I especially like the tone: you’re so good-hearted, and it really comes over. Then there’s also that I’ve been up to your special village, on that very special river – and I get a little mental trip into the woods around you whenever I ‘hear’ your voice. So, many thanks for that!
You might also like to know that I have, at last, got a publisher for my book on Iran. It wont be out til Sept 2017, but at least it’s moving forward. Best wishes