Just a note

The funny thing about establishing a routine – setting a precedent, if you will – is that it sets a bar and an expectation of oneself. And when the outcome of that routine is in the public domain – like a blog – people will (hopefully) get attuned to that routine or rhythm, and then (possibly) those same people will notice when the routine is interrupted or paused.

I remain in awe of the folks I follow who are so good at maintaining the routines they set for themselves.

Thank you to those of you who reached out to say hello, to check all was well, or to send a little update relating back to a previous discussion. I’m really grateful that a) I have friends who noticed I’d strayed from the blogging path, and b) who wouldn’t think twice about dropping me a line to check in on me.

I realise that I have a circle of pals who follow me on Twitter and – poor sods – get multiple-times-daily updates on my thoughts and movements, and that I have an overlapping but separate group of friends who follow me pretty much exclusively via my blog. Both forms are reflections of the same person, but have very different cadences (and probably voices).

With all that said, the past few weeks have been simultaneously busy (with Life Stuff), and glacially unproductive (with ten days’ mandatory self-isolation after an NHS covid app exposure alert). The former provides much to write about and no time to do so; the latter plenty of time to write, but little to say. That said, I did try to keep a roughly daily diary of my self-isolation, but that sort of life-writing falls more squarely into the private diary bracket than the public blog. Those lines blur quite often, however.

I thought recently, that if I were a) more technically minded and b) a psychopath, I would like to write a parsing tool which surfaces blog posts where I’ve written “…of which more in a later post” (or similar), or emails (etc.) where I’ve written “I’ll keep you posted!”. These could serve as writing prompts.

As with so many of these things, it’s not the prompts I’m lacking – it’s that magnets-attracting-or-repelling sensation I get, where sometimes an idea pops into my head and I simply must sit down and send an hour hammering out words, or sometimes I think “I should write about that*”, but never do.

* where “write about that” means as much “tell my friends” as it does “spend the time turning an experience or notion into words for the practice of doing so”.

Sometimes those magnets snap together – usually after a decent coffee – but sometimes they just grumpily shrug away from each other, an idea completely adrift from anything to show for it.

I have recently started a few embryonic blog posts on whatever device or writing material was nearest at the time the inspiration struck, but I often find it so difficult to develop those ideas if the inspiration flies away before the words finish coming. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as an ex-colleague* used to say so often – and he was right, of course, and far better for me to set something down than nothing at all.

* this ex-colleague also recently reached out to say hello as a result of reading this blog while laid up recovering from a medical procedure, which was a pleasant surprise! (The catch-up, not the medical procedure.)

Anyway, this is just a note, like those cute little note cards often say, to say hello and I am fine and normal service will (I regret to inform you) be restored shortly.

If you’re after something to read, my buddy Matthew’s weekly newsletter* always contains several articles I want to read, along with just-the-right-amount of commentary to sell to me why I should click through. Or, where the clickthru is inevitable, to reveal the depths of both mine and Matthew’s obsession with a niche subject, which is always fun.

* it can be a blog if you want it to. It has an index page, and I bet there’s an RSS feed in there somewhere.

On the telly we’ve been enjoying the Great Pottery Throwdown series past and recent – the emotional reactions of judge Keith are one of the loveliest things to witness. And we’ve been rinsing through Rose Matafeo’s Starstruck which I knew I’d enjoy, but it’s still a rather nice surprise.

And that New Yorker interview with Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder is as great as everyone says – although you probably need to already be a fan of his sense of humour to want to read this, one of the only interviews he’s ever given.

Cheerio, and thanks.