I so don’t know if this is a good idea.
My friend Rob from Bristol, who lectures in something arcane and scientific and was kicked off the “Boffins” edtion of “The Weakest Link” in round three, e-mailed me after the last update to my web-site (that’d be in 1986, then).
“You should blog.” he said.
I said I wasn’t sure if my writing could sustain the off the cuff spontinaeity which I understood an online diary to require.
He pointed out that there was nothing to stop me editing stuff before I posted it.
I said I’d think about it.
He also suggested that I had, in fact, being blogging for years.
Meanwhile, I had started using “Instant messenger” for the first time. Everyone in my new office uses I.M. It saves them the bother of actually having to talk to their co-workers. Once I had it installed, I started to use it to talk to friends, as well. It is astonishing how modern technology has come up with so many ways of wasting time at work.
Another one of my friends, Louise, who has to the best of my knowledge never been on The Weakest Link, suggested that my I.M messeges were “like Delerium on a butterfly day”. When pressed, she said she thought this was probably a good thing.
What had already occurred to me was that all those round-the-houses-and-cleverly-get-back-to-the-starting point essays and jump-between-several-different-points-via-double-carriage-returns-and-hope-the-reader-gets-the-message articles which I post to the webpage take me rather a long time to write. This can be observed by the fact that
1: By the time I’d got my thoughts down on Siegfried the English National Opera were rehearsing Gotterdamerung
2: The Christmas piece, which really needed to go out before Easter 2005, was pretty obviously rough around the edges. Unfinished, even. One correspondent concluded that I was not a true Christian because the piece, er, contained spelling mistakes.
(Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. Just because you broke the habit of beginning every third sentence with “However” DOES NOT mean you are now free to drop “of course” into every line. Especially if you are going to use “of course” to introduce pieces of information which are fantastically obscure and/or highly contentious. And just because you made a lot of notes before starting deson’t mean it’s all right to jump-cut from sentence to sentence and indeed from subject to subject without inserting links. Of course, neither the contribution made by Stan Lee nor Paul Mcartney should be underestimated.)
However, the truth is, of course (STOP IT!) that I am a radically disorganised writer. Everything I write starts out as "delerious" as my I.M messages. First drafts go:
On the whole, I’d let the hooray-Henry’s carry on fox hunting if they really want to. Was that ever a movie? One can imagine Kenneth Williams in the role of the squire on a horse (“ooo, missus, tally ho”) and a certain amount of innuendo from Sid James (“you are a foxy lady”), althought I don’t think that they ever really got into that kind of social-satire. Which reminds me, wasn’t the Simpsons good last night?
Which means that for every thousand words that spills out, without much effort, onto the page, I spend two evenings trying to wrestle it into some kind of order. I do, in fact, have 5,000 words on my hard-drive spiralling around the fox-hunting issue (among other things), but I am not entirely sure that I can face the prospect of working it up into a finished pamphlet.
And there is also at the back of my mind the niggling thought: “Is this process of working over, and working over, the same piece over and over again actually removing any vestige of spontinaeity and wit from it. Might I not just as well post the first draft and have done with it? "
I shall post first drafts here more or less as write them, however far I wonder of the point.
I shall edit for typos and libel, but not to improve the sense or style – not, for example, to remove that horribly self-conscious example of the Friends “so” in line 1?
I’ll give it to, say, the end of February and see if I think it is worth carrying on with.