The ‘dad’ bit evolved when he recognised a beach from my post about visiting my mother and the rest is history, as they say! As my own war damaged father has been gone for twenty five years I am enjoying the banter with this mysterious younger man. ‘Younger’ you ask … yes, I believe that’s his secret. That he is younger than most of us [wink wink]
the gravatar he uses .. maybe his grandfather?
Tell me a bit about yourself?
Allow me to start by reminding you that I am a pathological liar. Anything that I say should therefore be treated with suspicion, especially if it shines a good light upon me. On a personal level I am a bit introverted and secretive. Not that any of those secrets are all that interesting, to be (briefly) honest. I think that the withholding of information encourages an interest that would not otherwise exist. So you will forgive me, I hope, if I remain a little obscure.
I have a strong interest in writing that came from my mother, who was a great reader and analyst of writing and of art in general and who encouraged the same in me. Strangely enough it was something that she later came to regret on occasions when I fell into some deep dark holes of melancholy. “It’s those damn books he reads!” she would say. My paternal grandfather was a professional writer so it should be in my blood I suppose, somewhere. My lack of progress in the field suggests that I may have been adopted, though.
My teachers at school, incidentally, felt that I showed little promise in the study of English but that I would be better advised to focus on football. They were proved, at least partially, to be wrong because I didn’t really get very far in football.
in his younger years … making him about sixty
I have never given up hope though of one day finding my own voice, and I have always thought writing to be a very noble pursuit. As well as this, since adolescence, I have imagined that writing (or pretending to be a writer) might be a good way to seduce women. Personal experience suggests however that compliments and chocolates are rather more reliable enticements.
Your hair looks lovely today, by the way, Kate.
Tell us about your blogging?
Is that what I am doing? It was never really my intention. I have made a fairly big deal on my humble site about my entries into writing competitions and, in particular, the NYC Midnight challenges (the judges of this competition may well be reincarnations of my old English teachers, as far as I can tell).
In an attempt to confront my own shortcomings in these humiliating events I began to read a lot of more successful entries and delved a little deeper into the authors themselves. I discovered that many of them had their own sites (frequently with WordPress) and decided to give that a go myself. I suppose I hoped that it might magically transform me into a better writer. It hasn’t!
I didn’t expect to so suddenly find myself welcomed into and be cheerfully participating in that digital community. If that is what is called ‘blogging’, then I may be developing a minor addiction to it.
But it is a very recent thing for me – just a few months, really. So I am still finding my feet. The actual output has been a bit of a surprise. I find myself writing a lot of silly poetry in response to other people’s thoughts. I’m not sure where that has come from or where it is going, for I have not written anything of the sort for forty years or so, until recently. I concede that calling it ‘poetry’ is a bit disrespectful to the art, though. ‘Stuff that sometimes rhymes’ might be a better description.
What blogging tips can you share?
As I said, I am just starting myself so I don’t think I am qualified to give advise. But I suppose that it depends on what any given individual is trying to get out of it. Most of it, for me, is a sort conversation with myself that others may choose to eavesdrop on, so I feel no obligation to push it in any particular direction. But for anyone who is seeking to establish a wide audience I would advise brevity as people have short attention spans. If you have a point to make then make it quickly. It doesn’t pay to ramble on too much. But now I am beginning to ramble on …..
What do you most enjoy about blogging?
I have made some unexpected connections. You, Kate, for example. And I think it has increased my awareness of the diversity of expression that is out there in the ether. It has been, to some extent, quite a humbling experience. As a fairly solitary individual I have found the interaction with others far more fulfilling than I might have expected.
Has your blog led to opportunities for you?
Absolutely not. And I can’t really see that changing which is fine, because I don’t think that I am looking for opportunities. I have reached an age when I am beginning to avoid them, in fact.
his spiritual place of peace painted by a friend
What methods do you use to expand your readership?
I don’t really make any effort to expand what is a very modest readership. I don’t throw ‘like’s’ or ‘follows’ about in an attempt to be ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ back. If I say that I ‘like’ something that you have done then I really mean it and I will try to say so rather than just push a button.
Besides that I feel an obligation to anyone who has done me the great honour of paying attention to try to return that attention to a degree. That would be impossible if the numbers got out of hand. But I’m not trying to discourage people either.
For I am not immune to the lure of popularity or, more accurately, the fear of its opposite. I do live in constant fear of offending others, particularly those that are going out on a limb in the creative process and exposing themselves. Frequently I see things that to me, don’t really work and I think, “Gee …. If you only just shortened up this sentence, or used this word, or cut this bit out, or ….”. I think it, but I never say it. It would just seem to be too cruel. Besides ….. who am I to judge?
Time management can be a challenge, how do you stay disciplined and organised?
I don’t, I am both highly undisciplined and highly disorganised. I remember Kurt Vonnegut talking about his brother, who was some sort of science academic. I may have the details a bit wrong but essentially Kurt was visiting him in his office one day and made note of the mass of scattered paperwork and general disarray on the desk. “If you think that’s a mess,” his brother said, before pointing to his own forehead, “then you ought to take a look up here.” That’s me, though a dumber version.
I do rather like the random nature of the whole exercise. I don’t think I have any readers pining for my next contribution or worrying that I haven’t thought of anything to say for a week or so. I would not like to be constantly writing about a specific subject such as food or travel. I enjoy the freedom of being able to express whatever comes into my head even if it makes no sense to me. Especially if it makes no sense to me in fact.
There are no rules about all this are there?
I’m certainly not looking for any feelings of extra responsibility this late in life.
Which is your favourite post and why?
I don’t know, but it certainly wouldn’t be one of my own. I don’t think that I can pick any one out of the very many I have read that have both amused and amazed me. Speaking as a fugitive from the truth I can say that I am frequently disarmed by the honesty of others. Either by that or by their superior skills of deception.
What has been your most popular post?
My experience with writing competitions has taught me that the creations of which I am most proud are generally the least well received. I think it’s fair to say that I have created nothing that has taken on any sort of ‘viral’ personality. But, in answer to your question, I have just done some poking around the statistics and find that, popularity wise, a post entitled ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ is a clear winner. I do find that a bit surprising, I suppose. It came with a picture of a (tastefully) naked woman. Perhaps that’s what got it over the line.
Share something funky about yourself?
Funky? Gee, I don’t know. ‘Funky’ is a term I associate with wine that has gone a bit weird with age, so I suppose it describes me quite well overall.