Tag: blogging

Press Statement

It has been brought to my attention that a nomad in cyberspace has published nothing for more than a week. I have ordered an internal inquiry into this unfortunate situation and will leave no stone unturned in my absolute determination to find out what has gone wrong.

I take full responsibility for any failures, of course, and my first action will be to relieve them of their failed responsibilities. There is no room for dead wood on this blogsite, I can assure you, and if anyone isn’t pulling their weight they can sling their hook. No department is beyond the scope of this root-and-branch investigation, from Research & Development to Concept Realisation – wherever the blockage is and whoever is causing it, I’ve got your number.

We at nomad are very proud of our product and can only apologise for this ongoing hold-up scenario in new-post production. We are sorry. Those responsible, when we find them, will be even more sorry.

Let me be clear. There will be no more wonderings – or wanderings, for that matter, zig-zag or otherwise. From now on it’s going to be all straight lines and sharp corners. We owe it to our loyal customer base to deliver and deliver hard. Hard and fast. Hard, fast and furious.

I’m furious. I’m furious that this has happened … or rather, not happened on my watch. Let me be clear. I may have taken my eye off the ball, believing in all good faith that those I had entrusted with the job of running with it weren’t kicking it into the bushes while I was … or rather, wasn’t watching.

But let me be clear. Now that I’ve got the damn ball rolling again we’ll be up and running in no time. Just need to drain the swamp and bring in some fresh blood. So to speak.

One thing’s for sure. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve still got a job to do.

 

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Image: http://www.heritageinstitute.com

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Troll Alert!

“Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.”

This quotation from Scott Fitzgerald’s novel Tender Is The Night is really resonating with me at the moment. In recent posts I’ve explored ideas about how improvisation and originality could counter a spreading culture of fixed thinking and received opinion. Cyberspace has become a virtual battlefield where a multitude of rival ideologies compete for our attention.

That some may be indisciplined and uncivilized doesn’t really lessen the thrust of Fitzgerald’s maxim. It may even speak louder in our internet era.

As social animals we naturally internalise cultural conflict but I suspect our solitary online existence makes it harder for us to process so much disparate input. Simply put: these days, when do we get to talk stuff over? Evolution has made us sophisticated interpreters of face-to-face interactions but are we quite so clever when it comes to mysterious coded messages left by individuals and/or groups whose facial expressions or body language – and therefore true motivations – we can’t read?

Nothing new, you might say, it’s a problem that’s been around at least as long as printing presses. But the provenance of books, newspapers and magazines is pretty easy to uncover. Checks and balances around conventional publishing have grown up over a period of almost 700 years. By comparison, the internet is a mere whippersnapper run wild who can only communicate through mysterious signs and signals in a strange language all its own.

Mowgli, maybe? But I’m reminded of another Rudyard Kipling tale, from his Just So Stories, where a little girl writes a picture message to her mum which is hilariously misinterpreted – much to the discomfort of the foreign gentleman who has kindly offered to deliver it. Highly recommended, if you’ve never read it – just click on How The First Letter Was Written.

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And while I’m on the subject of stories for children, I think that the following short video offers a tidy little reminder of online etiquette rules. Not that you need reminding, of course … being a fine, upstanding and wholly honourable member of the blogging community! But you may find it handy when crossing the little wooden bridge over the stream to the lush green pastures beyond – trip trap! – only to hear a deep, gruff, grumbly voice beneath you …

The Blogger Blubs: a story in 100 words

Five days into 2018 and so far … nothing!

The muse must have gone back to live with her mother leaving a zombie gazing at a blank white screen, silently screeching Type something … anything!

QWERTY

A monkey could do better.

What of all those noble resolutions? Craft … Create … Communicate …

Crap!

Is there nothing to say? Has it all been said? 26 letters on the keyboard and not even the first row completed!

UIOP

Uuuurrrggh, kidnapped by Trappists and forced to take a vow of silence!

Wah-Wah-Wah, worse … it’s beating yourself up in a padded cell while clichés clash in the night!

 

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Image: Vanity & Lies

Swings and Roundabouts

Two years is a long time to spend in the blogosphere and I find my thoughts tracking  back over those 211 posts – a little over one a week by my reckoning – to consider what, if anything, they signify. Worth remembering, I think, what I wanted to achieve – here’s a mash-up of the first few posts:

My voyage of exploration begins. I want to recapture the spirit of childhood, when we would set out from home with the deliberate aim of getting hopelessly lost …

I find it sad that children today don’t occupy the streets and open spaces like we did when I was young. There have always been risks in such freedom but we made a habit of going around with our friends, rarely if ever alone. We knew the dangers and were able to avoid them. So many kids were out and about, there was safety in numbers. With more adults around, too, we behaved ourselves most of the time because we didn’t want to get into trouble. In this way, we learned how to take responsibility for ourselves.

Sitting alone in your bedroom is not a healthy substitute, especially when you factor in the online risks and bad cyberspace influences that would shock many parents. It’s a case of out of the frying pan into the fire, I’m afraid. Let’s make the open air a place for children again, providing proper facilities and a sensible but not stifling adult presence. It would be quite a challenge but I can’t think of a better way to create the communities of the future.

I love the idea that when you start saying something, you don’t know where you’re going with it …

Hmm, not sure all those lofty declarations of freedom have borne fruit. More often than not, my writing is tightly controlled: acrostic poems, haikus, hundred-word stories. Such constraints enable me to turn out posts on a semi-regular basis but there is a danger that they can become somewhat glib and formulaic. I’m wondering what became of my desire to go off-piste once in a while, starting stuff I wasn’t sure I could finish with my adult dignity and amour propre still intact!

Two years ago Obama was still in the White House and the United Kingdom still in the European Union. The future – always glimpsed through a glass darkly – at least showed signs of being recognisably and reassuringly like the past. But now all bets are off. I’ll risk a wild metaphor and say we are adrift in a sea of raw emotion clutching at puny straws of reason. At times like these, I sometimes think, only the heightened language of poetry can hit the spot:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
                                        from The Second Coming by WB Yeats
 Anyone dismayed by the surfacing of ugly prejudice in their own societies will find the poem’s final imagery disturbing:
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds …
… And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
A while back I created an imaginary town called Bafflesby because I had a strong urge to send up the sort of blinkered thinking that threatened values I grew up with:  the likes of tolerance, empathy, clarity, openness.
Just recently I’ve found it hard to invent new scenarios because it turns out that truth really is stranger than fiction. What with all these alternative facts and all this fake news, truth is a now a character in a costume drama. Remember those cheesy sword-and-sandal epics where the Romans wore wrist-watches?
Truth is now so strange that complete strangers come up to me and say, You couldn’t make it up! It’s true. I can’t. If I tried, it would be like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Actually I’m hoping he’ll get bored running around and come sneaking back home for some hay and a nice rub-down. In the meantime, I’ll read Private Eye to discover how to poke fun when things stop being fun.
I suppose most countries have satirical magazines which probe wrong-doing and parody folly. What about those in your neck of the woods? It would be good to hear about any.
Private Eye’s covers are an art-form in their own right …
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Laughter is the best medicine, they say. They would say that, wouldn’t they, as it’s also much cheaper? But I don’t want to end this post on a cynical note. I played with my little granddaughter today and we just followed our noses, making it up as we went along. You don’t need toys when the whole world is yours for the taking.

Watching a bit of telly is OK, though, when invention begins to flag. And YouTube is a great way to explore past and present together. She loves the Bill & Ben colour animations – though not the ponderous old black-and-white string-puppet versions we had to endure. But I did get her to watch this little gem from back in the day, when grown-ups could poke fun at themselves without losing their dignity … and we both laughed like drains!

New Year Resolution (Late Entrant)

After a spell away from home with limited internet access, I’ve been catching up on other WordPress posts like crazy.

I follow more sites than follow me – a legacy of my early and perhaps cheeky efforts to gain readers by sending people links to my posts – although the gap has narrowed with time. But keeping up with them all means less time spent on my own posts, not to mention my own family! (They’d rather I didn’t, anyway … mention them, I mean!)

Visiting a large number of sites in a short time is like keeping a whole bunch of plates spinning on poles. It’s very easy to lapse into skim-reading, looking for hooks on which to hang witty, wise and pertinent replies … although if I have ever sent you a witty, wise and pertinent reply – or even an impertinent one – you have my solemn word that I read every single one of yours!

This time, with jet-lag threatening my concentration, I decided only to view posts from bloggers who have replied to my posts in the recent past. And I’m very glad I did. They were without exception witty, wise and pertinent to my current concerns. On my wavelength, you might say, tuned into the way I was feeling. My only question is, why the hell haven’t I done this before?

My days of chasing new readers are done. And anyway, too many of my more recent followers are concerned with self-promotion rather than self-examination. Ha, you may say, he can talk after confessing to shameless marketing of himself as a new blogger! But from now on I intend to develop more two-way correspondences with fellow seekers after the truth. In a fun way. Blogging is fun, right?

 

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Image: http://iquitagain.com/a-year-on-purpose/283-too-many-spinning-plates