Friday, 7 January 2011

Slight navel-gazing

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Sometimes I feel this blog is rather like a Rolf Harris show: can you guess what it is yet? Despite the fact that I despise the mandatory making of resolutions on the stroke of midnight at New Year's Eve, of course in the back of my mind the thought lurks: blog must must must be new and improved. This notion is entirely inchoate; since I do not know if this endeavour is a bird or a plane, I am not sure what form improvement would take.

I have a scratching yearning for definition. I think: is it a diary, a commonplace book, a place for facts or ranting or setting the record straight? Should I just concentrate on one discrete thing, like politics or food or literature?

It's all nonsense really, because it is what it is. This sounds like a massive cop-out, and it might be, but I think I am going to allow it. I think (am not yet quite sure) that I like a new medium which is so elastic. In my enduring drive against the evils of perfectionism, I think that I like that some days it's not madly good. That feels oddly interesting to me.

There is an element of serpents eating their own tails in all this. First rule of blogging: you should not talk about blogging. Oh, oh, the self-indulgent dullness. But then all writing is self-indulgent in its strict sense. Of course one is striving for the one shining sentence that might surprise and delight, but there is no pure altruism in that. What writers hide, under their crumpled clothes and serious spectacles, is a mad desire for love. It is not a disinterested business, sending words out into the world for their own sheer sake. There is an element of the obsessive in it; there is the adoration of  language and ideas, if I can say that without being sent onto the pretention step for life. I can dream of the semi-colon for hours. I would certainly write even if I never got paid for it, because it is a bit like a disease, that way. But every writer I know also yearns for applause and prizes.

I think that probably all blogging does have an element of self-indulgence in it, and I do not think that invalidates the enterprise. I do slightly wish that I knew what it was all for, and the idiot perfection genie in me does insist that if only I thought a little harder I might be able to hit on the ideal formula. For the moment though, like old man river, I shall just keep rolling along.

Thank goodness that there is the raving beauty of the ladyships, because I start to think that any enterprise with these faces in it cannot be all bad:

7th Jan 10

7th Jan 12

7th Jan 9


7th Jan 13

And since I seem to be on a bit of a what the hell jag, here they are, having fun going about their doggy business:

7th Jan 4

7th Jan 5

7th Jan 6

One of the things I like very much about these dogs is that they wag their tails when they walk. They are not hysterical grinning canines; quite a lot of the time they are quiet and contemplative. But the moment they are out walking, the tails begin to wag, as if the mere fact of ambulation is something to be celebrated. When I watch them, I think: perhaps humans should learn to wag their tails too. In the strictly metaphorical sense, of course.

As well as the good dogs, there was some excellent tree action:

7th Jan 1

7th Jan 2

7th Jan 3

7th Jan 8

7th Jan 11

And finally, today's hill. It is slightly out of focus, because I forgot it, and had to rush out just now into the gloaming to take the picture, and the light was too low for diamond-sharp definition. But it is such a lovely thing that even when a little blurry it still retains its perfect hilliness:

7th Jan 14

Perhaps the thing of a blog is the good Buddhist idea of paying attention. The knowledge that there are to be words and pictures makes me think and look, maybe harder than I would otherwise. It means that not a day goes by unmarked. I like the idea of that.


  1. I think you worry too much about the blog. We all love it just as is it so please don't stress. I'm not a fan of very regimented blogging anyway; the more topics covered the better, in my opinion.

  2. I share your blog angst - what is it all for? However when I read your blog it seems utterly clear to me why you blog - I am back to my 'compelled to write' theory. You write because you have to write and the blog is the current methodology. As you once said (I am now quoting you to you so that's slightly odd but I will carry on) 100 years ago, or whenever, people wrote books and papers and no one queried that as a strange notion. They had quills and paper and that was their method. Our method is the computer. So I agree with Alex in previous comment; don't worry about it. You blog is fab. The dogs are fab. The hill is fab. We will keep coming back even if you write about nothing.

    If you fancy some light releif pop over to mine; it has zero substance other that pretty pics! Oh a free handbag... Lou xx

  3. Agree, love the randomness (in a good way) of this blog. Mine is about wine with a slug of self indulgence. Keep on rolling x

  4. Oh, look, there you are Mrs. Lovely photos of the dogs.

  5. I like blogs that meander over different topics like yours does. A single focus can get dull.

  6. Alex - how kind you are. I shall stop stressing AT ONCE. (Good rule: do what readers say.)

    Lou - love you quoting me back at me. Makes me laugh a lot. I adore going to yr blog, because sometimes all one wants is to gaze on beauty. I do worry about substance, but then I think how many of the blogs I like the most are light as feathers, and that actually the striving for weightiness, which I sometimes cannot resist, is not a Good Thing at all.

    Knackered mother - hurrah for wine and self-indulgence. And I am very pleased you used the word randomness. I am a big fan of the random.

    Mrs - what are you doing here, madly? Go and write the newspaper at once.

    Betty M - so very reassuring. I do like the meandering, and mostly can't help it, but sometimes do look at the clever discipline of those who stick firmly to one subject.

    Fabulous and reassuring comments, as always. Hope I did not sound a bit WHINY. Slight post-Christmas, post-Ashes crash. It was inevitable. :)

  7. I'm late reading today, forgive me,
    but *had* to post and echo Alex - please don't stress and worry, we love it just the way it is!

  8. Meandering without too much self-indulgence is a good thing - keep doing what you're doing.

    PS Excellent dog and tree action.

  9. Always love your blog because it is so honest. Agree with what you say about a love of words and writing, what a wonderful opportunity blogging is for us to explore that love. As always beautiful doggy happiness and tree action.

  10. I share this concern too sometimes, often, blogging has become something I need and love to do but I don't know what it's purpose is- except that I know how much I enjoy other blogs so I hope people enjoy mine.

    Your blog is great though Tania, always either uplifting, comforting or thought provoking


Your comments give me great delight, so please do leave one.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin