Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I woke, abruptly, my mind filled with a glorious plan to transform the blog. It’s getting old and tired, and, like a shark, it must keep moving or it dies. Then I realised I had absolutely no idea how to do this, so I listened to the Today programme instead, and felt mildly excited about the Olympics, intensely sad about Syria, and very proud of Bradley Wiggins.
I have ideas all the time, for the blog, for my life, for my new projects. They are very often not even quarter cooked, but consist of a vague line which goes nowhere. This weekend, one of them was that I should record emotions, for a week, say, or one day, or one day a week. I was thinking of this because a very sweet small child described me as happy. ‘Are we going to see the happy lady?’ she asked her mother, who, laughing, told me. It was one of the best compliments I ever had, mostly because children do not hedge or flatter or prevaricate. But quite soon after receiving it, I started to feel a bit bogus.
I am capable of happiness, but I’m not sure that makes me happy. I am also, in any given span of time: fretful, self-critical, hysterically over-excited, filled with lassitude, fired by high ideals, flat with pragmatism, optimistic, pessimistic, calm, tired, joyful, fed up, and even, very occasionally, quite blank. What does that make me? Humans appear to love labels. That person is clever, this one is ruthless, that one is dull, this one is kind. You are only allowed one adjective. I think one adjective is not nearly enough. So: the idea of the recording of emotions.
Then I realised it would be a pointless exercise because even in twenty minutes of the Today programme I went from excitement to sorrow to pride. I should be scribbling all day long.
As I walked downstairs, I reverted my attempt to visualise what form the glorious blog revamp could take, and failed entirely. I would so love to give you something shiny and new. There must be shininess and newness, surely? Otherwise there is dullness and entropy.
Bugger it, I thought. I’ll go and do the horse instead.
Up at Red’s View, the extended family is back from its travels. There were shrieks and kisses and hugs from the great-nephew and nieces, and The World Traveller and I started talking at forty-seven to the dozen and did not stop for an hour. Goodness, I missed them. The second of the great-nieces, who really is a very small person indeed, decided that she would help with the pony, and groomed Myfanwy with delicate strokes of the body brush, occasionally bursting into peals of laughter, from sheer pleasure.
There’s something very lovely about watching a tiny person take their first equine steps. I’m not sure the others will become horse people, but I think this one might. She has all the instincts and the love, and no fear. I think this may be something that stays with her for the rest of her life. The little white pony, who has no abstract ponderings about the future, but only cares about food and love and being scratched on her withers, fluttered her eyelashes and ducked her head with delight.
My mare did the thing which she now seems to do every day, which is pick up a great big bucket of sweetness and goodness and love and delight in her hooves and give it to me, so that my heart expands like a balloon. It is really very kind of her.
I returned to my desk, did 916 words of New Project, contemplated the other Secret Project, and wondered again about the New Improved Blog. Still nothing.
I cooked some courgette and feta fritters for lunch. Perhaps more recipes, I thought, because everything must be useful as well as beautiful. Everyone likes a recipe. I attempted to take some pictures of the delightful fritters, but my camera battery died, so I decided against a recipe.
There should be more jokes, I thought, as I ruminatively ate my lunch. Or lists. Everyone adores a list; I never knew a person who did not fall for a list.
It should be more topical, less topical; more thematic, less thematic. There should be fewer pictures, more pictures. I should address many, many subjects in chewy little bites instead of banging on and on about one thing.
The practical side of my brain, bored with this vapid meditation, shouted: ‘You could at least take your library books back.’ (One is overdue, and I love the librarian so much I am always overcome with shame when I have late fees, afraid she shall think less of me, so then I put it off and make the fine worse. Which is really nutty and stupid, and I can’t quite believe I have just admitted to it.)
The great-aunt side of my brain said: ‘For goodness’ sake, just write something polite and make sure all your semi-colons are in the right place. It doesn’t have to be War and blooming Peace.’
The perfectionist side of my brain said: ‘It’s not nearly shiny and new enough. Make it shinier. Make it newer. Make it better. Or you will be punished.’
More controversies, I thought. I always shy away from controversy. I do occasionally have controversial thoughts, but I don’t want this gentle space to turn into a slanging match, so I tend to keep them to myself. But if you did something controversial, said the fire-starting side of my brain, then it would go viral and suddenly you would have millions of readers. (The fire-starter is really quite tiring.)
The small ordinary human part of me then kicked in. No one really knows what makes a good blog or why some people like one or hate another. There is some really good writing out there in the ether which gets ignored, and some rotten gimcrack which has its moment in the sun and gets put on Top 100 lists and is turned into newspaper columns. There is one example of this which is so bad that I would pay not to have to read it, but I suppose that just is an example of each to each, and so there’s no point my getting grumpy about it.
One day, I expect I shall work out how to produce something shiny and new, like a shimmering rabbit out of a sparkling hat. In the meantime, on I bugger, mostly content in the knowledge that my tiny enterprise may not garner a hundred comments a day or shiver the needle of the national radar a millimetre. It reflects my own true self utterly, for worse and for better: slightly shambolic, prone to obsessional freaks, shy of confrontation, galvanised by violent enthusiasms, occasionally sentimental, fatally addicted to tangents, a sucker for a kind word, and without any stern form or structure.
The must do better drumbeat reverberates in my ears. For the moment, until lightning bolts of inspiration strike, the great-aunt wins. As long as there are semi-colons, all is not quite lost.
Myfanwy the Pony:
Red the Mare, demonstrating that not only the Pigeon can do BLINKY EYES:
I have a stick and I’m not afraid to use it: