The thing about the blog that takes the time, I realise, is mostly the pictures. I have to go out with the camera and find the beauty, and shoot the beauty, and sometimes get down on my stomach to stalk the beauty.
Then I have to get back in and edit the pictures and choose the good ones and sometimes even give them captions. I have to think carefully what order they should arrive in. I have to discard ruthlessly the ones which do not come up to scratch.
All this is rather ironic since it is the prose which is supposed to be the point of me. I’m a very amateur person with a pretty ordinary camera, and absurdly self-indulgent with all the pictures of the herd and Stanley the Dog.
The prose itself does take some time, especially if my mind is blank or tired or stretched like a guitar string. Although I can type at ninety words a minute when I’m really cooking, so there can be some speed about the thing. The time is mostly the second draft, where I check for the most egregious errors and fiercely cut whole paragraphs. (‘Throat-clearing,’ I hear my friend The Man of Letters say.)
Anyway, my new idea whilst I am away is to give you the odd bulletin, perhaps sometimes even only five lines, and then one picture, and that’s it. That way, I can have a holiday and still keep up with the Dear Readers.
There are some rather stern blogs with no visuals at all. I would have to be very convinced of my own brilliance with the language of Shakespeare and Milton to do that. One, which is properly successful, not only does unadorned prose, but badly formatted prose, with the paragraphs carelessly laid out and the lines far too close together, so the poor eye has nowhere to breathe. The entire thing is one long wail, without so much as a nice animal snapshot to brighten and lighten it. And yet, it races away with vast readership numbers and national syndication, whilst I grind my teeth in impotent incomprehension.
But that is quite another story. The enemy of happiness is comparison.
My point is, that I could just try a few five minute bursts, and see what happens. It also might be good for my winding habits of prolixity. And, you probably really do not need eight horse pictures a day.
This morning, I had a good conversation with the Smallest Cousin. She is five.
This is how it went:
SC: ‘You know the museums? They’re really interesting. The London one, that’s the interesting one.’
TK: ‘What’s in the London one?’
SC: ‘Lots of crocodiles and dinosaurs and a robot T-Rex.’
A pause, whilst she contemplates.
SC: ‘And there’s triceratops.’
TK: ‘I don’t even know what triceratops is.’
SC: ‘It’s a dinosaur, silly.’
Withering look of scorn. Then she continues.
SC: ‘And there’s fish that I’ve never seen. You know in the deepest part of the sea, there are these fish that have lights on them, so you can see where they are. Nobody normally goes there. Except people who really want to.’
Another pause. This time for dramatic effect.
SC: ‘I don’t want to. BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THE SHARKS LIVE.’
Later, as I am writing this, she wanders over.
‘Are you doing the Blob?’ she asks.
‘Yes,’ I say typing like a maniac.
‘You really can write quite fast,’ she says, more in assessment than admiration.
Then, in a masterly non-sequitur: ‘Zebras are quite nice and cool.’
I say, genuinely interested: ‘Why do you think they’re cool?’
She gives me a Do you know Nothing look.
She says, patiently, as if she really should not have to explain: ‘Because they are black and white.’
This is what she looked like whilst we were having this conversation:
I’m not even going to tell you the story behind the tiara.