Some of the Dear Readers will be amazed to hear that I do think quite a lot about this blog. I think about it in a discrete way, often writing a post in my head as I brush my teeth in the morning. (These dazzling creations, so brilliant they hurt, dissipate like breath on glass by the time the actual day starts, leaving only a ghostly memory behind.) Rather as if I am feeding a family, and have to remember that we had chicken on Tuesday and little Wilf does not like mushrooms and dear Myrtle can’t abide aubergines but that still all the food groups must be represented, I think well, I banged on about the red mare on Saturday and I went on a tangent about racing on Friday and the Wednesday before that I was in a really bad mood and had a terrible old moan, so today it must be time for something pithy and uplifting. Or, possibly, a jeremiad against the dangling modifier, just to stiffen the sinews.
If I have been grave of late, I try to put some jokes in. (I am quite funny in life, although I never know whether it is funny peculiar or funny ha ha, but I find it really hard to be funny in print, and stand in awe and wonder of those people who can do it.) If I’ve been a bit mimsy, I try and have a rant. If I’ve been all hello clouds, hello sky, I may attempt to sketch a little acerbity. Texture and variety, my darlings, and changes in tempo. Or some such.
This is complicated by the fact that I am often tired by the time I get around to writing the thing, and I can’t remember what I wanted to say to you and I have no time to edit as I would like, or to polish the prose until it gleams. Since really the only point of this is that, when it comes to sentences, I can carry a tune, this is a slight pity.
I think about blogging in a general way, too. It is such a novel medium, and I find it fascinating to watch it develop and change, to stretch its wings or run into sudden cul-de-sacs. It strikes me that the micro-blog is the one that will conquer the world – little bulletins on Facebook have more heft, I think, than long, windy disquisitions on Blogger or Wordpress. I am terribly prone to windiness, which may be why I am not naturally suited to the medium. Even on my Facebook page, I often post perfect essays, complete with sub-clauses and semi-colon action, instead of the preferred three lines littered with exclamation marks and LOLZ. (That is going to be the first and only time I write that acronym. Even doing it in the spirit of illustrative irony makes me feel sad.)
All of which adds up to my usual conclusion, which is: I know nothing. There is no perfect template, no beau ideal. There is no one person, doing it the finest and the best, in whose trail-blazing footprints the rest of us may follow. I often think the point of it is to scatter a little cheer into a dim world. If people are exhausted after a long day, they might come here and look at pictures of trees and Stan the Man and the dear old duchess, get a shot of aesthetics, a breath of the hills, and feel a frown turn to a smile. That is when I think I should just give you the good stuff – something bright, or hopeful, or diverting. I must do a tap dance. I often think this in life, scolding myself if I feel I have not been on good enough form, as if it were my duty to be the life and soul of the damn party, as if I must always be on. I am terrified by the thought of falling into the mundane or the banal or the crashingly dull.
But sometimes I am in a rotten mood, trudging through the slough of despond, furious with myself for doing something idiotic, and I can’t put those ridiculous tap shoes on. Since I am hopeless at faking, I generally tell you that. The doomy part of me is shouting FAIL, FAIL, but oddly, it is often those messy, grumpy, scratchy posts, filled with human flaws and existential doubts, which really get the Dear Readers going.
It’s almost as if, by admitting my own moments of flakiness and hopelessness and fecklessness, I give you permission to have your own, although we have never met and it is none of my business. Yet, there is a sense of that, and perhaps it works because it is the opposite of the perfect face/perfect house/perfect marriage/perfect clothes nexus of the women’s magazines. I eat carbohydrates and don’t give a bugger about cellulite and sometimes forget to take my face off at night and have entirely given up on my hair and am haunted by the cupboard of doom. I am the very opposite of the shiny cover girls who gaze down at ordinary females from the newsagents’ shelves, mocking their paltry attempts to be fabulous.
All of which is a very long way of saying: I don’t really know what it is for, or why I do it, or why I love it, or how to make it better. I do think about it, and I never really come to any conclusions. Which is absolutely bloody typical.