The Reluctant Blogger

Well, I tried avoiding it for so long…. but surrender is upon us at last. I have a blog. Now, what on earth could be remotely interesting about me?

This is a bit like when as a child at my grandmother’s house I asked excitedly for a paper pad and crayons to amuse myself while the boring adults talked… only to be confronted with the white page and a total lack of any idea what to draw. My father later confided in me that this had been the same for him as a child. Draw a fire engine… was most adults’ response. But they just didn’t get, did they? We didn’t want to draw a fire engine, we wanted to change the f***ing world… create an incredible and original work of art. Forty years on, dad’s gone but I’m still trying.

Rainer Maria Rilke said that an artist must “always remain an eternal beginner”. And from the sublime to the ridiculous: Sting said he’s been re-writing the same song for his entire life. I can sympathise with both gentlemen, but only one of them was a genius.

Rilke’s “Duino Elegies” is, in my opinion, perhaps one of the most spiritually profound books ever written, and I can heartily recommend the David Young translation from W.W.Norton Books. Our friend (and fellow Eibonvale writer) Nina Allan can read the original German… which must be even better. Lucky her. Here is an extract:

Threshold: what it means to two lovers that they too should be wearing down an old doorsill a bit more, after the many before them, and before the many to come… lightly.

And here is another:

How we squander our sorrows, gazing beyond them into the sad wastes of duration, to see if maybe they have a limit. But they are our winter foliage, our dark evergreens, one of the seasons of our secret year -and not only a season, they are situation, settlement, lair, soil, home…

OK. I’ve got it: the purpose of this blog is to share beautiful things like this with anyone who’s interested. Although I will occasionally post news about my books and stories etc, I will strive never to fall into the traps of smugness and self-congratulation which seem to bedevil so many writer’s blogs. This shouldn’t be too hard, since I have so little to be smug about with my obscure and uncommercial writing!

And that brings me to the mission statement: to demonstrate by example that the very best things in every medium are rarely the famous or widely-popular ones. I might have some artists, poets and writers to tell you about.

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