The Middle of Nowhere

This is not a unique situation for me.  I have no idea what I am going to write about, but, whatever it is, I feel that I ought to get started, so, well, you know…  I normally scrawl notes on various scraps of paper during the course of the day, but today I haven’t had the opportunity, so I am sitting at my laptop with no crumpled prompts and no idea of where I’m about to go.  As I say, not a unique situation, but all I’ve got at the moment.

To be honest, I have been wondering for some time whether my posts in general are a little too long.  Through my many years of peddling this kind of tosh to various publications I was generally required to work to 800-1000 words, and I just seem to settle there somehow.  It is not a conscious thing, it is just where everything kind of… ends.  Anyway, I thought that it might be a good idea to write something a little shorter, get to the point a little sooner…  If only I had one.  Anyway, there’s shorter and there’s shorter.  I’m currently a little way short of 200 words (a little tip for you here, if you need to increase your word count, never express a number in figures, always write it out in letters and never hyphenate) and that’s really a little too short isn’t it?

Besides, I’m not entirely sure that I have the focus to follow a point to its conclusion without a little…  You know…  I tend to drift away from the point a little, especially when I haven’t started off with one, and, well, you know what it’s like: one thing leads to another and before you know where you are you find yourself wondering what measurement shoe sizes are based on.  (Apparently barleycorns.  There are twenty six barleycorns in a standard size eight shoe – although I’m still not sure how that actually makes it a standard size eight.)  And then I start to remember how I once stumbled upon a website full of photographs of the feet of the rich and famous and all I could think about was who took them?  Surely it must be quite difficult to covertly take a photo of an unsheathed celebrity foot.  Perhaps the ‘rich and famous’ were implicit in the deceit.  Perhaps the photo’s were posed.  I have now been forced to take off my sock and spend some time staring at my own gnarled hoof.  It is not rich and it is not famous, but it is a good foot.  It is an honest foot.  It does not harbour ideas above its station (it does not dream, for instance, of one day becoming a knee).  It is the kind of foot on which one can rely – unless you are trying to run up stone steps, when it is not.  But anyway…

Mostly I like my posts to have some kind of ending, a denouement if you will, and I don’t always find it possible to get around to one if the words available to me are too strictly limited.  (I do not mean in an Ernest Hemingway kind of way – that is the thing with words – I mean in purely numeric terms.  I’m not thinking of an over-restricted vocabulary, I’m thinking more of a – perhaps I should look in the thesaurus – punitively restricted word count.)  I fully agree with George Orwell about the need for simple language, in exactly the same way as I agree with doctors about not consuming alcohol.  If I took out all of the surplus words from my posts I… well, I couldn’t, could I?  If you choose to look at it in that way, there is no necessity for me to use any words at all.  They are all surplus to requirements – especially if what you are actually looking to find is how to construct an IKEA wardrobe.  There are no adequate words of consolation if you are in that position.

I attempt to edit what I write, but I always read my posts out aloud before I publish them and, if I’m honest, I do like a verbal flow.  I like words, so if I cross a hundred out, I tend to replace them with two hundred more.  I never use a word that I do not understand – although I cannot guarantee that my own understanding will coincide with that of the OED.  I know what I mean.  Anyway, what I am trying to say, I have just decided, is that a shorter blog will probably just not work for me: I do not want to write plain, but ugly sentences, I do not want to get to the point before it is at all polite to do so, and most importantly of all, I do not wish to end my posts in the middle of nowh…

33 thoughts on “The Middle of Nowhere

      1. To be honest if I am to be an actress, I’ve looked at 1930’s actresses and I think I’m more of a Mary Nolan by looks and the more recent attitude of the beloved Isabella Rossellini and love her hilarious Green Porno stuff.

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      2. Make sure you put Isabella Rossellini in the search too, for you know what the bloody t’Internet is like. For example, I wanted to buy a large key ring, but refused to search “Jailers Ring” even on Amazon.

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  1. I went to a wedding once and a fellow guest asked to borrow my camera. I said yes of course (free bar, I wash verrry ameeenable and amiable me) and off she went. She came back about an hour later and checking the contents of the card revealed she had taken 80-odd shots, each of the fellow guests feet and nothing else.

    So, possibly I know who took all your celebrity feet photos. A few barleycorns short of a full size eight that one.

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      1. Ooh, I’m not sure about that. I try to keep my feet to myself as much as is humanly possible. I think if I was to contemplate a foot massage, I would probably require a large whisky rather than a peppermint lotion. No, wait! You don’t drink the lotion, do you?

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  2. I started blogging as a writing exercise and wanted to warm up with around 350 words. Then A published author told me the minimum I should shoot for is 1500. Nowadays i vary between 500 and a thousand with as little as two or three hundred except when I have a very strong feeling about a subject or I’m writing a story. I’ve forgotten the point of telling you all this, sorry.

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  3. I always liked a treatise written by a chap I used to work with, which started with ‘I’m sorry that this is so long but I didn’t have the time to write anything shorter’.

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  4. Your blog posts are a mix of stream-of-consciousness and mental bullet points, it seems to me. The bullet points are the kernel of an idea, and the stream seems to well up from there, meandering along until it comes up to another bullet point, that confluence moseying along ad nauseam (as it were) until it suddenly realises it has to become the Worm Ouroboros and bite its tail, with an apposite quote — made-up or genuine, it’s immaterial — to give a semblance of planning.

    I exaggerate, of course; but am I right or am I right? (Don’t get me wrong, ‘s’not not a judgement — I recognise it because that’s often how I work. Quod erat demonstrandum.)

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      1. Eric Clapton’s double chin perhaps. I felt I had to update my photo, so I took a new one, which I deeply regret now. I’m not sure what I look like, but I wouldn’t want to meet me!

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