I am by nature a bit of a windbag; a short, fat sockful of inconsequential whining. It is my sole gift and I giveth of it freely. And that, as you will be fully aware, is my downfall. At least I think so. I have been told many times and by many people – some more politely than others – that I do bang on a bit, and so, of late, I have been trying to bang on a bit less. I have tried to reduce the word count in my average blog by something around 50% (a bargain in anybody’s books) and it is now time to take stock. I earned a crust (or more accurately augmented my topping) for many years by contributing a pithy one thousand words a pop to any magazine that would pay me (for my younger readers, these ‘magazines’ were numerous sheets of paper, containing prose and pictures, lovingly stapled together, folded in the middle and sold through the newsagents that used to be where the takeaway now is) and it became a rut into which my brain happily fell. I have many different ways of writing these little nosegays, but whichever way I choose to approach them, they always resolve themselves after the allotted one thousand words (+/- 10% for good behaviour) which is, by all accounts, far too long for a blog post. It’s a peculiar thing. Being very old I write in longhand before typing onto the laptop, I then print a hard copy which I proofread and correct in various hues of felt pen, before editing on the laptop and posting. I read through the printed article many times before I post it and it always appears to be much shorter on paper than on the screen. It is the transition onto LCD – or whatever it is that forms the images on my laptop, tablet and phone (phlogiston for all I know) – that makes them too long and, quite obviously, nothing to do with me. My inability to use one word when twenty will do is not to blame.
In general I find humour in drifting off-piste – something which, in my current abridged form, I may be unable to do quite so often without falling off the edge – and if I’m honest I have no idea of whether the shorter pieces work at all. I am fully aware (I would like to give thanks to my wife and children etc etc) that where I am concerned, less is definitely better, and writing these curtailed pieces is certainly less taxing. A single idea is easier to follow and the knowledge that wherever I may get lost, the end really is just around the corner is a comfort. If I’ve lost anything in this process, it could be that it is something I should have lost years ago. I’m keen to know what you think, is 500/600 words a better target for me? Maybe you think zero would be more appropriate. I must be honest, if you tell me that I should pack it all in, I will probably ignore you.
After all, what is the point in being choc-full of hot air if you can’t share it with the world?