Good question. Why spend the time writing predominately to yourself, which is blogging. Why write, if you’re not a trained or gifted literary writer? These and other questions have crossed my far too active mind.
I never did well in English at school for two main reasons – grammar and spelling. Back in the 70’s at my school, grammar and spelling beat content or creativity every time. Some of my classmates wrote long, dull, monotonous pages, all grammatically correct, and with perfect spelling. Teachers thought they excelled at English. I wrote enthusiastic, imaginative, rambling tales, full of transgressions, poor punctuation and often phonetic and terrible spelling. So despite loving to tell my colorful stories or fantastic childhood tales to anyone who would listen, I was deemed poor at English.
At Westminster University I studied Fashion and Design, so I wrote my ideas in sketches rather than words. I did, however, write a 10,000 word thesis “The American Dream – Myth or Reality” after my first trip to America in 1986. Other than that, my only real writing after school, until my 30’s, were thank you notes, Birthday and Christmas cards, or the odd letter (yes before computers and texting we did write by hand).
Then came ‘The Middle Stump’. My longest standing friend to this day, Simon Morley, suggested we make a ‘Fanzine’ for our cricket club (for the American followers, a ‘cricket club’ is a place where you play the sport of cricket, not a club with which to beat insects). Always one for something creative and fun I agreed, and the bi-weekly ‘Middle Stump’ was born. Simon, Andrew Tunnicliffe, Paul Statton and myself produced this great literary work, sold for 50 pence, to raise money for our team. As I was prone to laughing and joking about everything, my contribution was mainly an endless supply of sensationalized, fictional stories about cricket matches and our players. Yes, in today’s world, ‘fake news’. With a desire only to make people laugh, I wrote about our friends, our matches and things that happened at our club. It was a lot of fun and we actually used to sell quite a few. The best part of this process was our creative meetings, sitting with a beer, brainstorming anything funny to publish.
When I stopped playing cricket and life moved on, my writing changed to nurse training, medical notes or the new thing ’emails’. During my nurse training. we did a lot of ‘reflective practice’. This consisted of writing what you did, felt and thought during a significant event, as soon after the event as possible. You then later re-examined your thoughts, actions and feelings when you had time to reflect, and wrote your thoughts again. So over time you could remember all the different stages of feelings you experienced, which would help you fully understand the experience.
Also around this time, I really got to know Deirdre, first through emails and texts. It was funny being able to be totally open and honest with each other, without anything other than words. Emailing I liked. I could write as if I was talking, and the computer would help me with my spelling and grammar. Perfect. Later came phone texting and Facebook, also fun things to play with, even with my hatred of predictive text. As in life, I don’t mind the helpful suggestions, but I hate the assumptive correction before any discussion.
Anyway, that leads me to today. Why write a blog now? Well, in all honesty it’s fun for me to record my thoughts, and do something slightly creative as much for myself as for anyone else in particular. It helps me deal with WM and life, with optimism and a smile.
If I give someone else a laugh along the way, something to think about themselves or better insight into me or WM, then that’s even better. So if you have read this why not come along for a ride with me? From LA to Boston. My bike, blogmates and me, travelling from coast to coast. It should be a fun ride!