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Rated: 13+ · Book · Experience · #2223922
A tentative blog to test the temperature.
Ten years ago I was writing several blogs on various subjects - F1 motor racing, Music, Classic Cars, Great Romances and, most crushingly, a personal journal that included my thoughts on America, memories of England and Africa, opinion, humour, writing and anything else that occurred. It all became too much (I was attempting to update the journal every day) and I collapsed, exhausted and thoroughly disillusioned in the end.

So this blog is indeed a Toe in the Water, a place to document my thoughts in and on WdC but with a determination not to get sucked into the blog whirlpool ever again. Here's hoping.

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April 12, 2024 at 6:01pm
April 12, 2024 at 6:01pm
Review, Anyone?

Isn’t it funny how your best stuff never gets reviewed. That they ferret out things you’ve nearly forgotten and don’t think much of, ignoring your beloved babies as though they’d been hidden in a dark corner somewhere.

Or maybe it’s just that we like the latest ones, the ones that have surprised us by actually being quite good, that we haven’t had time to grow familiar with and so lose respect for. I know it’s true that I love the most recent ones the most and wish that Read & Review wouldn’t keep digging around in the past.

And it’s also true that when someone asks what I’d like them to review, I have to think hard, run through the old portfolio looking for something, and always end up by suggesting the latest thing because I can’t think of anything I like better. Of course there isn’t - I’ve only just fallen in love with it!

Still, it’s weird how they always pick the duffers, the ones that would be first to go in a port clear out. Perhaps it’s true that writers are terrible judges of their own work

Word count: 188
April 12, 2024 at 12:07pm
April 12, 2024 at 12:07pm
Two Strings

Like a soccer game, I am a creature of two halves. I was born to a mother and father of solidly working class (blue collar) stock, but grew up in a society that was uniformly middle class. As a result, I found myself in England with a foot in both camps, able to understand and speak easily with both sides of the English coin.

I was even told at times that I was the ideal ambassador between the two (at the thought of which, I recoiled in horror). The really odd thing was that I was happiest when with my working class brethren. Though my upbringing had been so middle class, I loved the greater openness and straight talking of the workers. It helped that my colonial accent confused both sides and gave me easy access to their company.

And now in America, my dual nature continues to assist. I love the company of those whose accents I can barely understand. It’s music to my ears and they speak of life in terms that I recognise and sympathise with. They are even so uncomplicated that they’ll make no secret that they love my “British” accent. I don’t usually tell them that it’s really a terrible mixture of all sorts of accents.

I’m quite sure that people hearing and reading me would think me what the Brits call “posh.” But the fact is that’s a veneer and my heart beats to a steadily working class rhythm. I love both lobster and sausages ‘n mash.

So that’s me in a nutshell. You could say that it’s no coincidence that, astrologically, I’m a Gemini. Two for the price of one, I always say.

Word count: 280
April 11, 2024 at 4:43pm
April 11, 2024 at 4:43pm
Pardon my Ennui

Recent scientific studies have proved that being a scientist involved in recent scientific studies increases the risk of leaping to ridiculous conclusions.
April 9, 2024 at 8:44pm
April 9, 2024 at 8:44pm
The Game of Thrones Thing

I thought that GoT would be like a sort of Wonderland Challenge but on steroids. Turns out I was right - it’s on steroids, yes, but nothing like Wonderland. For a start, it’s as big or as small as you make it; it’s much more up to you than any challenge I’ve seen before. And the fact that we’re in teams means that you’re not just there for yourself; you have to take the team into account too. Again, that depends very much on how much of a team player you are.

The one thing I was told about it before I joined is also true - it’s not really much to do with the book. The names are used here and there and there are a lot of vaguely medieval illustrations, but otherwise it’s based on everything in general and nothing in particular.

These are just a few notes after I’ve been involved for a week and have begun to understand how it works. I want to see if I agree with them when I’m done with it (that’s if it doesn’t kill me, of course - I’m using it as a sort of slave driver for my own production). I might even update this occasionally.

Do I like it? Well, I moaned a lot at first but that’s just me at the start of any new venture. I’m really beginning to enjoy it now.

I think.

Word count: 235
April 5, 2024 at 10:05am
April 5, 2024 at 10:05am
Nod to the Blog

The Stats say that today, this blog reached a total of 4,000 visits. What a nice, round and well fed number that is! Thank you to all of you, even the bots, crawlers and lost searchers that probably make up the majority. *Smile*

No, it is not the record holder. That would be my folder, Eight-Line Poems with 4,729 views. Maybe bots love short poems.
April 2, 2024 at 6:02am
April 2, 2024 at 6:02am

With Express It In Eight, Small Talk, and Question of the Day on temporary hiatus, I am pushed for a forum to respond to and so continue my unbroken run of badge-earning in that field. Does anyone have any suggestions to fulfill my need in that regard?
March 30, 2024 at 6:50am
March 30, 2024 at 6:50am
Breaking the Rules

When it comes to grammar rules, there is one that I can remember very clearly being taught. This was way back in the past, probably Jurassic times indeed, but it’s possibly still in force.

Anyway, without further fuss (what, you expected me to say “ado”?), this is the rule I refer to:

Thou shalt not apply punctuation within brackets (parentheses) - this to apply to such things as commas, hyphens, exclamation and question marks and the like.

Probably, it’s an Oxford comma-free zone as well. My point is that I ignore this injunction repeatedly, invariably, and with a huge smile on my face. I’m sorry, but it is just more convenient to be allowed to say what I want within brackets and that means I have to use punctuation where appropriate.

And I use brackets a lot. Where Mr Salinger creates a footnote, I insert a bracket. It’s so much easier and avoids the severe dilemma a footnote brings to a reader. Does he stop reading to see what the footnote has to say? Or ignore it for the moment and hope that he remembers to go back to it later? It doesn’t seem fair to mess with a reader in this way and so I use a bracket instead. This ensures that the extra info can be read without interruption to the flow of reading. Sort of like a quick aside or subordinate phrase to the main intent of the sentence.

Why do I mention this single and personal abandonment of grammar? Purely to explain to anyone who knows the rule my reasons for breaking it. Not that I think many are aware of it. I’ve never had it pointed out to me with wagging finger, at any rate.

Word count: 289
March 29, 2024 at 12:47pm
March 29, 2024 at 12:47pm
A New Mondegreen

You know those sayings that people get wrong and come out with something that makes absolutely no sense? Things like “to all intensive purposes,” “peaked my interest,” and “nip it in the butt.” Apparently, they’re called “mondegreens” - from a Scottish ballad containing the lines:

“They have slain the Earl o' Moray
And laid him on the green”

The second line was commonly misheard as, “And Lady Mondegreen”.

And all this is because today I read a new one to me. It was such a delightful surprise that I actually did laugh out loud. Consider this beautiful misapprehension:

“...and without further adieu…”

I love it and have to work hard to contain my impulse to write back with a question about the goodbye that had been going on so long. Be still, my sarcastic heart!

What really increased its appeal for me was that I have become heartily sick of the phrase “without further ado” because every reaction video I’ve ever watched contains it in the introduction. To hear a fresh rendering of a Shakespearean phrase after five hundred years of repetition was so welcome!

Ah, well, I wonder how long I’ll have to wait for the next one.

Word count: 198

March 26, 2024 at 4:01pm
March 26, 2024 at 4:01pm
On Beholding

Common sense is in the eye of the beholder.

There is a difference between a beholder and the beholder. Find one witness and you have a beholder. But we are all participants in the beholder.
March 25, 2024 at 9:58am
March 25, 2024 at 9:58am
Epiphanee, Epiphanah

Every now and then I get realisations that are so vast and overwhelming that they drive everything else from my mind. Take this morning for instance. Having to find something to review, so that I can keep the unbroken string of 7-day badges going, I turned away from my usual hunting ground, Read & Review. Why not go to Anniversary Reviews and get extra recognition for the thing, I reasoned.

So I did.

I turned to their list of anniversaries for this month and began the hunt. There are plenty of times in the past that I’ve done this and not been struck by the sudden insight that was waiting for me today. Which is why it’s a bit weird that it happened now instead of some other time.

I was less than halfway down the list when the huge number of names really hit me. There are literally hundreds of them. But it wasn’t just the number of names that was getting to me. These were just those who had joined WDC in the month of March, after all. Consider all the other months in which people had flocked to sign up and the number begins to stretch into the distance.

So many people, so many people. And all wanting to be writers. But it wasn’t even this that gave me pause.

There are all the other writer sites to think about too. WDC hasn’t captured them all, no doubt. So the number is actually way beyond this tip of the iceberg I was looking at this morning. There were millions of them. And all wannabe writers.

But it wasn’t even this vast revelation that did it.

That happened when I took that last little step into the unknown, that hesitant question that opens the vast universe to view and boggles the mind with its answer. It was all caused by the tiny question I asked myself.

If all these people want to be writers, is there anyone left to read them?

Word Count: 332

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