I missed my own self-imposed deadline last week. I aim to update this blog with at least one post by close of play each Friday. And I missed last week’s deadline.
I have options. As an employer (of me) I can give myself a hard time. Or I can seek to understand why I missed the deadline, review my work to minimise the risk of my doing so again. As an employee I’m inclined to take responsibility for my failure and engage fully in any conversation intended to help me meet my responsibilities. I could just ignore the deadline. It’s my deadline after all. Who cares if I miss it (except me)? Well I do care. Missing deadlines shows no respect for my reader(s) and I do care about that. So I have given myself a talking to.
One of the challenges (I am learning) of blogging is to be clear what I am writing about, for whom and why. It is very easy to be distracted by events. And there were lots of events last week: the triggering of Article 50 to leave the EU, the Scottish Parliament’s vote on a second independence referendum and the aftermath of the attack on Westminster Bridge.
My instinct is to write about all of these and at some point I probably will. Why was Brexit ever framed as an either/or debate? If a second referendum is bad because it’s divisive why is it OK to stigmatise whole swathes of the population because they are poor, unemployed, black, Muslim, Irish, Scottish or mentally unwell. How many times are we going to let government’s infringe our civil liberties and demonise similar sections of the community because it’s convenient to label the violent, horrifying actions of sick, sad men as terrorism?
I could write about any and all of these things and probably will, but I know next to nothing about any of them beyond what others know.
That thought caught up with me last week and when I start to doubt myself I look for distractions. On the plus side my guitar playing is improving from all the YouTube videos I watch. I’m not sure US chat show clips are adding much to my wisdom or ability, and those are just the distractions I’m prepared to admit to. When I do come back to what I was writing, alternative ideas suggest themselves and my confidence crumbles a little further. And besides, a blog about everything could just as easily be a blog about nothing. As I have said before, there’s more than enough comment in the world and not enough reporting.
So, in the cause of consistency if nothing else, all I can really report on with honesty is what it is like to be me. The truth is I’m a bit of a fuck up really. I’ve done things I’m not at all proud of and, judged by common standards, my life would probably be regarded as a fail. I have lost my way and don’t really know any more what I stand for. It’s not just that I don’t know what to think, I don’t know what to think about. That’s not a problem my partner shares, she just knows how she feels which can make for difficult dinner table discussions.
In part this blog is an opportunity to reflect and to work out what I think and what I feel. I realise there might be a very niche audience for this. That’s ok. No one is obliged to read it. But perhaps I can persuade some of you to stick around by telling you what it’s not now and will not be.
This is not the story of my battle with this or that illness. There are many such blogs and I have no doubt that the community and support engendered by them is powerful. The only terminal condition I have is life. Nor is it the rantings of a grumpy old man. I am neither old nor grumpy, yet. If it ever becomes such a thing I will stop, I promise. For as long as I have been a self aware adult I have been interested in politics as a means of addressing injustice and unfairness in the world. That motivates me but does not qualify me as a commentator. Having said that, I have not felt for a good many years more excluded, disenfranchised and angry about what is being done in this country, ostensibly in my name.
I am very grateful to Dawn Barclay for one of the more worthwhile distractions I got involved in last week. I’m still working my way through Dawn’s Core Values Workbook and finding it very helpful: Compassion, Confidence, Connection, Integrity and Intimacy seem to come close to what I would hope to stand for – but there is work to be done. Robert Solley’s piece on reason vs emotion might help navigate some of those difficult dinner time discussions.