I was having lunch with a friend the other day, and we got talking about blogging. She asked me how my blog was going, and when I said that I hadn’t posted for ages, she suggested – quite sensibly – that perhaps I should write shorter posts. I, of course, went immediately into a lame defence of my blogblock, explaining that it was the quality of my ideas that was to blame – ideas of such complexity that only a lengthy post would do – and that I regularly became overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to cobble together enough little time windows to do the ideas any kind of justice, and so had given up even trying. She waited until I had run out of steam, then politely changed the subject.
Thinking about this later, I was reminded of a similar conversation I had had years before with a girlfriend, after she asked me why I hadn’t yet written a song about her. I told her it was because I wasn’t a good enough song writer (with the kind of flat tone I like to adopt when I’m hoping the other person will interpret what I’m saying as false modesty, rather than what it really is – the truth). Other more technically proficient songwriters, I said, are able to just choose a subject and knock out a song about it, whereas I have to wait for bits of musically and lyrical flotsam to wash up on the shore of my imagination, and then cobble them together into a form that (with a little bit of hammering and sanding) resembles what other people might consider a song (as long as they don’t look at it too closely).*
Needless to say, the girlfriend in question was unconvinced and – just like my friend at lunch – asked why I didn’t just write simpler songs. So just to spite her, I did exactly that, and to rub salt into the wound (whose wound exactly it was hard to say) I just called it ‘Simple Song’.
So this is the theme song of my new chapter in blogging – a chapter where I keep things short and….well, short. Rather than letting parenting be an excusing for not doing anything, I’m going to try to make it a form of creative limitation. I may not have time to write posts such as the one with the working title ‘Ten Thousand Headless Buddhas’ that I have been trying to knock together for weeks from bits and pieces I have been storing in the old brain shed, but I don’t want silence to be my only other option.
Anyway, I have to stop now to fulfil my new brief, so let me sign off with a reassurance that this will be my last post about posting for a while (self-reflexivity is just so 90s, after all). The next one will just be a quick peck on your cheek or punch in the face as we pass each other in the street, both of us rushing on to attend to the siren song of our unending busyness.
* I write at greater length about my songwriting process in this post.