Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Fade to black

Back during my school days, writing was something I did under protest. I could sort of cope with writing up physics experiments as long as they didn't require too much detail, but that was only because it was a subject I found interesting. Technical drawing was fine, as was metalwork class due to the minimal level writing needed. I've always been the more practical sort.
English, Geography and History were my least favourite subjects due to the never-ending deluge of essays, but maybe it was the subject material that caused my struggle.
It's hard to be inspired when you have no enthusiasm for what you're supposed to be writing about, so when told to write three sides of A4 explaining what was going through Lady Macbeth's mind when she said "Is this a dagger I see before me" or an extended piece on the achievements of the Carter presidency I always failed miserably.

For English literature we studied Dickens's 'Great Expectation', Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' by Thomas Hardy, and a compilation of famous poems.
At that time trying to read Dickens was like wading through treacle, and frankly I couldn't understand what he was talking about. To this day I firmly believe that Thomas Hardy is the most boring author I've ever had the misfortune of reading, and as far as I'm concerned Shakespeare is an overrated relic who should be removed from school study lists because his indecipherable ramblings simply do not translate into the modern world. I realise that during the sixteenth century there weren't as many writers as there are now and entertainment of any form was in short supply beyond singing and drinking beer, so any extra opportunity to read something that could drag you away from the reality of hard labour, short average lifespan and interesting skin diseases was bound to be most welcome.
Today, with such a mind-blowing catalogue of well written and interesting books, I see no reason for the educational system to insist on killing off any interest kids might have left in reading for enjoyment by forcing them to endure literature from a time when the English language was so very different.
Over recent years I have managed to read and actually enjoy some classic books including 'Hard Times', 'Les Miserables' and 'Brave New World', but I still refuse to venture anywhere near Shakespeare or Hardy.
Poetry doesn't get much of a look in either, with the only memorable exceptions being Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven', and 'Desiderata' by Max Ehrmann.
Otherwise I still read avidly but mostly things written within my own lifetime.

When I left secondary school in 1987 I thought I was leaving behind any requirement to write anything more comprehensive than the occasional birthday card, and for a long time this was the case.
It was therefore surprising to me when I felt the urge to start doing this blog.
Initially I'd written some longer items on Facebook because I felt I had something to say beyond the usual rubbish that proliferates its pages like "Just been to the gym" or "Here's a photo of my dinner", but I didn't get any response.
Suddenly I found that I enjoyed writing and it didn't matter if nobody read it because as far as I was concerned it was for my own entertainment.
I'd sit down once a week, usually Sunday morning, and do a piece about some random nonsense that had sprung to mind. Occasionally I'd draw a blank and end up not posting at all, and sometimes I'd have a flurry of inspiration and knock out two posts in quick succession.
More recently I've been struggling. The weekly posts have reduced to fortnightly at best and even that is now becoming difficult to maintain.
I know some bloggers post every day whereas others do so occasionally, and I now think I'm beginning to fade away to the point where I'll only do a post if I get a sudden rush of inspiration.
Finally, the title for this post is also the title of one of my favourite Dire Straits tracks from the album 'On Every Street' - if you don't know it, give it a go.