This is a bit odd. I re-read yesterday’s stub of a blog post and was struck by how bad the writing was and have tidied it up a bit. I have just looked back at “days” to remind myself where I was in terms of the site/blog I was this time last year and found that I posted a new blog post Why do I say “she” about google maps? My IT succubus! and so I read that and found it pretty garbled but was intrigued to see that it replayed things I’ve returned to in my posts this year, particularly the frustrations of being led astray. The last few days this year I had also been going through old piles that cluttered up the loft conversion room here in our house that J & I use as our “study”. (I think I put scare quotes round that as it seems to exaggerate what happens here!) That has taken back over much of the last 30 years as I’ve ruthlessly purged things. I’ve also scanned and archived papers that formed some of the piles and they went back to Likert’s paper from 1932 that led the idea of “Likert scales”. I found myself re-reading notes on it that I made in 1987 and quotes I took from Likert’s paper that we can reasonably assume he wrote in probably 1930. J, daughter (those are their chosen noms de plume or noms de blog incidentally, son is “tnp”) have spent much of today finally redistributing books that have been in piles for months, onto the new shelves we have in the “den” (which is a more accurate designation than is “study” is for this womb-of-the-rather-random-blog room!). That took all three of us through between a few to about 50 years of reading matter. This all starts to feel like some Rashomon or, as I’ve chosen to title this, a temporally kaleidoscopic experience.
So why write a blog? That, in keeping with the rather Moebius strip or Klein bottle weave of time hare, takes me to the day before yesterday, a.k.a. Thursday 10th August 2017. In the afternoon I and Helena of comment fame here in the blog met up. We had chosen to go to the Dulwich Art Gallery, not far from home for me and public transport accessible for Helena and a place we rightly guessed would not be as rammed with humanity as many galleries and exhibitions in town. We did the glorious Sargent watercolours and sat and nattered with tea, coffee and cake afterwards. We covered a lot of ground but one issue was that of this blog, both commenting on the social awkwardnesses of blogging. Helena has much more experience of writing blogs than I do and has blogged with purpose, in fact for some different purposes, some more personal, some less but all quite explicitly seeking an audience for a good cause.
There’s some of that for me about this, actually, that’s not really about the blog, it’s about how I hope the site will be in month or two from now. I have a real hope it might become a genuinely useful resource that people wondering about cycling to Compostella from the UK might find and might like. I guess I really hope that if I persevere, and do the ride again, as I hope to it will get much more useful. Perhaps if get to do it a few other times by different routes, the Camino del Norte and the Camino Portugues, and if I do the London to Rome ride I’ve also promised myself, assuming I live long enough and my knees and hips hold up, then I think this could become quite a good site for others to use for information. I hope it might become a site where others put their own experiences and advice.
However, there’s a real difference between the site and the blog for me. Both were very much just sketches as things finished last September and the blog has stuttered on. I’m hoping this burst of blogging revivifies it for me.
And that’s the point: I think the blog is a sort of ongoing meditation, some very low grade self-therapy, something that sometimes fills little holes left by not being in therapy, by not offering any therapy to others and allows me a little bit of space for “free association” or “free floating discussion” (that’s the term used in group analysis for our anologue of the psychoanalyst’s “free association”). I do it publicly, perhaps partly because I’ve been much more a group analyst than an individual analyst and what happens in a group always has some “public” element to it: it’s not bound into a dyad with a strong commitment to confidentiality and, however much the group commit to confidentiality and not revealing each other’s identities to anyone outside the group, what happens in a group, for it “stays in the group”, is shared. Talking with Helena was helpful as it clarified that I’m always happy to feel that anyone reads this, always cheered if someone comments, but it’s not written to solicit that, it’s probably the first time since being in therapy that I’ve built myself a space to speak to myself out loud, to follow where the kaleidoscope, the rashomon of my experiences takes me. If it has appeal to others, great, but I need to know it’s for me!
Now that seems quite a paradoxical thing to say so publicly, somehow the 21st Century blog, built on Tim Berners Lee’s, CERN’s, http/html and the extraordinary web that has grown from that, takes the diary into a new public form. For the first time in my life I seem to be just about managing to keep a diary of sorts. Oh brave new world that has such fun in it!
Oh dear, I think this is going to seem particularly ill formed and incoherent when I re-read it tomorrow or beyond but enough now. I’ll hit the “publish” button and be satisfied to be able to do that.