For the last 52 weeks, each Thursday, I’ve been publishing a chapter in a serial story which I called dark | side | thursday. Each chapter comprised exactly 500 words (and yes, I’ve checked), usually accompanied by a photograph. Well, that story reached its climax today, although actually there was little climactic about it. At various times my story was referred to as Dickensian in scale and even, to my utter delight, a brief comparison was made to the frankly incomparable, in my view at least, Stephen King. I was also variously accused of going round in endless circles and irritating my readers with too much ambiguity, and a scantily clad plot.
The reality is that when I kicked off the project I doubted that it would last a month, never mind be completed and on time to boot. And yes, it was, both. Despite, well, despite a lot.
During that same period of time, I also managed to stick to a 365 photo project which currently has reached 334 and, for reasons which (now) escape me, took over (what I thought was) temporary custodianship of Poetry 101 Rehab when the importunate foundling offspring of a poet found itself homeless. Now, in the latter regard, I have been a terrible foster parent and, were it a human child, would certainly be facing charges of neglect. On that charge, the jury is out, and we will see what we will see. A phrase I have become famous for repeating at moments of indecision. I like to think it sounds enigmatic. Of course no one else does.
I also meant to add in the previous paragraph (but, or and then, the paragraph would have become a sprawling monster) that I’ve also been documenting the trials and tribulations of life in Belgium and keeping my eye on the streets of Belgrade. Oh, and in my spare time I’m busy writing a business plan to set myself up as a professional photographer which, as far as I can see, involves creating a peerless website (not yet visible to the naked eye or any other kind of optical instrument) and the expenditure of vast amounts of money in the hope that someone might actually pay me to do something that I love doing anyway. With passion. Did I mention passion?
I have been dabbling with writing for most of my life, although most of that has been kept mercifully far from the public eye. One regret that I have to this day is that the manuscript of my schoolboy epic ‘The Bong a Bong’, which narrated the life of a tree dweller in the Amazonian rainforest, became landfill chowder many moons ago.
Of course in a professional sense, I eschewed (initially) the arts, and what I believe to this day was my true calling, by reading Chemistry at University and later entered a new cycle of Dante’s hell by becoming a Chartered Accountant. I use the word ‘reading’ not in a pretentious way but rather to distinguish between the amount that I read (a lot) and the amount that I understood and retained (a little). I read (and read) a lot and now I tend to bang on about how a university education teaches you to think and analyse, not learn endless lists of facts, equations and physical laws that you later learn to be hypothetical at best. Hypothetical of course being a clever way of camouflaging what in many cases is a hopelessly wild guess. Lost you there I suspect. That was what my examiners thought too.
You may, if you are still with me, have spotted that I am rambling. You may even suspect (if you are of a kindly disposition) that this is a carefully plotted piece of prose within which I am sprinkling anecdotes as part of a cunning plan to deliver a piece of pithy philosophy (and try saying that after a glass of wine – one two of which I have
to hand enjoyed as I write type). Or, you may suspect that I have signed up for another WordPress Blogging U course and am indulging in another piece of free-writing.
Maybe both are true. We will see what we will see (ibid).
But, (and I take such perverse delight in starting a sentence with but, or and. And don’t get me started on the merits of replacing the word but with and at all possible opportunities), we shall see what we shall see (ibid).
My adventures in the land of wordpress have taught me much about many things including writing, design, social media skills (if not, ha ha, social skills) and given me an outlet for the creative side which I supressed so many many years ago. I’ve even managed to have two photo monographs published, had two exhibitions and starred in a TV documentary on Serbian TV. Oh, and I’ve photographed a wedding. Well, ok, the latter was for one of my niece’s but we’ve all got to start somewhere no?
Coming back to writing, I’ve recently been putting my new found addiction to writing to professional use and even started to write on my consulting firm’s website. The joy about being a Partner, with a group of great colleagues and friends, is that you can write pretty much what you actually think about a topic without the need to endure the cross country hurdle that is securing approval in a broader corporate environment. Although I’ve done my share of that, and would do again.
So, back to the plot. If there ever was one? Having completed the serial story version of dark | side | thursday, I’m now working on a compiled version using one of my favourite writing tools, Scrivener. I’ve even got this half-baked crazy notion that I might even try to publish it. Don’t worry Branko, I’m not looking at you this time ;-), although now I come to think of it…
More to the point. This essay, if you can call it that, is the first of a weekly series that I plan to write and subject you to. This time there is no dark undercurrent. This time it may well end up being 52 pieces of free-writing. For yes, here I go again with another 52 parter.
I will be using Scrivener again. I may use photos to distract you from the prose. What I will do is to write about whatever takes my fancy. An attempt to capture the next year. And this time I plan to deliver around 1,000 words (or so) each week.
My title ‘out in the midday sun’ is – of course – stolen from the Noël Coward classic Mad Dogs and Englishmen and that gives a hint to the thread that may hold each piece together.
I’m now living in Spain and I plan to write about what it’s like to be an Englishman abroad, more particularly an Englishman living in Spain. Wait, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition?
I will probably also syndicate these posts across salamancastreets, my latest photo-documentary site.
Oh, and given the looming referendum back home in the UK, we shall see what we shall see.