The Writer and The Archivist

The Writer

This is my 801st blog post. Eight hundred and firrrrrrrrrrssssssssttttt. That’s a lot of words, pictures, songs, and even the odd verse. There are times when the writing feels good, and times when putting fingers to keyboard feels like choking on sand. I once wrote every weekday for a month, and more recently, I see bigger gaps, longer spaces appearing between the writing. I worried a while about these gaps, not any more. There are times when I feel useful ideas, thoughts, and feelings stacking up in joyful abundance, and times when I feel it’s all been said. As Neil Usher puts it so wonderfully here in his penultimate post, that feeling is the Elemental Block.

Maybe it has all been said, Maybe the song remains the same, maybe the tune is different. And maybe not. I wrote a lot about death when my Dad died. That song, those verses, they’d not been written, spoken, sung before. I recently discovered a copy of the eulogy I wrote and read for Dad at his funeral. I’ve previously shared what Keira wrote and spoke at that time, and my words are currently not published. Maybe they should be…

The Archivist

…put out there, into the online archive. This simple opportunity that we have to write, publish and be damned, feels useful. I spotted a tweet from Gary Cookson a few days ago, marking the one year anniversary of his blog. Milestones matter. His tweet drew me to my own situation, 800 down, how many more to go? It struck me that I very rarely look back at this work. In rectifying this today (an experience i have largely enjoyed), two things in particular are dawning on me.

A lot of the writing itself is clunky, poor even. In the spirit of working out loud that’s fine – and I’m conscious too that writing is an art form, and is therefore subjective. Spelling and grammar aside, it isn’t right or wrong, it is right and wrong. Scratch that, it just…is.

There are threads, single strands from long ago, now woven into something stronger. There are seeds, planted way back when, which now stand as plants – more fully formed ideas. I’m thinking a lot about legacy at the moment, and I hadn’t previously appreciated the extent to which those things which currently matter to me, have probably always done so.

Update: I received some kind feedback from Broc Edwards, via Twitter. He tried to post this comment directly but couldn’t due to ongoing tech problems I’m experiencing on this site. Thanks Broc – I really appreciate you being in touch.

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Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

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