Monday, 15 December 2008

On blogging and jogging

I'd planned to write something about the joys of blogging for my fiftieth post to this blog, but I've just noticed from the Archive list on the right that this is actually the fifty-first post. Oh well. When I started it, I wasn't sure what I expected to write about. I wanted to put my poetry where people could read it, I knew that, and a blog seemed to be a good way to make it happen. When I wasn't writing poetry, I decided, I'd simply write about the things I was up to, or were on my mind. As for models, I always liked the way George Orwell wrote simply and seemed to use the act of writing as a way of exploring things he was preoccupied with.

If I was simply to write about things that were on my mind, then surely a pattern would emerge. Music, surely would play an important part, and it has. Literature in general, too, as one of the easiest things to write about is the books you are reading. As I have been very interested in the life and writing of Arthur Ransome for a while now, he would surely crop up. Climbing British mountains was also bound to come into it.

If I have tended to steer clear of definite statements on religion and politics it is not because I don't care deeply about these things, but rather because I wanted to steer clear of simply flagging up my opinions. Instead, I've wanted to explore the things I've passed on the way to forming my opinions, although from time to time I think they have been pretty close to the surface.

What I didn't foresee was the social side of blogging. The way people regularly check out the same blogs. When writing, you come to think (or at least, I do), “I think so-and-so will be interested in this” or “What will so-and-so have to say about that?”. One of the great pleasures of blogging, I've discovered, is not writing your own, but reading other people's. I was going to list some of the things I've enjoyed reading in the blogosphere recently, but on reflection, I've decided not to: I couldn't do it without including all the blogs I read. I've found things that interested me in all of them at one time or another. It would be wrong of me to be selective.


If you own up to going for a run first thing in the morning, you risk being thought smug, as if what you do is some form of barely-tolerable self-mortification. Not true. A more accurate comparison would be eating chocolate. OK, so the first half mile is usually pretty awful, but then all of a sudden you don't seem to notice that you're running any more and your mind drifts off to other things. In no time at all you're floating along in a world of your own. Yesterday morning I'd planned to do five miles: up and down the small series of hill between here and Leyburn, up a long, undulating hill to the moor, then along the main road that runs along the edge of the moor, back towards the village.

The secret, I discovered a while ago, is to get one's running-gear all ready the night before. If I have to sort through my clothes in the morning looking for tracksuit bottoms, etc., I have time to think, and thinking too much is no help when you want to get out running at 8am and there's still half an inch of snow on the ground. No. Everything has to be ready to pull on: in this weather, three layers, a waterproof, woolly hat and gloves. After that it's a cupful of water, a few stretching exercises, and then straight out the door.

The high point of yesterday morning's run came as I was running along the edge of the moor: to my right, the low, morning sun was glowing through the fog, illuminating a group of winter trees. To my left, the snow-covered edge of the moor was visible through a rent in the fog, glowing with a slightly yellow, metallic light. The fog stripped everything of its proper scale and these local hills took on the grandeur of hills three times their size.

Once home, I stuck the kettle on and checked my email. I had just become absorbed in the comfortable glow of the screen when:


A familiar sound. I only hear it once every few years, so it took me a moment to place it. A drystone wall falling down. Our house, somewhat picturesquely, is surrounded by substantial drystone walls. I went to look. We had gained an impromptu rockery outside the back door, together with an unfamiliar view of next door's garden. All the cats, thank God, were quickly accounted for.


The Solitary Walker said...

Dominic! You had just paved the way to saying something VERY INTERESTING INDEED about blogging when you changed the 'b' for a 'j'!

Love your blog and happy 50th.

Rachel Fox said...

Early morning run sounds lovely. Not sure I'd ever manage it but it sounds great!

My thoughts on blogs are very much in tune with yours. Used well they are very interesting media of communication and exchange.

Jog on, blog on...

Dominic Rivron said...

SW: Thank you for saying so. I quite like "open ends". I wonder what it was?

I wrote ages ago about computing and communication (in OK Mozart, July 2008). If things go in that direction, then what is now blogging could evolve into some form of collective consciousness. It is already a form of collective thought-sharing which defines how we spend time. The risk (and it is already upon us) is that we all end up like Vashti in The Machine Stops(post, December 2008).

RF: Thanks for this. Fully intend to keep doing both.

The Weaver of Grass said...

My sentiments exactly - I had not anticipated the social side of blogging and I really enjoy writing something and wondering what readers will say about it.
As far as jogging is concerned, count me out - my jogging days are long over.
Regarding the wall - or lack of it - read my blog - great minds, as usual, think alike!

BarbaraS said...

I love the way you look on the positive side of things: 'an impromptu rockery.' Glass half full?

I also agree with what you say about blogs: you never know who or what will picue your interest and what interesting connections can be made.

Poet in Residence said...

I sense a new word coming on.- Blojer: one who blogs and jogs

Sorlil said...

lol, now I know what sound a drystone wall makes when falling down!

Dominic Rivron said...

WG: I have read your blog. Good Robert Frost quote. Something that didn't love it (the wall), there certainly was. Ivy, I think. It was the ivy covered stretch that fell. The wall bulged there, but the exposed ivy roots were very large.

BarbaraS: You're right. I try hard to maintain belief in the half-full glass. The impromptu rockery has now gone, as the wall has been rebuilt.

PiR: A good word. It might be spelt "blodger" too.

Sorlil: You do. I thought long and hard about that onomatopoeia.