Friday, July 13, 2007

nothing ventured

It did occur to me at the beginning of the month, it then being six months since the beginning of this blog, that I could respectably sign out (excuse the pun) having proved to myself that I could do this for a whole half year. Not that I set out in order to prove anything. I just fancied the idea of having a go. I don’t know that I had any particular brief. I knew I would be talking about M.E. and creative process because those are, one way or another, at the centre of my life, but that’s all I knew.

Other than one poet who had a blog, I knew no-one who did, and I still don’t, outside of the other bloggers I have got to know since doing this. A couple of non-blogging people have said how “brave” I must be and how they couldn’t imagine doing it themselves. Mostly people have been baffled. Why would anyone do this and wasn’t it mainly for teenagers or perverts? More recently, blogging seems to have become mainstream and it is more generally thought that everyone is doing it. But still, I have a sense that it is considered a bit (though no-one would actually say this) weird, sad even. “I have too many interesting things to do with my life,” is what one person said to me, as though I had extended an invitation.

Well writing things down as a regular practice or habit is perhaps a weird thing to do altogether. Anyone who becomes immersed in writing a novel knows this: you spend hours every day for months, years at a time, deeply involved with people who don’t exist. As a blogger you become involved with people who exist as disembodied beings, you may not even know what they look like if they don’t choose to put up an image of themselves. They touch you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined.

And sometimes it happens that you get a message out of the blue from someone who is not a blogger, who has been reading your blog for several months and for whom your words have been, in some way, meaningful. And this is the kind of lovely gesture that can make you decide to keep doing this weird thing a bit longer.


Nicola said...

Here I am at last (calling in from Bristol). Your blog is inspirational, Signs, and the company you keep here warm and lively. Your bottle message washed up on my shore at just the right time, that last, perfect three-word sentence lingering.
Having arrived, I am going away again for just over a week to the land of Hepworth and chip-gorged seagulls. There is a severe weather warning out for about the time I shall be pegging down canvas, hauling on guyropes.
In the meantime, I send you and all here every good wish.

These are the thoughts that were running through my head earlier this morning. Imagine my surprise when I came here and read your words - synchronicity indeed! As another who writes things down, I am happy to join you in weirdom and hope very much that you will go on with your blog which, at different times, brings light and humour, encouragement and companionship.

greenwords said...

Hello Signs, I've come to say thank you for your lovely comments, and to say I know exactly what you mean when you say you 'just fancied the idea of having a go', and I love the bit in your profile where you say: I live near a forest. On the edge.

Reading the Signs said...

Nicola, how lovely to "find" you here. Welcome to Weirdom, which is a very good place to be and where synchronicity runneth over (but don't look too closely at my metaphors). But wait! No sooner have you arrived that you announce your departure to some extremely dangerous-sounding terrain. "Pegging down canvas", yes, I remember that - just. Couldn't you just have done Eurocamp? Well anyway, hope it's fine, whatever the weather.

Thanks for all you have said.

Reading the Signs said...

Greenwords - I think my day has now been definitely made and I am going to find it completely impossible to be melancoly. Do you know how much I love your blog? Probably, because I've said so, but I'm doing so again on the principle that if a thing is worth saying once it's worth saying a lot. Lovely to see you here. Much warmth to you from the Edge.


Well Signs, I'm obviously delighted that you seem to have decided to carry on - and must extend my gratitude to the non-blogger who seems to have helped you come to this decision in some lovely way. (Although quite what you think you are doing consorting with non-bloggers is perfectly beyond me. You would mix with "real" people, the enemy? Sheesh.)

Just one thing (I'm being v. disciplined here) about becoming involved with people "who exist as disembodied beings". Well, yes, that seems fair to say, I suppose. It does rather encourage the practise of carefully reading the words of those one meets, however - or, if you like, listening to them. I struggle to think, really, of a better way to start a lasting friendship.

And I've never really paid much heed to those who are instinctively dismissive towards blogging. If they want to try to feel better about themselves or adopt an air of cool superiority - let them. Their loss, really, and I'm hardly likely to lose much sleep about missing out on their company.

I would lose a good few nights, however, at the prospect of missing out on yours. So just you keep going, Signs, or you run the risk of making me very cross indeed.

Kind regards and loads of good things,


(Hello to Nicola and Greenwords, too)

Reading the Signs said...

Nicola, I think perhaps Mr. TPE here is one of the company you were referring to. If "by their friends shall ye know them" is anything to go by then I am one cool and charismatic entity, speaking as one of the growing number of disembodied (are we not spirit, Mr. TPE?). For he is a bit like a peripatetic rock star, kind of celebrated wherever he goes. And why? For the words alone, or whatever it is that comes through them. It may be because of the lower half of his face though which, as you can see, is also nice - presumably why he chooses to celebrate it by giving us a tantalising glimpse.

Mr. PE, I like to think that we might be instrumental in converting the non-blogging "real person" enemy to fabulous disembodiedness - the place where every word counts and so do you (sorry, just thinking up some possible slogans here, in case you think it's worth promoting). The sound of one hand clapping.

Good as ever to see you.

(oh for god's sake, why won't my own word ver let me in, and what is the meaning of payfoqr?)

Anna MR said...

Honey Signs, always a delight to find a new post from you, and one that seems to state you are not stopping after all is particularly wonderful. Out of the (non-bloggers') perceived categories of bloggers (teenager, pervert, weirdo, sad) I fall into at least one, possibly several, so what I have to say may not convince the "enemy" (thank you, hello, and a big squeeze, TPE). But that is hardly going to stop I will say it here as I have elsewhere - getting to know you has enriched my life, like finding a friend does. I look forward to the trend continuing.


(your word ver payfoqr means, of course "pay for outside quaint respect" (what non-bloggers have to do to be thought of as anywhere near respectable by the blogging community)
my word ver iurqcs means "in your cute city, Signs")

(and the inevitable second go bnkylntg means "ha ha, Anna MR, you think you'll beat the word ver leprechaun? You have another thing coming")

Anna MR said...

Oh Signs, I couldn't resist coming back and giving you this related quote I was made aware of at is now officially alright to be a blogger (or maybe, it has just been made impossible for sane, good, kind, selfless, creative, wonderful, etc folk like yourself, TPE, me, etc to continue?! oh noooo) because today's Daily Telegraph categorically states that

"The 'web-log', once the preserve of a clique of social misfits, has been transformed into a mainstream tool of mass communication for all manner of executives."

Full article under my signature.,,

myccni - a type of fungus found exclusively within the blogosphere

Nicola said...

Oh yes, Signs, most definitely, TPE is. As are you - warm and empathetic along with the cool charisma. I sense I have landed on a friendly shore.
Eurocamp? You must be joking. Not nearly arduous enough. I have just been told that the chair, canvas, low-slung, I was allowed last year is now verboten due to small car space. I plead - somewhere, anywhere, a chair-space to write in.
Thank you, TPE too, for your welcome.

Reading the Signs said...

Nicola, thank heavens you haven't pegged out hauling the guyropes - but hang on, perhaps you haven't gone yet, still time to change your mind! But as you are here (and welcome to the clique of executive social misfits), may I formally introduce you to Anna Prince of Finland, Queen of Word Verification.

Anna, my dear, lovely to see you. Have just been to see the opera in Lewes I mentioned to you with the members of the Finnish National Opera looking and sounding thoroughly gorgeous and I have now decided definitely to come back as a Finn in my next incarnation.

Back later, re the rest


Mellifluous Dark said...

Signs 'signing out'? No, this must not happen.

I think people are on one level intrigued that bloggers can find something to write about (and do so with eloquence). They are just jealous.

If writing things down regularly makes one a weirdo, then I am surely a queen weirdo, having done this since I was able to write. Ah, well.

Reading the Signs said...

hello, MD - it isn't, of course, at all weird; it just becomes so if one really thinks about it, and the best way of proceeding with creative writing, by which I don't just mean obvious things like proper stories and poems but things like this, and things like correspondence between like minds or minds that seek to discover each other. As with any creative process, it doesn't do to try and nail it down if it looks like wanting to change.

Anna, I am addressing you too here. And further, re the above, though this blog began as one kind of thing - the idea being to put up posts of roughly the same number of words every few days - I didn't consider that a possible creative "fallout" from this would be the connections made with certain people as a consequence - enriching and enlivening, even when the blog posts themselves are shorter and often a bit scrappy.

A conversation (which blogging sort of is, even if there are no comments one is still talking to people) or a piece of writing, if it is creative will often discover itself in the making or in secret places, unplanned (in the comments section, for example).

I'm glad you dealt with the payfoqr, Anna, because my twisted mind was taking a completely different direction. Keep challenging it, the word ver, don't let it defeat you. Have just realised I didn't look at the article you kindly provided. I go, I go, as the disembodied Ariel says to Oberon.

NMJ said...

Hey Signs, I hope you don't stop blogging - those who diss it just don't get it. Sure, a lot of blogs are crap, but a lot are bloody good, a lot of bloggers are magnificently wise and kind, and it is always great writing practice, if nothing else.


Anna MR said...

Signs, my honey, beloved Kolmio Merkkienselittäjä, you already are an honorary Finn, as you know. May we find each other again, whatever we come back as. I have forgotten to google the Finnish Opera (air for my disembodied brains). I am glad they did Finland proud, though, it would have been most embarrassing for me to explain away if they had been totally awful.

I love blogging, as we all know, and the best part of it has got to be the weirdness that takes place in comments sections. It just wouldn't be the same only to write little musings of my own, and not be able to get into the various verbal fireworks with people who make me alternately guffaw out loud and feel deep pangs of existential awareness-shocks.

This seems as good a place as any to say hei Nicola, I was squirming with embarrassment for not having said hello to you earlier - please be assured this was simply due to shyness and not bad breeding. Hello and hei all the same, it is lovely to make your acquaintance. (This goes for you too, Greenwords, - but I feel less bad about not saying hei to you earlier because I have recently hei'd you over at your house. Hei MD too, I have only just been talking to you over at mine, it was lovely to see you there.)

(Signs, sorry - your house has turned into a literary salon where your guests talk to each other. Get over it. We love you too.)

Right, my dearest Puck (sorry, couldn't resist), I shall be off soon, but not before I've told you two things: firstly, you are currently commenting at my house (multiple windows and email notifications rule ok, and so does in particular synchronicity). Secondly, the word ver leprechauns know I'm here, as they have sent me

zfhtq - which, of course, means
zany f*cking has total quality


because they were pissed off I cleared that one, they sent me

lzrfa - which, of course, means
let zanyfucks rest, f*cking Anna

Reading the Signs said...

That's very true, NMJ, and yours was one of the first blogs I came across and regularly read and occasionally commented on, before deciding to begin my own.

Now Anna, I am happy to be given this information about your good breeding. Not that I had any doubts, you understand, but one likes for one's intuitions to be confirmed. Only Aristos here, as you know. Literary salon? I should coco!

cusp said...

Well I for one am very pleased tha you decided to blog because via NMJ I found you and, for whatever reason, it was regular rdaing of the Trinity of RTS, NMJ and Seats for Landing that got me blogging again. I'm so gald I did and I have 'met' all sorts of good people.

To those who don't blog the whole thing probably looks tenuous, fragile, virtual but once you're inside this world and the communication is regular I honestly believe that it is one of the better aspects of the Internet. The support from like minded people, the exchnage of ideas, resources, the freedom for expression in a way tah is often difficult in real life is a boon to many people -- bit espceially people who are isolated in some way

Keep writing and sharing and making me laugh and ponder.

Here's to the next 6 months. Cheers !

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Cusp, yes to all you have said - but the interesting thing is that blogging seems to have been taken up by people who are also very busy in the outside world but want a space to share and process ideas. It sometimes seems to me an extraordinarily generous thing to do. The poet I referred to in my post leads such a packed and busy life, it makes my head spin even to think about it. Yet she finds it centres her and helps support all the other things. Of course it is also, potentially, a distraction.

Thank you for the lovely comments.

Anna MR said...

I need to say a quick hi to NMJ now, Signs the Blog Salon Hostess, because she snuck in while I was blethering earlier and was, unlike me, concise and to the point, as is her wont. And not just a hei and hi either - I note that hers was also one of the first blogs I came across and started following, and it appears also to have been the case for Cusp and yourself, Signs. What a hub of blogosocial connectivity you have been, Lady of Velociraptor Legs (sorry, couldn't resist). Thank you for putting so many like-minded people in contact with each other, girl.

Hugs all round


NMJ said...

This is great, according to Cusp, I am part of a holy blog trinity (along with Signs, & Seats for Landing)!

And I am very happy, Anna MR, to have been a hub of connectivity. After you discovered me, I discovered you, and that was quite an unexpected journey from Hawaii to Finland.

And Signs, I got your first comment when I was on holiday in Dubai, so that added to the surrealness of it all.

Blogging rules.Pure and simple.


Reading the Signs said...

Not only is NMJ concise and to the point, Anna, she knows exactly where she was when I first commented on her blog. Now that is class. Pleasure to triumverate with, really.


Signs, what a lovely explosion. People seem nice and friendly round these parts, don't they? You would have been as mad as a Finnish goose to stop blogging, you see?

Obviously, I am far too humble and shy to mention that you just called me a peripatetic rock star and it hurts me a little bit, of course, to even draw attention to the fact. But you did, so we're all just going to have to learn to live with it.

I think it's a fine idea to convert the "real" person enemy, Signs. I do notice, however, that as we prepare to continue to take this fight to the infidels, Nicola finds herself uncomfortably stranded between the warring factions.

Nicola, you are here, you are with us....and yet, and yet, and yet. I see no blog, merely a name leading to a page that might as well say "I just don't know, I suppose I might, but we'll see how things pan out with the weirdos first".

You have taken a brave and wise step in the right direction by being here, of course, so you are no longer completely and irredeemably "real" - for which fact I heartily commend you, because that can't have been easy. Do please strive to become completely disembodied and unreal, however, or how will we know you’re for real? (Lovely to meet you, by the way, it’s nice that you took the time to say hi back. Very nice, in fact.)

Leader Signs - don’t worry, I think I’ve taken care of The Nicola Issue. We’ll talk about this problem at the next meeting. Shh….

Right, I should shut up. Just to be serious for a minute, though - blogging does rule (correct, young NMJ). There are many reasons for why this is so, and to each their very own. Personally speaking, Signs, and above all else, I like the connections that are made. And I simply adore the gloriously ridiculous hullabaloo generated as human animals, wary beasties at the best of times, go about the peculiar business of talking to each other, as equals and friends, in space.

It's not such a bad thing, is it?

Good things only to you, Leader Signs, and to all those in here beside you - with a "squeeze" added and returned happily to the loon, Anna MR.

Kind regards etc....


Reading the Signs said...

I imagine Nicola is tied up with guyropes in Hepworth, Mr. TPE, but I'm sure that you have, as you say, taken care of the matter.

And now we will set out to conquer the rest of the world, I suppose. Slogans, we need more slogans:

Log in, Sign on, Disembody?
- er - please put on the agenda for the next meeting. And keep rockin'

Anonymous said...

I am probably all of the above: weird, sad, pathetic, a pervert, a post-teen, an everyman. I am here for the very reason you write of, to put something "down" on a regular basis.

I cannot tell you how your words, your blog has touched me. I know I said this before, but I feel like a comment from you, a post from you is like a semester with the best damn professor you will ever have.

Thank you, Signs, for you.

Reading the Signs said...

goodthomas my friend, whatever club it is that you are a member of, I reckon I'll sign up too. Thank you (but you have made me blush).

I think perhaps the reason that blogging is so disparaged by some is that whatever is put up is likely to be ephemeral. They are not set in stone or bound in paper. They come, are sometimes silly, sometimes brilliant, sometimes sad - and they pass, as do we. To end on melancholy, gt, a temptation I seldom resist.

Reading the Signs said...

But I have not made sense, have I? I meant of course that posts, comments and such are "not set in stone" etc., I did not mean people (though I suppose that's possible).

But you knew what I meant. Of course you did. It's just that I don't always - know what I meant, I mean.

Anonymous said...

Of course I knew what you meant.

And I have written it down in my hard covered notebook, not in stone, like any good student.

Reading the Signs said...

Goodthomas, I almost thought you'd given me an idea for a title: The Stone Notebooks - and then remembered The Stone Diaries, which has already been taken.

Anonymous said...

for some reason, although I have a blog on blogger it never lets me leave any messages here. I must be doing something wrong, my techno skills being somewhat lacking. Anyway if it doesn't say, this is MOONOVERWATER. I just want to say that I have bookmarked your blog because it always sets me thinking in good ways. My daughter has a friend (aged 16) with ME, and suffers the pangs of being close to someone who for the last year and a half has been literally taken out of her life. Not only has her friend been cheated out of those crazy teenage years, but so has my daughter, who has broken away from the crowd she used to hang around with because she is just not interested in random couplings with random boys, or drugs, or drinking till you puke. Good for her I think, but it leaves her alone and sad for her best friend. And so I read your blog, which gives me an insight and a sense of somehow being closer to the situation. I am also writing, and find your writing inspirational and simple. Simple in the sense of clear good writing. This is a long winded way of saying that yes, there are many of us reading you and celebrating the fact we found you by chance. Wonderful serendipity. Don't stop. I would miss you terribly.

wordstar said...


Reading the Signs said...

Thank you so much, moonoverwater, your kind words are greatly appreciated - and I remember you. Your blogger name (yes, you have got through) appears to be Wordstar. Which name do you prefer?

It is particularly terrible, I think, when this illness hits a young person who is still developing, as one does at that age, a sense of who she is. And it is a loss for your daughter. Good for her, as you say, that she has chosen her own way and not taken on a false mantle of identity.