Wednesday, 11 April 2018

#500 Thank you Fizzfan et al.

Thank you Fizzfan for all of your wonderful comments. It's been an absolute joy seeing your responses every day. I remember standing on a cold station platform last year at the height of the miserable house hunt and feeling reassured by your uplifting messages. I'm sure I will continue picking up the phone to check them out of habit for a while to come.

I'm looking forward to finding new ways of spending the extra twenty to sixty minutes every day such as staring out the window of trains or in the case of the tube, looking blankly at the overhead map and trying to avoid eye-contact with the other passengers.

When I started blogging five years ago, I originally considered writing daily but quickly imagined it would require immense dedication and opted to write something more weekly instead. Contrary to that expectation, at no point did writing over two hundred daily posts feel too taxing. I think a part of me must have needed to do it and found it therapeutic. 

I tested out my ability to keep up the posts beforehand by writing for ten days in a row and found that fine. I thought perhaps I would write daily for a month or two, then it became a daily ritual and I carried it on. Now I've reached a point where I would like to see what else I can do with the time.

Thanks also in no particular order to Hetal, Cath, John, Liz and my family, who I know read at times and anyone else who has taken an interest during the last eight months and the years before that.

Dan

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

#499 Winds in the east

The day after finishing the dust ball series, I sat down to write a blog post as usual. Something was different.

I'd been writing daily for eight months. The series itself had been a change in direction, preceded by a week's worth of posts on the theme of searching for a blog like mine. Which followed another week of posts about the university strikes. I'd started writing posts under themes because I felt like I wanted a change. Now I wanted another.

The journey through the blogosphere earlier in the year had highlighted the rarity of personal narrative blogs without a strong theme. They existed but were hard to find, at least among the ranks of the popular pages.

I wanted to explain that if I carried on blogging daily, the blog wouldn't grow and neither would I but I didn't know that. I wanted to say that the daily practice had become repetitive and that life wasn't supposed to be repetitive but I didn't know that either. It was what I liked to call playground logic. The kind that seemed to fit but was only half-true.

Maybe I just didn't want to write about my own life publicly anymore. Of course nobody just wants anything. I'd have my reasons. Boredom. Lack of reward. Lack of growth. Lack of change. A desire to do other things.

Bukowski famously said "If it doesn't come bursting out of you despite everything, don't do it." I'd felt guilty reading that but had done it all the same. Until I felt an urge not to do it. That was where I was at. I'd keep writing in some shape or form but for now, I only knew one truth. It was time for the blogging to end.

Monday, 9 April 2018

#498 Road Rash

It was pleasant riding the 176 across the thawed tarmac along Walworth Road into the city this morning. Rays poured in through the top deck windows. The intermittent, gentle but authoritarian sound of the prerecorded female destination readouts let me know I was on track and on time. It was slightly boring though.

A cyclist banged hard on the downstairs side panel with his hand. His way of letting us know we weren't the only road user. I'd met newbie London cyclists who still thought Road Rash was a skin condition. The reality was closer to the 90's Sega Genesis version. Machines raced aggressively down hazardous routes. The clang of fists on metal. Hurling insults, tasting smog and taking chances. Cycling anywhere in the city was taking chances.

The first time I rode a bike in London, I got hit and tumbled over the handlebars. The back wheel bent at a right-angle. I was ten. My dad leaped over the bonnet of the car and he and the driver exchanged swear words until a police officer came. As an adult, my bike hadn't suffered a scratch until that night I left it at Peckham Rye station. It was chained up but I should've known better.

I'd never replaced it. As I sat there on the top deck this morning, a part of me wished I was down on the concrete, heaving and weaving. Hammering the pedals, glancing back every so often to see what four-wheeled monstrosity I was competing with. The underdog of the road. Risking life for fitness and a more invigorating ride home.