WHY? (Good question, Sherlock…)

Apparently, there are murmurings and rumblings afoot in the ‘blogosphere’ (not sure if I like that word) at the moment, especially concerning one particular book blog, one that has been around for quite a while. The host of said blog has decided to hang up his virtual boots, mainly because of sniping and constant criticism. Now, I am only getting this at second-hand, as I don’t normally follow book-bloggers all that closely, principally because I have far too much to do on my own blog, plus I write for two book review websites and I write short stories – and, like everyone else, I only have twenty-four hours in which to do all that (believe me, I’ve tried to squeeze more hours out of a day, but laws of physics and all that are a complete bitch to work with – they’re incredibly jobsworth and stubborn).

All of which has prompted me to stretch back four months and try to remember why I started blogging, and then inspired me to write about it. Mainly because my good friend Mark West suggested that I start a blog, but also because I wanted to have some fun, which is currently still legal in this country as far as I am aware. Plus I wanted free lunches, as I hate making my own sandwiches. There was also a serious side to the blog, which was predicated on the idea that people would be interested in seeing how a new writer’s ‘career’ would pan out over the years. Things have subtly shifted a little in the last two months, from writing stories to mainly writing reviews, but that, too, is a part of the whole ‘charting the progress of’ thing. And there will be more shifts to come, no doubt.

I will admit to a fair bit of scepticism and reluctance initially with the whole blogging thing – I didn’t want to appear to be just another frustrated writer, desperate to make his mark and this is the only way I was able to do that, Plus, what was I going to talk about that would provide me with an endless fund of material to post every day? Would anybody be interested in what I have to say (because, let’s face it, blogging is to a large extent an exercise in ego-masturbation at heart)?

Yes, the giving of guidance to new writers like myself (and all written with more than a pinch of chutzpah, I realise now) would certainly fill up the first couple of weeks quite adequately I thought, but what else did I have? I had the reviews I’d written but, as a slow reviewer, they weren’t going to be anything but an irregular aspect of the blog. Then, of course, I started branching out into things like influences, both literary and cinematic. And finally, and most importantly, I asked for, and got, people already in the business to write guest-blogs for me. Even better, they were people who already had established audiences of their own.

And you know what? That initial reluctance has metamorphosed into a deep satisfaction, simply because I am enjoying the blogging far more than I’d anticipated. Yes, there is always the ‘what the merry hell am I going to write about today?’ thing that keeps rearing its ugly head most mornings, but I guess that all bloggers get that occasionally. It never fails to amaze me that, even after four months, I am still here. And that people (an average of 58 peeps a day, in fact) keep coming back to read what I, or my guest-bloggers, have pontificated on.

It was never about any vague notions of ‘immortality’, or making my mark in some meaningful way. Let’s face it, electronic media are, at best, ephemeral in nature, despite its almost universal ubiquity. It wouldn’t take much to destroy it all (one good Electro-Magnetic Pulse would see to that), composed as they are of intangible bits and bytes on a server somewhere, most often not even in the same country. Print media would be best for that. Strip away any pretentions and what you’re left with is a yearning for enjoyment, and getting it doing an activity that I love: writing and books – and those two things are indeed the cornerstones of this whole enterprise. Any recognition for what I do is ultimately a bonus, albeit a very welcome one (I am, after all, only human). And I am thankful, in a slightly bemused kind of way, that there are people who actually like what I do.

I will also admit to one other motivation, which may or may not have a greater or lesser influence on why I started in the first place. I am driven; in reality, I would say I am haunted. Generally speaking during my childhood (and this is nobody’s fault but my own, before anyone thinks I am looking for sympathy), people who should have known better told me I would never amount to anything; I was, at base, a very lazy kid at school. Some people actively discouraged any ambitions I harboured. A goodly proportion doubted me, at the very least. Deep inside, I have a very human desire to shove it all back down their throats; I am well aware that in reality, I doubt it matters, not to them (even if they remember anything about it) nor to anyone else. To think otherwise would be to delude myself. Despite consciously knowing this, still there is something very real that pushes me forward, impels me to keep on trying to achieve something. Like I say, I am only human.

However, having tasted the satisfaction I get from being here, the good news for you lot is that I am not going away – you’re stuck with me. And that’s also the bad news – you’re definitely stuck with me.  =)

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