Very much in the manner of the grand old Duke of York (though without the ten thousand men – this isn’t that sort of blog), I cycled along the seafront this morning. I then (rather predictably, I thought), cycled back again. Ignoring the directional orientation, these were two very different journeys.
I begin the first in some discomfort, primarily because my bicycle seat was a block of ice. Now, I do not mean this figuratively, but literally. It became saturated after the thaw, and subsequently froze. Ouch. But the morning was fine, the light clear, the sea a beautiful, placid lake, with just the single fishing boat lazily chasing mackerel offshore. Immediately, I wished I had brought my camera. Cameras are like blogs. They record things, and do so in such a way as to present a partial version of truth, relative to one’s skill in wielding them. The more skill one possesses, the greater control one has over the truth.
The return journey met with a different world. Grey. Cold. Cold. Grey. No more the indolent trawler. No more the lake placid blue sea. No picture perfect moment. I realised that memories come in two flavours – the way it was, and the way in which it is presented.
Oh, I know, I knew this anyway, but intellectual understanding and actually feeling are different things. Quite, quite different. This change allowed me to feel what I already knew. Ironic that the grey skies brought on a sense of utter clarity which endures.
This begged a question (whatever begging a question really means). What is it ok to blog? Had I taken that photograph, and then placed it here – [use your imagination, go on, I dare you] – then some would have seen a moment they experienced captured, while others might have felt almost cheated. I didn’t see that …
The same with experiences. One has them, and most often in the presence or with the collusion of some other individual. On occasion one blogs simply to that other, writing a private note ‘in the hearing of others’. One necessarily pits one’s own reading of the ‘thing’ against the reading of the other.
In my last blog, I wrote the following:
‘It’s difficult, to be honest … to be honest. I am hidebound by loyalty and politesse, prevented from saying what I wish to say, from writing what I wish to write. An act of auto-censorship sparked by an act of censorship which proved a revelation.’
This elicited this response (and in posting this I am mindful of the fact that in some ways I am breaking a confidence, but I think it’s justifiable):
‘I don’t want you to feel that you can’t write what you want to write, because of me. Please proceed, sir – just with sensitivity where possible.’
This is not a carte blanche, more a caveat emptor. But there is more. Naturally, in a blogman a clef, some measure of anonymity is paramount. If only because it’s more fun that way (let alone more polite). We all know stuff about things. That doesn’t mean we should advertise the fact (like my ten thousand men – it’s a vicious rumour. For starters, where would I find the time?). Another comment, on the same post, read as follows:
‘Your latest blogs are heartbreakingly sad.’
Same scene, different viewpoints. For me, however, the clouds are lifting.