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The format tyranny

At least, that’s where it starts.  This e-book mania entails so much time in editing , formatting, designing covers, etc., that all the old joy – the transcendent love of writing for its sake is gone!  And I have to ask myself, honestly;  was I happier before I even tried to publish?

This is not an easy thought to encompass:  Everyone I suppose craves some form of recognition; some validation for their life.  They were here for a purpose, they made things change.  But I begin to see things differently.  If, as I believe, all life is just some sort of glorious accident, then what is the point of change?  We leave pretty much where we arrived, and we are noticed no more or less at the end than the beginning.  So is my loft life – writing, writing, writing – a futile exercise inasmuch as it concerns no-one else?  I do it for myself, after all.  It inhibits thought in other, less welcome directions.  I do not have to subject myself to that ruthless self-examination that comes in the night.

With new books in my head I should be writing them, not pfaffing around with nannyish editing systems which stultify any form of creative urge.  Just because I can write – and write well – does not mean I should be read.   I should banish any thoughts of material success through my writing completely.   Let the world go without my invaluable wisdom, since it does not appear to want it!.

Occupy London

Even as I write this I know my voice will get lost; that there must be upwards of a hundred thousand blogs on this same subject, with this same view, by now.  But sometimes the fingers have to write.  That is nature.

We need to use this word ‘democracy’ with care.  If something is worth having, it is worth nurturing, venerating, bringing into being.  It should never be entrusted to those who seek power, because power does not have a voice in a democracy:  only wisdom should have a voice.

In truth, all ideals in modern society are reduced to emotive words.  They mean precisely nothing, because each one of them is  just a tool subjugated to the will of those who seek power.   And if they are ever to gain credence (personally I don’t believe they ever had it) it will require a seed change so entire that world revolution will seem a paltry description.   Old idealist that I am, I believe the web could be the means to that change:  one language to bring the world of real people together.  But in the meantime….

So ‘bailiffs’ have moved in on the St. Paul’s occupation (worth mentioning, incidentally, that the Occupy London movement never intended to be there – their target was the City itself and the Bank of England, I believe.  they were herded there in the first place by the police) – interesting word, ‘bailiff’.   A faceless word.   Who are they, these minions of the State?   Years ago in the miners’ strike Margaret Thatcher proved you could make anyone a policeman just by putting the right coloured coat on their back, so what coloured coat does a bailiff wear?  Underneath, what are they?  Army?

You see where I’m going.   England just had its very comfortable, very English little Prague Spring, all done with that panache of which the faceless ones who rule us are so proud:  so utterly British, so appreciated by the country at large who never experience the brutishness of the traditional English copper, who have never been ‘kettled’ until they can’t breathe.  And so controlled in its media exposure that its truth is scarcely seen.

We have learned a lot since Peterloo, since ‘Derry.  But where progress is concerned, we seem to have moved forward not one step.

These last few weeks it seems I have been driven by the demands of e-publication:  the advent of the e-book, whilst a great new frontier for the aspiring writer, is a hard task-master.  So much time has to be devoted to chasing those little errors around the screen – a task which, in times gone by, was the province of the great unseen – those who held the grease-guns to the engine of the press.   It is an experience very like arriving for a meal at a fine restaurant, only to be told to assist in cooking it first. 

Is that arrogant?  Well yes, I suppose it is.  Wasn’t it Laurie Lee who extolled the virtues of writing by hand:  the flow and rhythm of the mind and the pen, etcetera?  And sometimes I truly wish I could write by hand, but I confess the keyboard has very much become my pen, and the flow and rhythm part has been replaced by RSI, or something of the like.  So now I am paying the price of ease.  Although I may not wish it, the engine room is still very much with us;  the skills required may differ – HTML does not respond particularly to a grease-gun – but ‘word processing’ is far from simple.  In fact the very term is a lie.

I am learning, though, and could learn so much more, if there were more time.  But writing is an obsession – even this – and each moment I sit before this screen is a moment lost if I am not saying something, telling a story to someone, trying to make life better! 

If I examine the changes of the years, that is the difference:  for so much of my life writing has been self-indulgent, a personal expression maybe to sensitive to be exposed to daylight.  Now, I need to share, need to relate, which is why so much of my ‘old stuff’ no longer works.  I have to begin anew; and as I draw dangerously close to December, a fortnight chasing dots is a long time.