New Year’s resolutions. That’s how this usually starts out. The arbitrary, yet symbolic moment in time you decide to take up fitness. Or drawing. Or spending more time with the grandchildren. For me it was starting this blog… again.
Actually it wasn’t. The original goal was to start writing again. This blog just happens to be the medium of choice. I could have gone the route of filling up -yet another- overpriced moleskine notebook, which I will do inevitably. White people really love their moleskine journals. But the contents of those little black books is hard to share and having an audience is part of the deal.
Ah, the deal. Now we’re getting somewhere.
– “What deal?”
Well, earlier this year a facebook acquaintance of mine, an illustrator, embarked on an epic quest to improve his drawing skillset by pledging to the 1000-sketches-challenge. That basically involves doing 1000 sketches or studies over the course of one year. That also averages to three sketches per day. You do the maths, I’m sure you can. It’s not that difficult. Now, “improvement” is a rather relative and subjective term, especially when there is no one to judge, critically examine or generally just look at your sketching. So my man, Jordy Lakiere gathered around him a loyal following, joining him on this sketchy pilgrimage, this quest for the one ring, this holy grail of drawing #1000. I applaud their effort, determination and dedication. But I’m not an illustrator.
I. Use. Words. I use metaphors for pen strokes and analogies as brushes. I joust with verbal jabs and throw down with slam poets. Except that I’m a bit rusty. As I glance over the paper version of this text so far (yes, it’s in a moleskine notebook. Sue me.), I realise I haven’t written anything coming close to the length of this piece in over five years. Five. I’m thirty now, that’s sixteen percent of my life. (Go ahead, do the maths. I dare you to.)
And I miss it. I really do. I miss the search for the perfect word, the dilemma of juxtaposing a clause to keep in line with the cadence of a text. I miss the self-induced ego-trip on nonchalance in publishing a draft without editing. “Nailed it!”
And apparently, other people miss it too.
As some of my older readers might know, there comes a time (not necessarily New Year this time, although there is something to be said about the correlation there) where you realise: “Hey, that person used to mean so much to me. I haven’t talked to him/her in quite a while.” This is usually followed by a second realisation that “quite a while” is in fact five to ten years, a substantially longer period you originally thought. In fact, “quite some time” is closer to the timespan between that first and second realisation.
So you reach out, start talking, catch up on each other’s lives. If you’ve done this a couple of times, like I have in the past year, you’ll see a pattern starting to emerge right there: The importance of the third question.
– “The third question?”, I imagine you asking at this point in our fictional, scripted dialogue.
– Yes. Every conversation you have with someone that you used to know will start with questions. Pairs of mutually repeated questions, to be exact. The first pair is the most obvious: a mutual “How have you been?” This generic opener and the answer provided are mostly an indication whether your conversational partner is open to advancing this reintroduction and moving on to wherever you left off so many years ago. The second question is the “So, what do you do in life now?” This question usually refers to work or different forms of employment and is merely posed as a curtesy, a question out of politeness imposed upon us by a capitalist system that reduces people to their labour, insisting that your job is your most defining quality. Next comes the third question. The important one. It can take many forms, but it always reveals how the other sees you, remembers you. In my case, it has been, without exception: “Do you still write?” That appears to be what people know about me, I write.
Dear diary… blog
I feel like I’ve been neglecting you. I feel like I’ve been neglecting writing and in doing so I’ve been neglecting me. So my New Year’s resolutions this year are:
1. Get back into shape. Take up running, perhaps even see the inside of gym for once.
2. Stop postponing getting haircuts.
3. Take up writing again.
Now, a 1000-post-challenge would be all sorts of ridiculous (who writes three posts per day, amirite?) and a 1000-word-challenge would be over in one blogpost. The magic of Microsoft word wordcount informs me that by the time I finish writing, this piece of text will count eight hundred and seventy-two words. Let’s take this post as an average and seeing as I’d like this to be a weekly thing, that brings us to fifty-two time nine hundred and thirty-two, which makes for a forty-five thousand three hundred and forty-four word challenge. Deadline is February 4th, 2018.