Tuesday, 16 December 2014

If On A Winter's Night A Blog Reader

You are about to begin reading a post on Include Me Out. Perhaps you are on a bus, a train or waiting for either. You may be hurriedly surfing the internet, as people do, in search of something interesting because you either have no interest in your immediate environment or have looked around and found nothing of interest. You may be sick of being told how to spend your money by the advertising hoardings across the tracks, road or on the bus shelter. Perhaps the mention of those causes you to momentarily look up from the little screen, in which case, I apologise. You're right to ignore them. You can also ignore the people around you. They are strangers. That said, you may amuse yourself by imagining the kinds of jobs they are going to, or returning from. Is there an elderly person amongst them? Someone who is over 70? It is unlikely, since the elderly tend to remain in their homes, don't they? Very few go to work. But should there be an elderly person in your vicinity, what are they doing? Where are they going? No matter, you are reading this. Perhaps you will continue when your transport arrives. You may be on it now. Is it a crowded carriage where you could not get a seat? Or were you lucky enough to enter before the others and quickly take the recently vacated seat? That's good. Relax for a while.

Perhaps you are at home, on the sofa, with your feet up and the TV on, muted. Occasionally you are distracted by it's flickering images but remain disinterested in the content. You are staring at the small screen of your handheld device. Or are you sat at the table in front of your desktop computer? Straighten up. It's not good to sit hunched for so long. That's it. Is there music playing? Perhaps you have the device on shuffle. You hear a piece of music that's great but have no idea who it is. You check. Of course! You make a mental note that will, in all likelihood, become scrap on the vast heap of information in your head. No matter. You carry on reading. As a reader of personal blogs sometimes containing more than 200 words you are in a minority, so we are told. This is an age of snapshot information and images. It is one you have adapted to, yet still enjoy reading something other than Tweets. This may be so because you are of a certain age and grew up accustomed to reading passages of considerable length in the form of newspapers, or novels by authors such as Italo Calvino.

You came across Include Me Out because you Googled a piece of music, a subject or person. In which case, welcome. But you are wondering where this is going. Or you have a good idea because you understand the reference. Perhaps you read this blog regularly, or only occasionally. It is one of many you have bookmarked. There are Blogs You Bookmark But Have Rarely Revisited, Blogs Run By Friends Whom You Feel Duty-Bound To Support But Fail To Do So Enthusiastically, Blogs You Meant To Revisit But Did Not, Blogs You Revisited After A Long Gap Only To Find Them Closed, Blogs You Liked Once But When They Gradually Changed Stopped Reading, Blogs That Are Written By Professional Journalists Which Exhibit A Thorough Knowledge And Understanding Of English Yet Prove Quite Boring, Blogs Which Make You Laugh, Blogs Which Offer Wisdom But Tell You Nothing New.

Perhaps you rarely read blogs, preferring the rapid roll of brief messages on Twitter from friends and famous people. That way, you feel you are constantly being updated and therefore remain in touch with the worlds you are interested in. You may bookmark this blog, or go away and never return. It is no big deal either way. There is plenty more to be discovered on the internet. The possibilities are endless. Yet that very fact can be problematic; it is an itch that can never be properly scratched. It is a promise always unfulfilled. Perhaps it is best to limit the amount of time you spend looking and concentrate on a few things that have proved satisfying in the past. Other people will be looking for you and offering articles for you to read on the endless feed which still leaves you hungry.

Long-form blogs written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time each of which goes off along its own trajectory and immediately disappears. This is the world and you cannot reverse it, cannot return to days when blogging was new and writers were unburdened by constraints, real or imaginary. Perhaps those were less cynical times. Or simply times when online life was not shattered into billions of fragments which, in turn, force contributors to be mere fragments themselves. No matter. For all the speed of life now, there is time to be made, if you want.

So here you are now. Did you scroll to this point before reading it all? Perhaps you wondered how long the post was. Now you can continue on your journey.


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