I can’t recall (or, perhaps more accurately, I don’t want to recall) the number of times that I’ve tried to keep a blog. On every such occasion, the same approximate sequence of events occurs: for a few days, I am exceedingly enthusiastic, and write new posts prolifically and feverishly. After a little while, my interest begins to fade, or I become distracted by other projects. Then, I return a few weeks later, thinking “I really ought to write another post on that thing”; I re-read what I had written in my previous posting frenzy, and come to the conclusion that it’s all wrong or horribly expressed or otherwise hideously embarrassing, and I have the immediate desire to delete the whole thing and start again. I must be incredibly foolish to think that this time will be any different.
This is actually a phenomenon which I experience with writing in general; my thoughts on various topics (and, just as importantly, my views on how best to express my thoughts on those topics) change very rapidly, with the result that anything which I wrote more than a couple of weeks ago seems totally alien and ridiculous in the light of all the new thinking which I’ve done in the intervening time. Of course, this pattern of constant rewriting and incessant clarification makes it impossible, or at least very difficult, for me to write anything of considerable length or substance. Given that I have a great desire to write many things of considerable length and substance, this is clearly a serious problem.
Hence, this blog. There are just so many ideas for papers, books, articles, stories, etc., which I have been carrying around in my head and meaning to write up for so long, and I would like to get at least a decent fraction of them done in 2017 (to ease the burden on my mind, if nothing else). Thus, I intend to use this blog as a kind of ‘staging area’: a place where all of my imperfect writings, and all of my half-formed thoughts and ideas, can be deposited, and begin to take shape, without first being subjected to my exacting standards of expositional perfection. As such, there will be moments where I contradict myself, or repeat myself, or veer off on unexplained tangents. I shall not attempt to justify, or even address, these occurrences; for me, contradictions, repetitions and tangents are all indispensable elements of the continual process of consolidating and crystallising my thinking (it’s rather like having a perpetual conversation with myself).
I suppose that this is the one thing which will distinguish this particular attempt from every other ill-fated blog-related misadventure: this time, I don’t expect anyone to read it but me.