I was monologuing my mum about the point of this blog. Came up with half a dozen reasons. As you might be reading this because we've bludgeoned the address your way via our Christmas Card and newsletter - you are so brave! welcome! - E suggested that I ought to break you in, gently, with a recap as to why I'm doing it.
So here are the reasons, in no particular order:
First, practice: I've written and drawn stuff since I was little, but this is the first time I've had a go at producing something substantial. At the same time, each post is a fresh page in a virtual notebook. I want to get better.
Second, investment: relocating to somewhere with an identity as strong as the North East is for the long term, and for all the joy, can be hard work. Here's a bit of upfront investment in Whitley Bay: "I don't know you, but I want to get to know you, and this is my way of saying so."
Third, experiment: what happens as I get to know Whitley - the people, the culture, the contexts? And what happens as I engage with what I find out? This is entering the realm of psychogeography; starting to tiptoe around questions of spirituality. It's taking ideas about the impact of the Information Society (from my librarian days) and mixing them with a dose of creativity (as an artist). Does mythologizing a place help it to find a meaning otherwise hidden to itself?
Fourth, incarnation: I've elected to move, in adult life, through a naive Christian evangelicalism, and a period of rejection of all things religious, finally to a tentative re-engagement with the Big Questions. And I guess what I admire about the church I've left is the belief that stuff happens not when you believe it, but when you start to embody it. You take the risks; you say and do foolish things. I believe in love, in the meaning it gives to lives. I want to make a difference. I believe writing does this, and art, and engagement with people. Blogging is one way I incarnate what I believe is important.
Fifth, communication: publishing online gets my thoughts out there. Well, publishing and then then publicising it all. I've read loads these past four years, and ideas are beginning to resonate with one another. I think I'm onto something; now I want a dialogue about it. Something about story-making and psychology, evolution and spirituality, anthropology and present day cultural change. A blog is something that doesn't require the endorsement of a formal institution before it is listened to. If people like it, they stick with it: if they don't, it's cheap and they can leave it behind. It gets its validity from its personal usefulness, its likeability; not its permanence or pay-roll number.
Sixth, evidence: I'm leaving tracks. For instance, I don't get money: I don't get money. But maybe, one day, E and I will role-reverse and I'll need to bring in the cash. Here's me saying to all my lovely potential employers, hey, I can stick at something. I can make it happen. I can dream, and take a risk, and come up with something a bit special. I'm not prepared just to sit around. What do you mean, everyone has a blog? Well, yo, I'm with it. I'm funky.
And there's a seventh: celebration. 'Cos Whitley Bay is great. It's a bugger, but it's a beautiful bugger. Weekends we go down to the beach and can look out to sea twenty odd miles, no interruptions. Great shops. Good food. Fantastic people. Self-esteem, at times, lower than the Mariana Trench.... And the pride of a princess.