I had a lovely time this morning talking to a local chapter of the PROBUS social club. Whereas I’m usually call to present on matters technical or policy, this morning I was given the chance to speak about my blog, and I used the opportunity to do a kind of single-person “songwriters’ circle,” reading from selected blog posts I’ve made over the last 20 years, and then chatting about the context that gave rise to them, and answering questions.
Here are the posts I selected, in the order I read them:
- How to talk to people about cancer
- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.
- The Great Under the Protection of the Small
- I Rode my Bicycle to Montreal (Not Really)
- Barry Hicken’s Green Pen
- Gifts from the Past
- Beautiful Woman
This format could have gone horribly wrong–reading blog posts in front of an audience? what folly is that!–but I think it worked out okay. I realized that when I write and revise I more often than not read posts aloud to myself, and try to inject a musicality into them, so they translate to the stage better than I thought they might.
The proceedings were also aided greatly by the curiosity of those present: they asked good questions. As it happened, I knew more than a few of those in the room, and, indeed, had written blog posts about more than a few of them as well (fortunately in a generally positive light).
Beyond anything else, I was happy for the opportunity to reflect on why and how and about what I write; it reconfirmed for me that I love this place, that’s it’s become integral to how I process my life. Who knew that the simple act of writing could be so powerful.