Difference is Good

I use Scrivener to keep much of my online presence in one place — all these blog posts are crafted here. In the binder, within the “Blog Ideas” folder, there are currently 76 different pieces in various stages of composition. Five are mere titles with a question mark, but most have some further notes. At least half of them are mostly written, amounting to thousands of yet-to-be-seen words. Some may morph into Things to Pitch and Sell, but many should appear here. One day — wait and see.

Shells, sand, beach, differences, Dunnet, Caithness
This has nothing to do with this post…

I do not want to rush pieces to conform to a schedule. So many blogs I have seen are peppered with “Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while” posts — I have been guilty of this myself on more than one occasion — when this is not really needed.

As far as I am concerned, at this stage, regular posts are not as important as quality posts. I have been trying to post a longer piece on Tuesdays and a shorter one (or photos or video) on Thursdays, as I mention here, but if I do not get this done, well, as long as it’s for a good reason, I really don’t care overly much. (The crucial phrase is “good reason” — if I don’t stick to my schedule and have no good reason, that’s not so good. This schedule was implemented to try and persuade me to keeping sharing ideas and thoughts — I need to be doing things in order to do more things. I am one of those people who does more when I am doing more, if that makes one iota of sense? If I slow, or pause, then it takes some oiling and winding to get my clockwork running once more).

Recently I have been giving a lot of thought to what I should be posting here. Should I be focused (all the how-to blogs suggest this is a good idea), perhaps on bushcraft? Or writing? Or natural history? Or books I read? Or Scotland? Or travel? Or…? The list goes on.

Should I narrow this down? I think not. I can list posts using categories just as easily. True, some of you may not be as interested in, say, wild-fungi-I-have-eaten-and-how-to-cook-them as you would be in, for example, how-to-set-up-Scrivener-for-a-multi-volume-epic. But that’s just life. I don’t expect you to like everything I post. Or even read it. I only hope some of you like like some of it, finding something interesting when you do read — but there is no more obligation or requirement for you to do so than there is for me to blog regularly.

Peeling paintwork on old and decaying wooden boat. Green and dark blue-black.
From my “Where boats go to die” set on flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjUJdtys


This blog is different to the other places I have shared thoughts — it is under my name, under my own domain. I am not hidden behind anonymity or obscurity. Instead there may be times those of you who know me outwith the internet read something you didn’t know about me — and it may leave you confused or questioning things. By all means engage, whether here or somewhere else* — even in the real world. Ask me your questions, tell me how something I crafted made you look at me differently.

But also ask yourself — since this is me, being me, being honest and open, why did you not realise something before? I suppose what I am saying here is, rather than going on an offensive because a piece I write does not represent the “me” you know, instead sit and wonder why you maybe didn’t know that point, or realise I held that view. In this age of vitriol, perhaps more people should think before they act.

One of the main reasons I left social media a few years ago — especially facebook — was down to these offensives. I was receiving messages from people who were my friends (not just facebook-friends, but real-friends) which saddened me. Some of these friends were surprisingly vehement in their choice of words to describe how my stepping outside the norm was wrong, how selfish it was.

Since then I have read much from travellers, digital nomads, outcasts and others who have deigned to live a life outside this norm. Apparently this is not something I alone experienced. When others decided to leave behind the world of the nine to five they also left themselves open to attacks from their friends and family — those who see such a move as an attack on their own way of life, when it is nothing of the sort.

I do not lay any blame for this beyond that I place on our current social structure. It is understandable that some people cannot themselves understand others stepping outside the life we are “supposed” to live. I don’t care about a large television, or a car, or fashion. I don’t want to spend money on holiday travel which lasts merely two weeks. I have no care to earn large sums of money or wear an expensive watch. That doesn’t mean I am right and they are wrong — merely that we are different.

wooden boat with peeling yellow and blue and white paint - differences in colour and texture
More peeling paintwork – a bit like me; worn, but still with colour…

Difference is the key word here — and I have always realised difference is a thing to be celebrated, not feared. As we approach a General Election here in the UK, difference is everywhere. Some politicians and much of the traditional media are trying to show how difference is a bad thing — how we can blame all our woes on immigrants, on those so desperate to get somewhere safe they are willing to risk everything, or on others within the same nation (I’m thinking SNP supporters here). They neglect to remind us how austerity and cutbacks are the direct descendant of their banking masters taking dangerous risks.

Scotland is once more at the centre of debate — it is like the waking of the Ents (sorry, paraphrasing a Lord of the Rings [film] reference here) — Scotland is waking up and realising she is strong. Surely this is a good thing, whether you agree with independence or not.

This piece is deliberately rambling, in case you were wondering. I have tried to show how I am full of differences myself, some contradictions perhaps, but many passions sitting neatly in harmony. I am a sum of my parts, as is the UK, as will be this blog.

I will slowly chip away at these 76 ideas here in my binder and add to them. I will not run out of things to say. Perhaps I’ll have spells when I am away from here, but I am hoping to queue up several posts in case this happens again. It doesn’t really matter.

I will also be soon moving back to my tumblr (or one of them — I have several), so I can post smaller snippets of thought, things which do not really merit the length of time a blog post takes — whether to write, edit, format, illustrate, check on the SEO, think of appropriate tags etcetera. Tumblr is useful for that. I hope to find a suitable plug-in for this site too, so the latest tumblr posts can be shown.

To conclude — and if you’ve got this far, I salute you — please don’t expect just the one thing here. It will be full of varied and hopefully interesting posts on diverse subjects, all linked by one thing — me. Forthcoming posts (may) include: “Into the Wild, and my issues with this”, “Gunnie Moberg and other subtle influences”, “Masks”, “Climbing cliffs in wellington boots”, “Neanderthals”, “On Stationery” and “Sitting above the eagles”. At least, those are some of the titles showing to my right.

Wait and see.

Beach in Caithness - Dunnet bay, with a beautiful rainbow over it  - symbolic of difference and similarity.
The rainbow is, of course, symbolic in many ways.

*more on these coming soon — I know I linked to the other places I can be found on the internet but, as yet, I have not actually started using many of these beyond setting up profiles, or cross-posting from here.


Currently listening to: the unbelievably talented Kishi Bashi, Live on KEXP, song is Manchester, mood is tingly.

Currently reading: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, by perhaps my favourite writer of all time, Laurie Lee. Again. I’ve lost track of how many times this is now. The prose is poetry, it drips with words and phrases perfectly chosen and crafted. Robert Macfarlane talks about it here.

Currently thinking about: how I really should cease checking the extraordinarily inaccurate BBC/Met. Office weather forecast and just look outside, check the wind and smell the air instead.

Currently also thinking about: where I read about birch log and bark circulation around the Arctic, from Siberia and Canada. It annoys me that I cannot remember. It’ll come, eventually.

Currently wearing: green. Of course.

Dunnet Beach, Caithness, Scotland
At last, this beach may bite.
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