The big five-oh

November 6, 2012

For anyone who hasn’t been following this blog sequentially, you may have missed the fact that I’ve been promoted, job-wise, in the world of work. Consequent upon this has come an astonishing amount of extra work, which I directly blame for my failure to write very much here.

Instead of having a nice and interesting time, and following it up with hours of gentle reflection, I’m currently spending most of my waking hours dealing with vacation requests from my staff and deploying people to go to stupid press conferences about shit that I don’t care about.

This is pretty much as I feared. And is why I have announced to the board that I’d like to step down as soon as is feasible. (Just so you don’t think I’ve been fired, if and when the news ever trickles out.) Business news, and the avoidance of it, is the reason I moved here in the first place.

As Dr Johnson so famously said, “no one but a block head ever wrote except for money” [don’t bother telling me how wrong I’ve got that quote], and I utterly believe in that. This blog has,oddly enough, brought me several writing gigs, for which I’m profoundly grateful.

So this blog post is number 50: WordPress is full of exhortational statistics and encouraging quotes to keep you at it. Oddly enough, though, it doesn’t keep a running total of words written. I estimate I’ve now written about 30,000 words here, which is both ’meh’ and far too much.

I’m a bit conflicted about this whole blogging thing: I’m not a big self publicist, and don’t really like drawing attention to myself. When I started, I saw this as just being easier than writing postcards to keep anyone who might care in the loop.

But, as it turns out, I quite enjoy the process. It forces me to crystallise my thoughts in a systematic manner, and to bring some semblance of order to the terrible chaos that is my mind. I enjoy trying to express myself clearly. I like writing; it’s refreshing and clarifying and thoughtful.

But it is also hugely self-referential and egotistical, and that makes me uncomfortable. I loathe reading whatever I’ve written, because I can see how badly I’ve done it.

At one point, soon after I got to Phnom Penh, I was musing gently on blogging as I walked down a side street, thinking about how life becomes grist to the blogger’s mill. Nailed to the side of a shop was an advertisement for some brand of Cambodian biscuits, and I found myself working on a clever sentence about biscuits.

Then it struck me. To be honest, even I’m not really even interested in what I think about biscuits. Good god, how dull would that be? I’m not interested in what anyone thinks about biscuits, whether you’re Salma Hayek or Jimmy Page or John Updike. (Actually, I’d listen to Updike on biscuits. But no one else.)

But, if the folks, my friends back home, might want to know about life in Phnom Penh, then perhaps I have a duty to set down my thoughts. But not about sodding biscuits.

The WordPress blog architecture offers an easy poll option, where reads can vote on any subject I ask. I have considered trying out the software and asking if I should continue writing this egotistical nonsense. I think I prefer not to know. So you’re stuck with it.

(I have also considered using the WordPress poll thang to see if people think Jimi Hendrix’s guitar solo on Red House is better than Eric Clapton’s on Crossroads. That’s the level I operate best at.)

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4 Responses to “The big five-oh”

  1. Georgie M said

    Don’t consider stopping blogging here – ever! Your news – however political or otherwise is a joy to receive. You write like a legend R, always thoroughly enjoyable. Miss you massively.stop the job – keep writing to us :)))))

  2. danielkrieger said

    I started reading your blog at the recommendation of your dad, who I am a big fan of. I understand your point about the danger of a blog seeming overly self-referential and egotistical, which is what has prevented me from starting one in my own writing career, but I have never gotten even whiff of that while reading your highly entertaining and informed posts. The quality of your keen observations are what makes it all hang together. Hope you keep it up!

  3. Catherine Klingel said

    Rupert, never stop writing…it is too entertaining. I love the way your mind works. Catherine

  4. Henry Boddington said

    What have you got against baked goods Rupert? First cup-cakes and now biscuits? Or is it that you love baked goods too much? But writing about them, and nothing else, would be even more tragic and self-indulgent than writing about yourself?

    Even though your blog is saved on my bookmarks, I’m pretty rubbish at checking in. That said there is something so very re-assuring to know that when I find myself with a spare moment I can click a button and read some interesting, amusing and informative posts from across the way. Cambodia, Phnom Penn and South East Asia in general are so, quite like the author, wonderfully fascinating. It’s always great to have them and you brought to life no matter where I am in the world, so please, keep ’em coming……

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