An apology for the recent hiatus

It has been a long time, hasn’t it? I can’t remember when this blog had so long a hiatus between one post and the next. And even this post can’t really count as a proper post. You may find it hard to credit, but usually, I do try to shape and structure my posts, polish the sentences, try to ensure each sentence and each point flows naturally and smoothly from the previous sentence or the previous point, and so on. But I am not bothering with any of that here. This is simply an unmediated flow of whatever proceeds from my heat-oppressed brain. A stream of consciousness, if you will.

I won’t compile a list of reasons for the hiatus. Oh, very well then, I will: pressure of work, pressures outside work, illness in the family, a lesser indisposition of my own, and so on. Not to mention, not even by way of paralipsis, an inclination towards indolence that is both native and cultivated. Let us not dwell on these: these are all but the everyday slings and arrows that affect us all, and I am not claiming any special victim status. But it has meant that what little time I have had to myself, I have been too exhausted to shape and structure my posts, polish my sentences, and all the rest of it. Maybe, I thought to myself, I am feeling my age: I started this blog two days after my fiftieth birthday, and, given that my blog celebrated (if that’s the word I’m looking for) its fifth anniversary a few weeks ago, mathematicians amongst you should be able to figure out just how close I now am to physical and mental decrepitude. Do I have the energy for any of this, I wonder? Do I have the discipline to focus my mind, when all I really want to do is to settle back in my armchair with a dram of whisky?

And it’s not just my blog-writing that has suffered. My reading has, too. I am currently re-reading The Idiot (those great bearded 19th century Russians I have to keep returning to), but the rusty old brain has been so uncooperative that progress has been painfully slow. And as for browsing through other blogs – I am shamefully behind on that. The whole point of having a network of literary blogs is that one reads each other’s blogs, comments on them, gets into discussions, and so on. In general, I am usually better at reading other people’s blogs than commenting on them, but of late, even my reading of these blogs has suffered. And how could I possibly expect others to visit my blog if I do not, at least once in a while, put down my whisky and visit theirs? I’m afraid I can only put forward advancing old age and mental exhaustion as mitigating factors.

It has made me wonder whether I really should be bothering with a blog at all if I do not have the time or energy to do it properly. No – not “time”: scrub that bit. For to say that I am too busy to have much time to spare for my blog is to imply that other bloggers are not so busy as I am, not so hard-working, or whatever; and that implication, as well as being insulting, is utter nonsense. I really don’t want to be like those irritating people who, when they see you reading, tell you that they too should “get round” to reading “these books”, and that they will, some day, when they have the time. I feel like telling them that it’s not the lack of time that’s the issue – that one makes time for the things one is passionate about: the problem is the lack of will. I don’t say these things, of course, as I have been brought up to be polite; but since I have not been brought up to shun all hypocrisy, I find myself thinking these things while I smile and nod away in agreement.

Well, that’s my excuses over. Do please give me till the end of this week, and then, hopefully, I’ll be returning to my usual blogging self.

I should now be thinking of a few closing sentence that will round off this post in a satisfactory manner, but, as they say, sod that for a game of soldiers!

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17 responses to this post.

  1. I’m reasonably sure that I speak for many of the regulars who love this site when I say that I wish you the very best in getting through your current difficulties, Himadri. It’s a tribute to this blog that so many of us feel as if we kind of know you.

    I think, however, that if you need a break and maybe even a very extended one, then you owe us nothing. You do, however, owe it to yourself and to your family to look after your physical and mental health.

    I wish you well.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Mark on March 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I’d like to second Charley’s sentiments and also wish you well, Himadri.

    I think we all recognise the kinds of pressures you write about here. If it makes you feel any better, I have been “slogging” through Crime and Punishment (a novel I love) for about three weeks now and have only just started the fourth section – a pitiful reading rate. My brain won’t cooperate and I seem to be having problems with my attention span and with simply staying awake. Funnily enough, I plan on going on to the The Idiot next (one of my all-time favourites) but by recent standards I’ll still be reading it by Christmas. And I don’t even attempt to write a blog!

    As Charley says, you owe us nothing – but perhaps the spring, when it arrives properly, will provide a lift.

    All the best,

    Mark

    Reply

  3. Don’t give up! You have a wonderful blog. I really appreciate your thoughts and meditations on the literary greats. Thanks to you I am now reading D. H. Lawrence.
    Incidentally, I’ve recently starting reading The Idiot as well. It’s also a second read for me and I remember why I enjoyed it so much the first time.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Carl McLuhan on March 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    And I will follow up from Charley and Mark’s postings that you are going through a very human situation from which we all suffer from time to time. I’m not reading Dostoevsky at the moment, but trying to keep on top of my London Review of Books which comes every two weeks. And I don’t blog, but I do run a book club, the next installment of which arrives this Thursday, and I have to prepare for that. And whenever you do post a blog, you will find me there, enjoying whatever it is you have to contribute to the literate and not-so-literate world. Why do we do these things? Well, because we love the excursions which are rare enough in our mostly-money-oriented world.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Jonathan on March 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I’m sure your post was very interesting but I’m too busy to read it. Now, where’s my whisky gone?

    I can only manage about one post a month; I keep meaning to increase it but it just doesn’t happen. I’m a slow reader as well which doesn’t help.

    Reply

  6. I would be sad without my Git posts. But, no pressure.

    The Idiot is sitting in the middle of my “I’ll get around to it” piles, not for lack of interest but because the piles keep growing back. Like fingernails and dirty dishes. I look forward to your Idiot post, because I will get around to it. In the meantime, take care of yourself.

    Reply

  7. Thanks all for your kind words – but I wasn’t fishing for compliments, honestly!

    I obviously enjoy writing posts here and entering into discussion, and would most certainly like to continue. i am certainly more than grateful to anyone who takes teh trouble to read my various ramblings. I was merely wondering whether I had the energy levels required to do the job properly. Possibly, my rate of posting will slow down a bit. But sure, until such time as it really does get too much for me, I’d love to continue.

    I hadn’t realised, incidentally, just how awful it is to be in one’s 50s: your responsibilities are greater than ever, both at work and outside; and at the same time, your energy levels are on the wane.

    But that’s enough self-pity for one day!
    Cheers, all!

    Reply

  8. Aplogy accepted.

    Now where is that Giovanni Verga post of yours. There it is; thanks.

    Reply

  9. You’re a bit tired. You’re not sleeping like you did at 25. You can’t seem to focus. It’s hard to pee occasionally. Quit bitching. You’re still a relatively young man. 55 is not old. My uncle is 89. A good day for him starts out with him waking up; followed immediately thereafter by a good bowel movement, his first cup of coffee, and his daily crossword. What more can you ask for in life, huh?

    Seriously, though…

    You may just have a wee bit of burn-out, H. My blogs have been suffering from inactivity for some time now. I don’t read as much as I used to. I don’t spend that much time online anymore. I don’t watch much TV. I’m not at all sure what I do, but time just keep zippin’ by.

    Oh, I posted something for you here –> https://argumentativeoldgit.wordpress.com/our-mutual-friend/

    Toodles for now….

    ~Eric (soon to be 54 years old)

    Reply

    • Hello Eric,
      Yes – old age is horrible, isn’t it? Only a few years ago, an “all-nighter” meant staying up all night, boozing and ,… well, otherthings. Now, an “all-nighter” means sleeping all through the night without having to get up to go to the toilet.

      Of course, you know you’re really old when you wake up at night and you’ve already been to the toilet. I guess I still have that to look forward to…

      Reply

  10. I wonder whether anyone has ever written a novel on the difficulties of blog-writing? I admit I couldn’t do a blog myself, but I hope you continue. If you are stuck for inspiration…perhaps you should make ‘whisky’ and ‘armchairs’ the theme of your next post.

    Reply

    • Well, I have written a post on whisky: one on armchairs will be interesting!

      But yes, given we have films about film-making, and novels about novel-writing, it only seemed right to have a blog post about blog-post-writing. And, to keep to the tradition of such self-referential work, the post was a self-centred whinge. All as it should be, in other words! 🙂

      Reply

  11. I’ve been posting at my blog for nearly (more than?) ten years, and I too am now subject to extreme lassitude regarding my online presence. I have a lot of thoughts about what that is so, but I won’t bore you with them now.

    Regarding your feelings of unease about your inactivity, I can only say, resist the urge to be productive!!

    https://iamyouasheisme.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/halt-dynamos/

    Reply

    • I can certainly sympathise with that … were it not that I do actually enjoy blogging, and interacting with everyone who posts comments: it is an unfailing pleasure. It’s just that the energy levels are sometimes too low …

      Reply

  12. And about this “old age” stuff, I hope you are all joking. (I am 57.) My mother is 91-now that’s old, and she’s quite spry, thank goodness!

    Loosing interest in TV and the media generally is not a bad thing. I feel that as I age, I have seen so many things come around again and again, I’m just not interested in something because it’s new. I think that used to be called a spot of wisdom and discernment. I’m happy to have it!

    There are a lot of intellectual arguments that bore me silly now that used to transfix me: I have my answers that I searched for, why go over it again, unless you’re talking with a young person new to it all? I keep an open mind, but thinking about things for 30 or 40 years can lead to some firm conclusions…

    Reply

    • I’ve just turned 55, and yes, I do realise it’s not that old. not nowadays, at least. Although my children did present me with a walking stick on my 50th birthday – cheeky wee gits!

      I have firm conclusions about certain things, but changes to one’s convictions are, I find, often subtle. I find myself nowadays turning into a free-speech fundamentalist. I have always been in favour of free speech, but, barring still direct incitement to violence or personal harassment, I can’t contemplate any earthly reason to deny freedom of speech to anyone. The politics of the world are constantly in flux, and there needs to be, I think, some measure of flexibility in one’s thinking on these matters.

      My literary views and values, however, are now fairly well fixed, I think. Of course there is much, far too much, that i have yet to read, but I doubt that anything new I’ll read, no matter how good, will displace from my personal canon those books and writers that have been fixed there now for so many years. There are also many arguments that I really feel I can’t be bothered going through yet again. If anyone really thinks, say, that literary merit is purely a subjective matter, and that any opinion is worth the same as any other opinion, then I am now at a stage where it bores me to go through all my arguments again.

      All the best for now,
      Himadri

      Reply

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