Today I had a wonderful surprise. I’m applying for a job writing about, and commissioning others to write about, contemporary art. As part of the application process, I’ve been reviewing my past experience, which made me feel a bit better about all those things I’ve been involved in since graduating. The really nice surprise, though, was my reaction to the writing I’ve done in the past. It’s funny, but until now I haven’t enjoyed reading back through old work – I normally can’t help but cringe. Somehow, I’ve arrived in a situation where I’m actually proud of the writing I’ve done in the past, not embarassed – but it seems to have crept up on me. I must have been writing at a great enough volume and to a high enough standard, that I haven’t been inclined to review my progress. Thankfully, it’s activities like applying for new jobs and writing learning contracts (the other thing I’ve been working on lately) that help us to evaluate what we’ve been doing in a ‘bigger picture’ way.
I remember being mortified after seeing my 100 word written piece printed in Image, (Music), Text (an inkjet booklet produced by Anachron-Gen and distributed at their exhibition at Surface Gallery). I had been really excited about being asked to write for the booklet and thought it was a great idea. I submitted my text and received glowing feedback from Sean Williams (which was very touching), but when I came to see the printed article, I was horrified to find an ugly sentence – not quite grammatically incorrect, but hideously jarring. I was so bothered by the text, that I actually checked it against my submission, and lo! Somehow my sentence had been mangled!! I look back now and laugh – it was vanity that made me so upset. Even funnier was the way the sentence had been mangled – a t had been changed for a w – such a small mistake but such a huge difference!
I guess in this ‘copy and paste’ era, such mistakes are few and far between, but for someone who is far too attentive to detail, they certainly matter. It takes a reall effort of will to get into a blogging mode, where it’s more important to get things ‘down and out there’ than to be correct. In this month’s a-n there is a blogging supplement, one part of which summarises perfectly what I mean:
“I sometimes think it is good to have a bit of space between thinking and writing a blog. Airing all your pent up emotions in writing is different to blowing a fuse and apologising immediately afterwards. The written word has a much longer presence. However, the freshness of an uncontrived blog has an immediacy that a thoughtful, considered piece can never replace.”
So writes Jackie Berridge, who I have met a few times, and who has complemented my writing, for the same reasons I would complement hers. You can check out her blog about Harrington Mill Studios on a-n’s projects unedited. (Embarassingly, I still haven’t fixed the problem of being uable to make links in the post, so check the blogroll). Though I am really pleased with the published and printed writing I’ve done in the past, I’m not sure if the same will ultimately be true of this blog – but maybe that’s the point!? And yes, this blog is completely contrived…
Whilst there is much further to go and much more to write about, I’m really looking forward to my writing future, appreciating the solid base I’ll be working from.