THIS ledge has been a saviour of sorts. Eleven months it is now since I inched onto this strip of rock high above the unknown. Left work on the Friday and started writing on the Monday.
A cold wind blew on that first day and I guess it still blows now. Earning a living from words isn’t easy and this blog has no salary attached, but it does ensure the brain cells still collide into each other whenever I sit down to write, which is almost every morning.
Perhaps remarkably, at least it seems that way to me, I am now approaching 200,000 words, roughly the same number as to be found in two average paperbacks; or one literary stonker.
Anyway, this morning we shall be catching the train to London for the final of the UKBlog Awards 2016. I shall pack something old but stylish, the faithful Ted Baker suit, grey with an orange check; my wife has a cocktail dressed lined up. So long as there are no crossdressing accidents, her in the suit and me in that dress, we should brush up well enough.
The finals take place tonight from 7pm until midnight, at the Park Plaza Hotel on Westminster Bridge. By chucking out time, I will know whether or not Man On Ledge is among the winners.
It would be nice to win something. We don’t often win prizes in this house, although saying that last week we won an Aeropress coffee maker from the Attic coffeehouse in York. Very good and simple it is too, if you disregard the incident with the forgotten filter. Wet coffee grounds don’t half travel around the kitchen, I can tell you.
There are lots of good blogs up for an award and I haven’t a clue about my chances. Writing this blog remains a pleasure and a privilege nearly all of the time. Some days the ideas are scattered thin, but there is always something.
When I was on my postgraduate journalism course in ancient days gone by, I wrote a mini-thesis on gossip columns and interviewed Nigel Dempster, that noted purveyor of tittle-tattle to the Mail and the Express. I asked if it was hard to fill a column every day. He replied that with the whole world out there, you were a poor sort if you couldn’t find something to write about.
That’s my logic on this ledge. There is always something to write about; a political something; a personal something, or just something that pops into the mind at the required minute.
Some of the other nominees address serious personal issues. My starting point was no longer having a job, although various brambled byways have been explored away from that lonely track. I have no idea how you compare one blog to another, but that’s not my job. My job is just to sit there and await the announcements.
As to my actual job, that so far amounts mostly to writing features for the Yorkshire Post. I am proud of that work but the bills won’t be paid without more of it.
But today is not a day for worry; it is a day for fun and hope and meeting people.
We have had a guest this week who said something that struck me. She is Australian/Chinese and is taking a year out to travel for personal reasons. At the breakfast table we got round to discussing ages, and she said that at 36 she was older than many travellers (she clearly hasn’t bumped into my 84-year-old mother).
I told her I was 59 and she responded with the required display of flattery. This has happened before, so there must be a lucky gene in here somewhere.
Anyway our guest said that people who worried a lot showed their age more than those who spent less time worrying. You wear your worries on your face, in other words.
So there you go, perhaps I wear mine on my soul instead.
Anyway, wish me luck. And whatever happens, I shall report back.