Discovering a Wonderful Writer

It’s the last working day before Christmas. Half an hour left, with a long weekend stretched out ahead. While not working I’ve been grocery shopping, put two loads of clothes through the washing machine, emptied a sink filled with dirty cups, and picked up plates and cups from all over the house.

In the supermarket I walked around, quietly smiling while waiting for hordes of numpties to get out of my way. It seemed all of the slowest, most indecisive people in the world had descended on the supermarket. How much thought does it take to buy the contents of a shopping list (which the shop won’t have anyway, because some people seem to have mixed up their Christmas grocery list with their nuclear winter shopping list).

Maybe’s it me. Maybe I’m just getting worse at dealing with people.

Maybe I just can’t be bothered with acting at being Mr “happy go lucky” any more. How does the phrase go… “run out of f*cks to give” ?

I’m painting a very dark picture, aren’t I. In reality I’m well, healthy, and have a roof over my head – which is more than many. I have very little to complain about (but that isn’t going to stop me complaining about it).


Changing the subject entirely, a good friend gave me an early draft of a script she is writing to read. I loved it. I’m not going to say anything about the script’s content, but I am going to say it’s all sorts of lovely when you discover somebody you know has a talent that not many know about.

Her writing is wonderful. She has a way of drawing you in – of painting a picture – of capturing characters. It’s easy, relaxed, and seemingly effortless. I have no illusions about the amount of effort required to make the words seem so effortless.

We debated for some time after reading about the direction of the story – and if it should perhaps be embellished by stereotypical tropes – to fit with people’s expectations.

My other half watches a lot of US TV series. They all seem to follow a formula – with a sex scene in the first few minutes of the first episode. A simple way of grabbing the audience’s attention. A sex scene is invariably followed by a grizzly death in most of the detective shows.

It’s funny – when you take a step back and pick stories to pieces – how they take a common form. Are we really so predictable that we can be played so easily? That presenting us with what we want sates our thirst for entertainment, drama, horror, intrigue, or erotica?

I remember a viral email doing the rounds years ago, where the plot of Harry Potter and Star Wars were cleverly re-written, with characters and locations swapped out such that the same text accurately described both movies.

Right. Anyway.

I better go and figure out how to shut everything down for Christmas.


Brave New World

It turns out I can sit on my hands for roughly 48 hours. That’s how long it took the thought of building a better blogging castle to ferment, and grow into a crusade of sorts. Probably more escapade than crusade, but crusade sounds more lofty, noble, and suitably eccentric.

This isn’t my first rodeo. And that’s not my first questionable idiom either.

While the rest of the world were watching forgettable television shows earlier I was racing through old blog posts, choosing stock images to brighten them up. I’m pretty sure a robot with little or no artificial intelligence could make better choices, but there’s something about starting over.

One of my co-workers maintains that the building, installing, and configuring is the fun bit – once a “thing” is built, interest in it falls away. I tend to agree with him. You see it all the time among the productivity lunatic brigade – re-arranging their cheese between Notion, Obsidian, Remnote and Logseq while writing breathlessly and endlessly about the latest, greatest way to build a “second brain”.

My “second brain” lives in a paper bullet-journal that lives on my desk throughout the day. I often forget to write things in it, which defeats it’s purpose – but it remembers the things I do write down – and that helps more than me forgetting.

It seems each person finds their own way to use a Bullet Journal. If you drink the Ryder Carroll kool-aid your entire life might be filled with neat lists of things to do, appointments, meetings, tasks, and so on. I just record what I’m hoping to do at the beginning of each day, and what actually happened at the end of the day – primarily so I can falsify my timesheets somewhat accurately.

Anyway. Enough navel gazing.

Welcome to the new blog. Or new, old blog. As I wrote – I’ve been here before. I’ll be here again. For now, this will do.

p.s. if you’ve not subscribed yet, I really think you should. You’ll like it. Promise.


Sitting on my hands

Over the last few years I’ve walked away from one blogging platform after another – leaving WordPress, Medium, Tumblr, and Blogger along the way.

Somehow or other I ended up at Substack, which did less to annoy me than any of the other platforms. I’m still not happy though. There is a huge temptation to self-host.

Don’t get me wrong – Substack are doing a lot of things right – it’s quite amusing to find yourself rubbing virtual shoulders with Chuck Palahniuk and Margaret Atwood – but Substack seem to be busy building a walled garden in exactly the same way that every other platform had done over the years. It annoys the hell out of me.

Yes, I could host a blog myself, on my own domain name. But it would cost money, and I would have to look after it. Perhaps putting up with a few annoyances is worth it in order to maintain the laziness of being able to post when I like without maintaining anything. The email notifications are nice too.

I don’t know. I really don’t know.

I need to sit on my hands for a while.

One thing is certain – my road out of Twitter is now assured – I didn’t realise they had removed their misinformation rules. Anybody in a position of influence can spout any harmful lies they want now with no recourse. While some will of course take up literary arms to fight the onslaught of idiocy, a greater number will walk away. I’m walking away.

In the moments I might have perused Twitter in the past I have been exploring Mastodon – but even that is not not immune from growing pains. A growing number of people are mandating what people should think, say, and do – instructing rather than shining lights. It’s not a huge leap from there to the toxic cancel culture caused by various activists that has ruined many other social platforms.

Maybe it makes sense to return to independent blogs, rather than any kind of platform. Twenty years ago we posted our words, shared links to other writers in the form of “blogrolls”, and invited passers by to leave a few words in guestbooks. No platforms sold added abilities, or paywalled functionality available only to inhabitants.

Who knows.

Maybe I’ll get a beret for Christmas, and start some sort of revolutionary campaign. The internet equivalent of a nutter on the street corner handing out insanity filled manifestos.


Washing and Writing

We got home on Wednesday. It’s now Saturday. The washing machine is still going. I think we can see the end of the washing mountain now though (thankfully). It’s just a case of getting it all dry, folding it, and putting it away – which we know won’t happen, don’t we. A family home isn’t homely unless there are piles of clean washing stacked everywhere.

I’m listening to Spotify while writing this. We signed up for a family account while we were away – so the kids could listen to music in the car without chewing through data. I need to remember to cancel it soon.

I posted some writing on Medium last night – a few thoughts about the ridiculousness of the whole “productivity” charade. I’m trying really hard to write about “me”, rather than “you”, because “you” looks far too much like mansplaining. I’m not quite sure what happened in my head, but in recent months mansplaining has become a massive trigger for me – as soon as I see it, I have to resist the temptation to reply to the author “thank you for mansplaining that to me”.

It’s not just men that mansplain – my middle daughter is a master at it – mostly because she is as literal as Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. On more than one occasion she has laughed (very late) at a joke, turned to us all, and started with “that’s funny because…”

Did I mention that I’m on a diet? Our middle daughter needs to lose weight, and we could all do with losing a few pounds, so thought “why not”. There is now a ban on snacks around the house. I guess this is three years of sedentary pandemic behaviours catching up with us. The end goal – for my daughter – is to pass the army fitness test. Yes, you heard that right – she’s looking at the army as a possible future. I’m not worried about that at all.



A very short post this Friday afternoon that will mean very little to very few. My blog posts originate from an account at Substack, and are cross-posted automagically into Tumblr and WordPress by the cloud magicians at Zapier. Thus far the account name at Substack has been “jonathanwrotethis”, and it has always annoyed me a bit, because it’s not the same as my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook account names.

No more!

I changed the substack domain name to match the others, before some other person wanders along with the same name. I know it isn’t really that important, but it satisfies the OCD scratch that was getting increasingly itchy.


It’s Friday afternoon, and work is winding down for the week. I’m looking forward to a weekend visiting friends, eating pizza, and drinking cider. I’m easily pleased.

Oh – I almost forgot – I had a dream about being haunted last night. And the night before that had a dream about a great white chasing me in a small boat with an outboard motor. I wonder what it all means?

Just before shutting up for the day, I want to thank all those that read my words. I know I don’t always write the most exciting words, but they’re my words, they’re (usually) the truth, and hopefully they don’t do any harm.

I’m not sure what I might do if I wasn’t allowed to have this little corner of the internet to broadcast nonsense from. Probably start talking to plants or something.


A few words

It’s been a few days since I last polluted the internet with any thoughts. I think the biggest surprise to me is that I haven’t really missed writing. I thought I would.

Life continues to be quiet.

Saying that, we have been invited out to visit neighbours for dinner this evening – a reunion of sorts of school parents – our children progressed through junior school together. It’s going to be fun.

While sitting out on the green with neighbours a few of weeks ago – an excuse we all used to use to grab a drink with each other – the conversation turned to what we had all been doing over the past year or so. Guilty admission followed guilty admission. Nobody had really done anything. Nothing has become the new normal.

I kept quiet about descending into my own Abed Nadir world of pretend aeroplanes (Community reference – we’ve been binge-watching it at home recently).

Actually – while mentioning Community – perhaps you can clear this up for me. In the middle of the LEGO Movie, Emmet names a number of cats that cross his path. The final cat has a deep voice, and is introduced as “Jeff”. I’m pretty sure it’s Joel McHale, “Jeff Winger” from Community. I wonder if anybody has ever jumped down the internet rabbit hole to find that one out?

Anyway. We need to go soon, so I should stop writing. Maybe I’ll just pause here, and write more when I get home…

(and entire evening passes)

It’s now 11am on Sunday morning. I’ve already cut the lawn.

Last night was fun. It’s easy to become stuck in an insular world of work, chores, errands and so on – before you know it, you haven’t seen friends for months or even years.

The evening whistled by. We laughed, told stories, reminisced about the past, and looked forward to the future together. Our children are all growing up. While we are of course apprehensive for them, we’re also adjusting to a new normal of our own – our lives are changing too.

We got home just before our daughters, who returned from the pub where Miss 18 had worked until closing time.

In other news, I’ve begun stripping away the results of recent tinkering – reducing the blog to it’s core at WordPress. Given my sphere of work there is always going to be a temptation to delve into the machinery of the internet, and lose sight of the reason I am here in the first place. While I might not agree with walled gardens, platforms, and “the man”, there are benefits to “just writing”, and taking advantage of platforms I don’t have to look after.


The remains of Sunday are stretched out ahead of me. Perhaps a cup of coffee might be a good first step.



Somebody take the keyboard away from me – I obviously cannot be trusted. While taking a break from research and development on a work project this afternoon I lifted my personal blog in the air, threw it into what can only be described as a cloud-powered infinite improbability drive, and have rather miraculously ended up with a new blog.

Perhaps the term “miraculously” is a little disingenuous. This afternoon’s escapade was made possible only by standing on the shoulders of far more industrious developers that did exactly what developers tend to do – when faced with building something, they don’t just build something – they build the thing that builds the something.

Of course if you’re reading this at WordPress or Tumblr, you’re only seeing a pale imitation of the results of my idiocy. Your words were brought to you by a daemon in the cloud called “Zapier” that watches what I’m up to all day.


The work day has just finished (hence having time to pollute the internet with these words), and my cooking, washing up, and tidying up services are probably required elsewhere in the house.

I promise to return to less tinker-filled programming tomorrow.



Today was the first of my “staycation”. Nine days away from work. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to fill those days with, given that we can’t really afford to go anywhere or do anything, but I’m sure the universe will figure out something that needs doing each day, and results in returning to work without really feeling like I’ve had a break.

It’s funny how that happens.

Everything feels so detached at the moment. I find myself rarely setting foot in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. “Social” feels like such a lie. I suppose if I’m honest, I’m really not a very “social” animal at all. I used to think I was. I would share thoughts about things as they occurred to me. Share photos. Words. These days I find myself hesitating over anything and everything.

Having an opinion has become poisonous. Any firmly held view can be demonised by a vocal minority, and suddenly you’re fire fighting perceived judgements that haven’t happened.

I can’t help feeling it’s easier to keep quiet than volunteer much of anything to anybody any more.

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person that has realised the truth behind the various influencers and mouthpieces that dominate online discourse – that their deliberately mansplained lectures are designed more to cause reaction than to evoke empathy, or understanding.

Perhaps I should try harder to remember that the vocal self-proclaimed majority of the social internet are not only a small minority of the largely silent online whole, but an almost immeasurably small fraction of the wider world.


The Witching Hour

According to folklore, midnight marks the time in the day when witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear, and be at their most powerful. There seems to be some disagreement about which exact hour is the “witching hour” though – with stories ranging from midnight, all the way through into the early hours of the morning.

I don’t know why I’m telling you any of this. I just looked at the clock, realised today had already become tomorrow, and thought “ah crap, I forgot to write in the blog again”.

It’s half past midnight.

When my middle daughter was young, she liked to know things, and liked to demonstrate her mastery of all things – no matter that she might have things the right way round, or joined together entirely correctly. On more than one occasion she asked “is it half past my bedtime yet?”

It’s half past my bedtime.

I looked at the clock a couple of hours ago and thought about going to bed early – to continue reading the book I’ve had my nose if for the last several nights. Somehow I now find myself staring 1am in the face, playing a game of chicken with it.

I’ll scrape myself out of bed in the morning. I always do.

I have two more days of work, then I’m off for a week – the first week of the Easter holidays. I had originally asked for the second week, but work schedules piled up like a train wreck, and I found myself volunteering to move my holiday. It’s not like I was going anywhere or doing anything anyway.


I’m writing this stream of consciousness, only too aware that I have nothing much to report. The words are leaving my fingers before they’ve really left my head. I’m not “putting them together” – they’re just happening.

Maybe that’s how the best writing happens.