The mild popularity of my handful of blogs on the Oxfam Trailwalker website over the last few months led me to reconsider my instinctive distaste for the medium. What was my big malfunction (among many)? It’s hard to say…perhaps some kind of innate distrust of anything with too low a barrier for entry. The micro-economist in me saying: If it’s that accessible, and others can follow so easily, then the value is too easily defrayed. Too many substitute products in the market. No differentiation.
Apologies to those who haven’t studied economics and especially those who have, or who get it anyway, and just wish I would die. Yes – really it was just a trumped up way of saying that I thought I’m too good for that; and if I’ve got anything worth saying and know how to write it, then it should be worth putting into a document of sustained length and focus, which should be good enough for someone to want to put into a physical format, market at great expense to an ever decreasing audience, and sell at a price nobody wants to pay, yielding tiny margins after multiple parties in the supply chain have soaked up their pitiful percentage.
Moving on, I have discovered that the short form can in fact be a good form. Sometimes there are little tidbits worth sharing that are not 100% self-reflective Gen-Y explorations of blatantly obvious truisms that slightly older people inspect with a kind of hollow despair, wondering why a sentiment that was adequately captured in four words on a tee-shirt in 1985 is now worthy of a two-thousand word, misspelt, cackhandedly articulated ‘post’ from some sheltered dweeb, who is so amaze-balled at their own epiphany they can’t get over it, simply CAN’T get over it. Oh my God indeed!
But really, moving on now. The saving grace that finally reconciled the author to this medium was the introduction of a subject. A ‘thread’. If you’re going to drop little pastiches into the pond, you need a common point of interest around which to circle…even if only quite loosely, as I intend (perhaps born out by the fact that this post so far mentions said topic not at all). That said, it is a topic truly close to my heart, and one so very analogous to the broader ups and downs of life in general that many a philosophical bow has been drawn and fired off in perhaps every conceivable direction already. Will I have anything new to say here?
Aye, my choice of topic in fact does nothing to allay my original concerns about differentiation in the blogging marketplace, given that the one thing runners, especially trail-runners and ultra-runners seem to like to do more than running, is blog about it. Is this because it’s truly transcendent? That it delivers so many life lessons; such deep connection to the external and internal world? It sounds like I’m setting this up for a flippant dismissal, but the truth is that in some way it’s all that and more. There’s a good reason ultra-runners have a lot to say, but how to say it is a challenge that will probably find me inadequate, much of the time.
However, something is better than nothing, they say, in certain limited situations where it’s appropriate and makes sense. I believe it’s appropriate in many circumstances, and I wouldn’t have done as much with my short time on this planet if I’d been at all squeemish about the prospect of producing average quality output for the world to scrutinise and find mediocre. In fact, I’ve done so many different things to a mediocre level that I’m something of a master at it. So brace yourself for some masterful mediocrity!