yep, it’s all Grace’s fault.  because she asked me a simple question.

unfortunately, the answer appears to be somewhat complicated.

if you have a look at yesterday’s post (or it might be today’s – i can’t really remember which side of midnight i pressed ‘publish’), you will see, in the comments, my friend Grace asking: why the move to WordPress?

there are more reasons behind this move than you might suspect.  and certainly more than i was at first aware of.  but the more i thought about it, the more reasons i found.  and not all of them are to do with blogging.

the first was…well…a mixture of curiosity and my sheep DNA.  now, if i’m being kind to myself, i will say that my body and mind can act like an antenna, or a conduit.  i often pick up on other people’s’ strong emotions and react to them, whether they are directed at or caused by me, or not.  and the same will often go for trends i see around me.  the more i am exposed to something then, usually, the more i want to join in.  (this could, i admit, have worrying connotations, but i hope i have enough sense not to do anything immoral or illegal…)  i also tend to pick up accents when i travel.  i’m a little bit of a chameleon, but i’ll come to that in a little while.

if i am being unkind to myself, however, i will say that i don’t have an original thought or emotion in my head, and i follow the herd, because i can’t think for myself.

either way, i follow a lot of writers’ blogs.  i realised one day that i follow more blogs on WordPress than i do on any other platform, and began to wonder why this was.  what’s so writerly about WordPress? i wondered.  so i went to have a poke about, to see if i could find out.

what i found were clean lines, a more complex, yet relatively easy-to-use set of publishing options and features, and more helpful support articles and forums.  so, making happy ‘baaa’ noises, i followed suit, and here i am.

but there are, i think, deeper reasons.

if you look in the ‘about’ page, you will find a word.  that word is dilettante.  now, i always knew this word was not one used to complement someone, but i was never quite sure of its meaning.  the other day, i read a post by Remittance Girl titled “Portrait of an Artist as Dilettante”.  this is a writer that i admire greatly.  perhaps second only to my hero, Neil Gaiman.  the things she can do with words often leave me open-mouthed in wonder, and with the urge to cry, as i will never, ever be anywhere near as good a writer as she.  partly because she has an intelligence that few are able to lay claim to, and she will often use it like a scalpel: cutting to the heart of things, and exposing the viscera of what she is writing about.  and partly because her writing takes me to another place.  it is vivid – full of smells and colours and textures. when she writes, whether it be fiction or non-, i sit up and take notice.  because she posted that word, i finally went and looked it up.  here is the OED online definition:

noun (plural dilettanti /-ti/ or dilettantes)

  • a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.
  • archaic a person with an amateur interest in the arts.

it sounded far too familiar for comfort.  especially after reading that post.

i have never been serious about anything in my life.  the second i get serious about anything, it seems, i begin to lose interest.  the only hobby i’ve ever pursued for any length of time has been reading.  i’ve never had a career and, frankly, have never really wanted one.  i’m quite happy earning a reasonable wage for doing something that most people could probably do, given half a chance and a little training.  i have no desire to rise through the ranks, and have people who depend on me.  i don’t want to be a manager or a leader.  i just want to get on with it and keep my head down.

there are many, many reasons for this, but i think it’s mostly because i don’t handle pressure very well.

oh, who am i kidding?  i crumble.  i panic.  the thought of responsibility scares the crap out of me.

i was thinking about all of this, and realised that my whole life has been a quest to avoid or relieve stress however i possibly can.   because i turn in on myself and start trying to gnaw my way out.  so i am a chameleon.  i adapt to fit in with the situation as best i can, and be as unnoticeable as i can.  because if you’re noticed, people start to like you, and i feel a responsibility to be likeable, if that happens.  and if they start to dislike you, well, it matters to me when people dislike me – much as i wish it didn’t.  i don’t have the self-confidence or self-belief to carry that off.  but, paradoxically, i can’t bear to be ignored, either.  it makes me feel so small and pointless.

back to that word, though.  i think i could probably describe myself as a dilettante writer.  it’s not something  i have studied, or can easily see myself studying, simply because i don’t think i would do very well.  and i fail so often at life in general, i shy away from setting myself up to do so.  i write with little knowledge of the craft of writing, merely instinct developed from year upon year of reading.  i know what it should sound like, but i couldn’t tell you how to make it sound like that, or even why.  but i have always wanted to be able to make art.  and so, with clumsy strokes and passes, i paint with words (because i can’t draw to save my life).  sometimes it comes out ok, sometimes not.  but i could rarely articulate why with either.

but i do write, and i want somewhere online to store my writing, and let other people read it, if they so wish, if only to show them how it should not be done, and to reassure them that no, they are not the worst writer out there.

what can i say?  i like to help people feel better, however i can.

WordPress seemed like a better place to do this than blogger.  and it works a lot better reading it on your phone, too. 🙂

i am also aware, however, that having said all that, i am making excuses for being a lazy, selfish, self-absorbed fly-by-night who would like everything handed to her on a plate, with a side-order of garlic olive oil and some nice, crusty bread to dip into it.  but i try not to dwell on that too much.  i have learned that if the door is open even a crack, the black dog tends to saunter in like he owns the place.  and that’s never a good scenario, as he tends to shit all over the floor, and he is a bastard to get rid of.

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