We make them all the time: what shirt to wear, jeans or dress pants, black of brown shoes, loafers or lace ups, sandals … socks or not … and then there’s breakfast … tea or coffee, cereal or toast, sugar or honey … most days, we don’t even realize we are making decisions. We certainly don’t need to write out a page of pros and cons in order to choose between coffee or tea …

Then there are the big decisions, like where to go next on this blog. I have been weighing up the pros and cons and I am finally getting close to a decision. My blogging possibilities include Literary TheoryWriting about WritingHow to ReadRevising Older TextsReading Don Quixote OnlineWriting New TextsPreparing Books for Publication Offline … These are much more difficult decisions but I must think about them and make them.

Literary Theory sounds good. But what do I know about it? Nothing but the dry academic literary theory of an abandoned academia that wasn’t really very interesting anyway. An occasional question arises in the blog world, one on which I feel competent to comment, and that for me, is the way I go with my literary theory: a quick response. All that academic literary theory is money in the savings bank that I can draw on if I, or anyone else, needs to access it. But to access it on a daily basis and pontificate my way to the limbo of a blogger’s boredom? I don’t think so!

Writing about Writing also sounds good, but in many ways it is a poor person’s literary theory, rather like literary theory without the long, obfuscating technical terms. Again, if the need is there, I can contribute; but it’s not the way I want to go, not here, not on this blog, not on this particular watch.

How to Read is a subject on which many books have been written and I recommend that all people not just read, but learn to read deeply and properly. In some cases, depending upon the quantity of material that crosses the computer screen (it used to be the desk), speed reading is essential and I recommend speed reading for everybody except poets and those who love poetry. To speed read a sonnet is not the way to go. I would love to sell the film rights to some of my sonnets, but apparently, that’s not the way to go either. Ah well, we can’t have everything …

Revising Older Texts is another excellent way to run a blog. The material is always there in one form (old) and the reworking of it into another form (new) is regular, instructive, and creative. I have done that on this blog with At the Edge of Obsidian > Obsidian’s Edge and loved both the process and the result. However, at least three of my commentators, Al Lane, Chuck Bowie and Kevin Stephens, suggested that the past is in the past and should remain there, while the future lies ahead of us and needs to be created. After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that Al and Chuck and Kevin are right. I will put older material up on the blog, but I will no longer review it for future re-publication, except in exceptional circumstances, and these are yet to be determined.

Reading Don Quixote Online has been in my wish bucket for a very long time. It is something that I would love to do one more time. I have already done online readings on several occasions. I have twice taught DQ in an online hybrid environment: hybrid — an online portion and an in-class face to face portion –. To return to DQ is, for me, to return to academia, an academia that I rejected several years ago. No: much as I would like to re-formulate this project and to lay out online my definitive This Is How To Read Don Quixote, I feel in so many ways, that this is not yet the time to do so. I want so much to turn back that particular clock, but I know how much work, reading, and commitment is needed and I am not yet ready. Perhaps, like the Flowers of Scotland, those days are past now and in the past they must remain. We’ll see. I checked my DQ notes last night … they are all there, ready and waiting … and I can set out on that adventure anytime … alas, through the mists of time, I can hear those bagpipes playing Will ye no come back again? I will, my friends, but not just yet.

Writing New Texts is fun. This is a new text and it is helping me to focus  on what I want and do not want to do. There is always room here for new texts. But new texts need revisiting and revising. Maybe some of my creative texts just aren’t ready for publication yet and yes, online writing is a form of publication. Thankfully I can revise these texts, and I may yet revise this one; indeed, I will probably come back both to this text and to these decisions. And maybe I won’t and that’s another decision for another day.

Preparing Books for Publication is where I am right now in my offline life and I think this is where I want to be online as well. I have two texts in preparation: Bistro (Flash Fiction) and Echoes of an Impromptu Metaphysics (poetry). I have thus far shared 17 pieces from Bistro on this blog. There are another 17 to go. Each time I prepare a piece of Flash Fiction for publication here, I re-read it, re-think, re-frame it, re-structure it, and re-write it. Those of you who know me offline are well aware of the nature of that re-processing. Sometimes the pieces are merely sharpened and polished; often they are totally re-written. And yes, when flaws are pointed out or doubts expressed, the texts are changed. I deeply value the comments of my below the line commentators. Echoes is the other text I need to re-write. I will share that online as well. The sharing will be difficult … Echoes is a difficult and very personal text … but it will be done.

Decisions have been taken and my thought process has been shared. There will be no turning back of the clock even though I am always looking over my shoulder. Here, then, are my decisions, but remember, they are always open to revision.

  1. I will re-publish on this blog Though Lovers Be Lost, one of my favorite poetry books. I will do this as and when necessary if I need more time between blogs with my re-writing.
  2. I will finish publishing the other stories from Bistro online on this blog as I prepare it for offline publication.
  3. I will start the re-write of Echoes online. I have been away from this book for about eight months now and re-reading it earlier today I saw how and where it could be improved.
  4. I will add in literary and philosophical commentaries when and where I see the need to do so. I consider this particular article to be a literary commentary with philosophical connotations, or is it the other way round? As an academic, I could prepare a treatise on the question; as a blogger, I can leave that question in the capable minds of those who read and follow this blog.

    Et vade mecum!

10 thoughts on “Decisions

    • I hesitate to say I “taught” it — I’d rather say I read it with my students and tried to help them understand some of its intricacies. Instead of lecturing, I held an open question and answer class: they asked questions and I answered them as best I could. using this method, we covered the whole book reading five chapters a week over 24 weeks: 120 chapters in all. The classes were wonderful: I never knew what was going to come up in class so I couldn’t prepare anything in advance.

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