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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Validation and Value.

Why am I doing this? Why write all this stuff?

I’ve always been a chatterbox. I remember the first Weatherspoon pub I went to (now owned by a company called Stonegate), The Regent in Walton on Thames, it was formerly a cinema. A fabulous building. I didn’t really get to know the person I was with. He seemed a nice, if quiet sort of chap, but when we’d arrived home he told his then wife I talked a lot. I do..... because I’ve got a lot to say. He was probably a bit older than me. He lost his life when he was in a road accident while cycling. His stories are lost.

My dad told us stories of his youth, of his cars, of his stone masonry skills, of meeting our mum, of his times at work. Fascinating but now gone.

So why am I doing this?

Well I’m talking to you now and to those of you who are reading this long after it was written.

In particular I’m talking to two small people who are too young to read any of this now but who I would have regaled with my stories as they grew up if I only could.

So I have a plan. I’m planning to find a way of telling my stories and perhaps the slightly more off beat things I've done in my life by making a kind of book. Really a book for my two grandchildren Louie and Mila so they’ll get to know their grandad a bit more. And indeed anyone who fancies a trip down someone else’s memory lane. It’s not too difficult other than timing. In the end it’s a job for others. In time I may need to recruit some help. It’s just that it seems a book is just that little bit better than a data stick. What do you reckon? It’s the sort of book I’d stick in the toilet to pick up for a 3 minute read now and then. Perhaps with margins big enough to write notes. Maybe with perforated, absorbent pages.

Sometimes I think I write a load of old rubbish. You know every time you tell a story from memory it changes. The past, unless written becomes a moveable feast. When it’s written it’s fixed like a painting. Interpretation is then all that can change.

Telling stories is one thing, pontificating about something I claim to have a modicum of knowledge about is completely different without some kind of validation.

Then this pops up;

Neil, you are now and when I first met you an inspirational character. Indeed I remember when I first met you with your counterpart, the message was (it was an interview) if we give you this job you will move on after a couple of years. Well you were right and it was almost laid down as a challenge to me. I also learnt the art of speaking (in a non brown nosing style) to the senior management of a company and getting away with it! The job you currently have with your blog continues the agenda of inspiration which you had in the noughties (when I became your employee), then it focused on giving chances and facilitating opportunity, maximising potential and realising core values/skill sets - well that is the agenda/code/ethos/story that you portray now with your inspirational blog and that will stand the test of time for readers! I also remember you talking about 'career' being about risk and luck (being in the right place at the right time). One of the biggest career theories I bang on about is planned happenstance and I think this aligns with some of the stuff you offered as guidance. Honoured that you used my idea as a template for your blog. Take care.

T. M..

There’s also the frequent supporting comments on Farcebook or on my blog directly. Without these comments I wonder if I would have got this many words out. I reckon I average 800 words per post. And I’m close to 150 posts. So that’s (I’ll do it for you) 120,000 words. If there’s 275 words per page in an average paperback the imaginary book has almost 450 pages. Don’t worry Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” had 587,287 words. I’m not aiming that high but I’ll clearly need an editor or those perforated pages will become just too useful.

Perhaps there’s a bit of hubris or conceit in the very idea. Is it self indulgent? Would you pick up my (so far) imaginary book and leaf through the pages? Should I even care? Is there any value in the idea? At the very least I should give it some thought.

This chap seems to offer some good guidance.

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” - Joseph Pulitzer

I’ll keep trying.

836 words.

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