The Re-emergence Of A Man Who Claims To Proclaim

James Proclaims (4)

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It’s been almost three full months since I last elected to post on these pages, over five months since the post that preceded that and, aside from a flurry of activity over the Christmas period, it’s been a little over a year since I can claim to have been producing content regularly, so you might be forgiven for thinking that I had given up on this blogging malarkey for good.

But, with literally tens of followers the world over, I was never going to disappear from the blogosphere forever. The world needs James to proclaim. And by James I mean me. I probably should clarify that, because James is not an especially uncommon name. And, if we’re going to be technical about this, it isn’t really my name. It is the second name that appears on my birth certificate, and it’s the name that everyone who knows me uses to refer to me, so I feel I have a justifiable claim in using it for the purposes of the witty appellation of this blog, but the point could be contended. Proclaims isn’t really my last name either, but that feels marginally less fraudulent.

Anyway, I haven’t posted much recently, but regular readers will know that I’ve had some valid excuses, not least the arrival of my eleven-month-old daughter. Approximately eleven months ago. In truth, had I been blogging regularly for the last year, it would have been hard not to make the majority of my prose solely about her. Because I don’t really ever have time to do anything that doesn’t largely involve her in some way.

Then again, my posts have never really been about anything, so to devote most of my writing to the trials and tribulations of being a first-time parent would be out of character for me. Other people do that sort of thing far better than I do. Plus, if I were to write about the feelings my daughter makes me feel then I might inadvertently bring some sincerity to these pages and we could all do without that.

Needless to say, she is an endless source of joy and sleep deprivation. I love her profoundly, but I am very tired.

She is asleep as I write this though, as is Mrs Proclaims (for I wrote this last night). I am watching footage of the Glastonbury festival , which I have been doing for much of this weekend, often while keeping an eye on my, now very mobile, offspring to ensure that she doesn’t put anything in her mouth that might do her some harm, which she seems intent on doing all of the time.

When last I posted I was in the process of not celebrating my 40th birthday. This was less because I was bothered by the landmark birthday and more because my birthday fell on a workday and several days before the dissertation for my MA was due to be handed in. My dissertation was, of course, the other reason why blogging has been hard to find time for in recent months. My lack of posts subsequent to my hand-in date might lead you to believe that I either missed the deadline or that I failed to achieve a passing grade. Neither is true. Although I was very much still writing the first (and as it turns out only) draft in the early hours of the morning of the deadline day, I did submit it on time and not only did I pass, but I did rather well. Which is a little uncharacteristic of me really, as I tend to specialise in underachievement and mediocrity when it comes to academia. Indeed, I did so well that I am, probably unwisely, considering pursuing a doctorate in the not-too distant future. This may be partly inspired by Mrs Proclaims’ academic endeavours, for alongside being the primary care-giver to our small-person, she is also pursuing a PhD. But then she is rather clever. She often gets questions right when we watch University Challenge. Indeed, she is the only reason I even deign to watch University Challenge, which might as well be broadcast in Swahili for all I understand the questions. But while I may not be as academically able as my wife, who actually seems to enjoy studying, I am, I think, capable of dragging myself through the rigours of a qualification that will allow me to call myself Doctor Proclaims. And it’s all about the title really.

But that’s for the future. For now, I am enjoying not having any deadlines. I still have to go to work unfortunately but working in education means that in a few weeks I will have a glorious six weeks of holiday to enjoy.

Which could well mean that I have time to start writing posts for this site on a more regular basis.

Whether I use the time for that purpose is anyone’s guess.

 

Ninety-One

James Proclaims (4)

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Do bloggers blog about the very act of blogging when they can’t think what else to blog about?

Perhaps so.

I know I’ve been guilty of that before.

And perhaps I’m guilty of that today.

I’ve got loads of things I want to blog about though, so this post is not entirely about a lack of other topics.

For example I could blog about the time, recently, that I won a massive cake in a raffle. Or how Mrs Proclaims and I survived in near arctic conditions when we thought our boiler had broken, but in fact our boiler was fine and it was our gas meter that had broken (oh the hilarity of going for three days without heating only for the wrong kind of repairman to turn up!)

Or I could brag about how I totally won an argument conducted through the medium of email in work today.

Because I owned that email exchange.

But today I want to blog about this very blog.

Because I have been something of a blogging machine of late. Yesterday I posted my ninetieth post in ninety consecutive days. Today is my ninety-first post in ninety-one consecutive days.

That’s a pretty good record by anyone’s standards.

And I’ve brought some new stuff to the blog too. Like my slightly rubbish film reviews. Or the genuinely perplexing ‘Magic Penguin’ stories. Or the utterly unhelpful ‘James Explains’.

But some of the ninety-one posts have, I think, been quite good.

Not this one obviously.

But some of them have been.

And now I find myself a mere nine days and nine posts away from hitting a century. A hundred posts in a hundred days.

Will I make it?

Who knows?

Who really cares?

I mean I care a little bit. But it’s not really going to change my life. I won’t even get a celebratory t-shirt.

Maybe I should make a celebratory t-shirt.

That would be cool.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Because I’m not there yet.

Today I’m at ninety-one.

And ninety-one does not make for a cool t-shirt by anyone’s standards.

 

A Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars

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If you’ve clicked on this expecting a well-thought out classification of all the different chocolate bars available in the UK then you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Also, what is wrong with you?

Seriously, who needs to know about chocolate bars to that extent?

I mean I am reasonably well-versed in chocolate. I’m certainly no expert, but I know my Double Deckers from my Lion Bars and my Twirls from my Twix.

But this post isn’t really about chocolate bars.

Although if you’re in the mood for one you could do worse than any of the above.

But really this post is, as with all my posts, about not very much at all.

Normally I have no difficulty coming up with creative ways of writing about nothing, but recently I’ve been struggling.

Today I had a particularly bad bout of writer’s block

Indeed I have been sitting on my sofa for the best part of an hour starting, and subsequently deleting, various attempts at a blog post.

And even by the particularly low standards I set for myself, I was coming up with nothing that I considered acceptable for these prestigious pages.

And then Mrs Proclaims appeared.

I mean she came down the stairs, she didn’t magically appear in front of me like a genie.

Or someone off of Star Trek.

Upon her entering the room, I implored her to give me an idea to write about.

She looked at me suspiciously, as if having walked into a trap.

And rightly so, for I am not known to solicit suggestions when it comes to content for this blog and I can be more than a little ungracious when unsolicited suggestions are made. (This a particularly blog-specific failing on my part and should in no way be used to judge me in other areas of my life and is certainly no reflection on the state of my marriage…)

“I mean it,” I said in an attempt at reassurance, “I really can’t think of anything.”

Still with a slight sense of mistrust she pondered the situation for a moment.

“Why don’t you write a Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars?” she suggested.

I congratulated her on her brilliance and she returned to the upper rooms of our abode feeling pleased with herself.

Obviously I haven’t written a taxonomy of chocolate bars.

It’s too varied and controversial a topic for me to be able to do it justice.

But I did think it would make a good title.

And I have just eaten a chocolate bar.

It was a Lion Bar if you must know.

I’d have preferred a Double Decker, but we didn’t have any of those in the cupboard and the nearest shop is all the way across the road.

We did have Wagon Wheels in the cupboard.

I’m not sure if they count as chocolate bars, because of their shape.

If only someone had written a thorough and complete taxonomy of chocolate bars so I could find out.

Less Is More. More Or Less.

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Sometimes, when I can’t think of anything to write about, I write about the fact that I can’t think of anything to write about. It’s a little self-contradictory but it solves a problem.

Equally, when I don’t really have time to write anything, I occasionally write about the fact that I haven’t got time to write anything, even though by writing about a lack of time to write anything, I am proving that I did have time to write something. Albeit something pointless.

The other solution would be to write nothing.

Which may be preferable in the short term but writing nothing on one occasion often leads to a longer-term scenario in which I write nothing for weeks on end.

Which is bad for me.

It may be less bad for you.

But this blog is an entirely self-indulgent affair, for the most part, so ‘bad-for-me’ is undesirable.

Then again, at the moment, I really am quite busy and being busy seems like a state of affairs which is likely to continue indefinitely.

Which means this blog is likely to take a ‘back seat’ unless I can think of a solution.

And one solution is to write shorter posts.

About not very much.

As opposed to long posts about not very much, which is my usual modus operandi.

So that’s probably what I’m going to do for a while.

Write short posts about not very much.

Like this one.

But maybe I’ll aim to make them better than this one.

Although they probably won’t be much better than this if I’m honest.

Introducing ‘Artist’s Corner’

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Last week I was lamenting the fact that I actively got worse at blogging in 2016 when compared to 2015.

And although I rather churlishly claimed in that post that I was going to endeavour to be even worse in 2017, in actual fact I’d like to be a bit better.

Or, you know, more popular.

And having examined my ‘stats’ with a fine-tooth comb (that I bought off a dentist for a very reasonable price) I realised that 2015 was more successful than 2016 because I produced a lot more content.

Simple as that.

In the just-under eight months I blogged in 2015 I produced 153 posts, whereas a whole twelve months of blogging in 2016 yielded just 104 posts.

It was all about quantity and very little to do with quality.

I was clearly a man possessed in 2015, churning out all kinds of second-rate bunkum.

Did I really just use the word ‘bunkum’? What is wrong with me? Continue reading Introducing ‘Artist’s Corner’