Sunday, October 16, 2011

Something from nothing.

I read a column in a certain Sunday newspaper today based on the premise that 50 years on, we still talk about Marilyn Monroe too much. "Isn't it time we let her go?" There followed 650 words or so of talking about Marilyn Monroe. I don't think I need to say much about the article itself, the point is obvious.

I've noticed that I read newspapers much less than I used to. In days of old, half of Saturday and Sunday would be taken up sitting at the kitchen table, drinking litres of tea and reading the multi-sectioned weekend papers. I was more of a comment and analysis junkie myself but I did venture into the "colour sections" - dated phrase notwithstanding. Whether I'd gained anything from it by the end of the day is debatable.

Now I find myself looking at the "gateway" columns that come at the front of the magazines before the more substantial cover stories, and thinking "what the hell are these people writing about?"

The fact is they write about nothing and do it rather well, in an entertaining and amusing manner. They eke out a minor event or passing thought into a weekly column and we lap it up. Good for them. They're skilled at their craft and give us something to read over the toast and marmalade on a Sunday morning. However, I think it's fair to say that a good half of the content of these magazines ranks somewhere between the inconsequential or vacuous and that which positively encourages people to care about meaningless lifestyle choices such as their choice of coffee grinder.

The irony of me writing a blog or column about this will not be lost on you, I'm sure. The difference between this blog and their columns is that I have a theme - a feeling of dislocation that will hopefully pass eventually. What they do so well is write about whatever pops into their head this week. My challenge as a budding writer is what to write about when my current material dries up.

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