Image: Lockdown 12.04.20
This started in the first week of UK Lockdown, when I caught myself bogged down in the daily mire of scrolling through the newsless news app. What am I looking at? Anguished and tearful at articles more frightening and heartbreaking than the next; highly clickable news stories from A&E wards and reports of domestic abuse increase.
At the time I was reading Jo Wilding’s ‘Don’t Shoot the Clowns- Taking a Circus to the Children of Iraq’ 2006 and I was increasingly aware that, as we all know, the media is bullshit.
Especially now; if it’s not Coronavirus or Coronavirus-related it’s not news. It is just absent.
As I cursorly drag myself down google satellite street maps in Fallujah and Abu Ghraib in pursuit of Wilding’s people, I think to myself where is this news? Where was this news back in 2003 and where the hell is it now? It didn’t just end.
Of course the world is in Lockdown, including journalists. But in pre-pandemic circumstances, when the story stops being editor-approved or fresh, and I mean freshfresh, it just ends. Abruptly. No followup. No outcome. No further comment.
What’s my point?
My point is there is no point. Stop reading the news right? Become an entirely uninformed woman-child, disentangle from ‘all that’ and engage instead in Jenny Odell’s bioregionalism from her ‘How to do Nothing’ 2019.
I could say I’ve been at it for years, nature watching and obsessing about anything nonhuman; I’ve been good at doing nothing. Or that I was good at it. I was heavily engaged in living in my immediate surroundings, I knew every local tree and meander like old friends. What changed? Adulting? Social media? Change of location? Poor health? Of course. And now I’m here. Locked Down into Lockdown.
So to go back to the beginning (of the blog post), what I need is the bog. The mire. Fuck off the clickbate and go trespassing into the bluebell woods.
Is that what Odell meant? Switch off? Dive head first into ignorance like the gleeful child I have the privileges to be able to be? No.
“We all spend hours each day, scrolling upwards, hating it and loving it, because, at bottom, we are children and the internet is sugar.” p.107 Jay Bernard. ‘Liberating the Canon: an Anthology of Innovative Literature’ Editor Isabel Waidner.2018.
Starting a blog seems contradictory to all the above. How is blogging an act of disengaging?
What is starting a blog going to do? This isn’t just about disengaging, it’s also about confronting what it is that I am engaging in and how I am engaging in it. I can engage in clickbate, but I can engage in it in a different way.
What is it that I will be engaging in then?
As said in Roger Deakin’s ‘Waterlog’ 1999, “I am only interested in everything”.p.3.
This is only the beginning of something and this is the place where I will begin.