Dear readers, the last blog post sent me spinning off into a flurry of creative reflection. What is the point of this blog? - that was the question. Well, after participating in the gradual evolution of The Flawed Mind, I am pleased to share my answer. I am happy to announce the blog’s coming of age, and I think you will find much to like here in the future. For those of you who have followed my writing up to this date, I thank you, and ask that you please indulge a slight diversion into the realms of the introspective; we won’t stay there very long, and I promise we will come out the other side with a spring in our step.
I believe that blogs are most powerful when they have a simple reason for existing - a ‘spine’, a structure to hang things off. To be successful, I believe that a blog has to occupy common ground, a space shared between writer and reader. Over the last few years I have occasionally done this, I hope - but often I have not. To be frank, the blog and I have both rambled, touching on a myriad of topics, the only common denominator for which seemed to be my itinerant curiosity.
While the ramble itself has been diverting, even occasionally illuminating, it has also been a little directionless. Hence my questioning of the overall direction of this particular blog as a creative vehicle, wondering how it all hangs together. Part of the problem was the name - “The Flawed Mind” is inescapably self-referential, and really all about me, a topic of limited interest to the world at large! The time came to resolve this. So, the challenge I set myself was to look back at the tapestry of several years of regular writing, and find the common thread or threads that weave through the work.
I have completed my review, and I am pleased to say that I have reached a happy conclusion: It’s time for a change.
Without getting lost in the navel-gazing, and sparing you much of my typically meandering analysis, it struck me that the common denominator is not really the subject matter as such, but the desire to explore subjects through writing. And to be even more specific, my chosen modus operandi (modus operandus?) for writing, the thing I love to do most dearly, is to ensconce myself in one of Melbourne’s many cafés in order to chase the dragon through cup after cup of good, bad or indifferent coffee. All this time I thought I had been merely writing: in fact, I had been writing in my favourite Melbourne cafés - a subtle but important distinction in a town which prides itself on both its coffee and literary culture.
This was an insight so obvious in retrospect that it nearly bowled me over.
Nearly every past entry in this blog was written in a coffee house, and the café is my preferred habitat for socialising and thinking through life’s challenges, as well as for writing. This blog post was written in a café; come to think of it, goddammit - the best things I have ever written were written in a café. Certainly all of my freelance journalism has emerged from the coffee house. To crown it all, my idea of freedom is to be able to go to a quiet establishment somewhere, watch the crowds come and go and write, write and write some more. (And eat and drink coffee, of course - one has to pay one’s way. More on the question of etiquette soon.)
This is what it comes down to, the thread I choose to tie everything together: me, Melbourne, writing, coffee, dogs and cats; trains, planes, automobiles, and the kitchen sink - from this post onwards, the blog will be written in celebration of the culture and practice of writing in cafés in Melbourne, as experienced first hand.
The point is not to limit the scope of the writing unnecessarily. The point is to use it as a structuring device, a new raison d’etre that encapsulates so much of what I love. Of course, we will still take many happy diversions into obscure territory, so for those who enjoy my rambling habits, do not despair! Apart from anything else, this new focus will allow me to indulge my fetish for technology and gadgets; fountain pens, pencils and other writing instruments; fine paper, journals and stationery; and of course good coffee and even better food. Naturally I will continue to write about creativity and writing itself. What’s not to like?
So it is with great pleasure that I announce the timely demise of The Flawed Mind (may it rest in peace and cache files for all eternity), and the arrival of The Ink Shot: A blog of café writing culture. I hope you like the new name and the new direction.
Our shiny new web address, which is up and running now thanks to the speed and efficiency of tech support in the US (we are a global operation), is www.theinkshot.com, or just theinkshot.com to its friends. The old address will still work for the foreseeable future, so don’t worry if you forget. My new twitter name is @theinkshot, but I will keep the logo - it’s a cross between a coffee bean and a brain, so it’s all good!