Writing

Writing

You remember the sunrises and the sunsets, and in between the diners, the customers, the food, the coffee refills, the waitresses, the way the cutlery was arranged, the condiments, the font and laminate of the menu, the anticipation. The person opposite you, your reflection in their glasses and in their eyes. You see yourself, and you always look different to the person you think you were. You watch the confidence and immortality of youth, the middle life struggle of definition,…

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An intermission of rural England

An intermission of rural England

Rural England is a small place. All of England to start with is smaller than most US states, and can fit into Scandinavia many times over. Take out the cities, take out the airports, the motorways and main roads, the growing suburbs and industrial sites, and you aren’t left with a huge amount of area. Set your mind to it and in a few days you could walk across its width; in a few weeks, its length. But, what there…

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Death

Death

Death, like its opposing force of love, comes in many forms and shades. The physical, or cognitive, death of a relative, a partner, a friend or work colleague. Someone you knew; past tense, now. A pet, often as loved – if not more – than friends or relatives; a love strengthened through loyalty, no longer reciprocated. The silence; the almost unbearable silence. The death of a dream, an idea or a hope or a glimpsed future. Through redundancy, a relationship…

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All who you can’t leave behind

All who you can’t leave behind

It’s early February. I wake up in a different place, these days. South Birmingham, as opposed to the tiny part of Balsall Heath that became a base for a gradually lengthening period of time, as months collapsed into seasons, gave way to years. It’s quiet here. My room looks out onto the bowling alley shaped back garden attached to terraced houses such as these. From the wobbly window there are views of many other gardens; trees; no roads; houses of…

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The Long Autumn

The Long Autumn

The summer fruits, the Victoria plums and Cambridge strawberries, are the sweetest and juiciest, filled with the rains of spring. But it’s the autumn fruits, those slow-growing crops such as Marjorie’s Seedling, Russet and Cox’s Orange Pippin, where the flavors are strongest and the colors deepest. It’s strange. There’s a party going on downstairs, but I feel flat today, unsociable. Not grumpy, just tired, withdrawn, wanting to move on in several ways. So while the party goes on, and I…

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The Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox

The first time in Boston was December 1995, for the fourth World Wide Web conference. The last time was two years ago almost to the day, on a night stop-over on the way to (finally) meet – in ‘real life’ – the person who would be my fiancee. The events of the last week – not just in Boston, but elsewhere in America, and much more personally closer – have been strange, turbulent, upsetting, downright scary, annoying as hell, thought-provoking…

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The fifteen hundred

The fifteen hundred

There was an era in U.S. political life “that began with Ronald Reagan, where there was a conservative dominance powered by conservative voters and Southern whites,” said David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “That era is over.” You know those news stories of religious cults, approaching a day of judgement where they are convinced that they will ascend to some form of heaven, leaving all the unbelievers behind? And they gather on…

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Don’t shush me, I’m tweeting the speaker

Don’t shush me, I’m tweeting the speaker

(The title is a play on librarian cliches and stereotypes, and on the worst book title in the field of games in education) A better title is Dealing with Bunheads. Twitter has been around for over six years. Other forms of social media have been around longer. Phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices where you can type while sitting at a presentation, seminar, workshop, conference or other event, have been around for many years, decades. And emails, mailing lists, usenet…

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The solstice walk

The solstice walk

The summer solstice is but a few hours away. To be precise, it happens at 00:09 BST, on Thursday June 21st, 2012. Five years ago, I was living on a small island, some three miles by two, in the Outer Hebrides. With a population that hovered around 130 residents, it was a relaxed place. And also very pretty, with one of the best beaches you’ll find in Britain. On the summer solstice, and around that time of the year, it…

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Storms over Lake Michigan

Storms over Lake Michigan

It was a few years ago, now. More recent than many of the other adventures I’d had in America, but still disappearing into the cognitively dusty corner of things done in the past. Some memories, most memories, fade, but some memories are sharp enough to endure. I’d been dating H. It wasn’t good. The hot summer in the rust belt, and the previous baggage we’d both brought to the relationship, had stifled it pretty quickly. She was coming back to…

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