13 June 2017

Repetition

After twelve years as a regular blogger, it is easy to forget blogposts one created in the past. Fortunately, we have that blog search facility up on the left of the top bar. You can use it to check past content.

Late last night I began to write a post about English pubs, bewailing their decline. Half way through writing it, somewhere in the murky depths of my brain a little voice asked - "Haven't you covered this before?" I went to the search box and discovered that I have indeed made three previous blogposts all titled "Pubs". In two of them there was enough bewailing to raise the dead from their graves. Consequently, I abandoned the new post feeling like a lemon.

It can be very odd looking back over past posts one has written. They can read like someone else's blogging. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of certain posts or particular sentences I wrote several years back. The business of writing - it's one of the main things that led me into blogging in the first place.

Repeating oneself can seem like the start of a slippery slope that leads all the way downhill to senility. Last year I blogged about a severe case of repetition by one of my old university tutors - a revered Scottish poet called Norman MacCaig. The polite quietness that hung over his identical second telling of the same story was pregnant with wonder about his declining mental state.

I guess it is inevitable that we will fall back on pet subjects, strong memories, the things that matter to us, the things that made us but repetition can be most embarrassing. The decline of the English pub is a fascinating subject but you don't need to be reading about it every couple of months. From now on I shall use that search box more habitually as a useful aide-memoire when creating new blogposts. Otherwise, men in white coats may arrive to take me away in an unmarked van.

30 comments:

  1. No no no no! Oddly (arising out of Red's comment a one of my recent posts) I drafted a post on repetition last night but had other things to say as well and one of those took precedence. There are lots of reasons why repetition is not always a Bad Thing (with apologies to S and Y). One is that when one has been blogging as long as you have there are always new readers coming along and many of your old followers will not have read earlier posts or, more likely in my case, will have forgotten them even if I have read them. There are two notable exceptions on my blog: Meike (who also follows yours) and Monica. I wonder if the fact that they are both fluent in a number of languages has something to do with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An interesting theory, Graham.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for endorsing my repetition Graham. Meike has a very good memory for what other bloggers have covered in the past. She keeps us on our toes.

      Delete
  2. I have been blogging for ten-ish years and I feel as though I have said everything of any importance. I am sure there are many posts I have forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now you have covered the important stuff can we move on to the more interesting unimportant topics?

      Delete
  3. I do it all the time! Its me age

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tha's nobbut a young stripling at t'tender age o' fifty an' five.

      Delete
  4. I can't say I've noticed. You're such a thoughtful writer though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stick around Terry. You will soon hear the echoes.

      Delete
  5. I use that search function constantly -- thank goodness it exists! I think repetition can be warranted when you're talking about a social phenomenon, like the decline of English pubs. After all, that's a situation that continues to change and evolve. But when we're telling a story about our first car accident or the time we burned a finger on the toaster, repetition is a lot less appealing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I wish people would preface their stories with "Have I told you this story before?" and/or "I hope I am not repeating myself" and/or "Stop me if I have told you this before" etc..

      Delete
  6. Like Graham, I don't think you should restrict yourself merely because you have blogged about a certain topic before. I am also sure that there are a number of readers who have either missed a post, do not remember it or simply were not yet around in your part of the blogosphere at the time of the original post.
    I find the search feature most useful and often look up my own old posts to put them into context, or when I am not sure whether I have read something by a certain author before or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is an amazing facility - trawling very rapidly back through one's many posts to throw up those posts that contain a particular search word. Incredible.

      Delete
  7. I think you should do a series of golden oldies occasionally. Rapa Nui Revisited, say, or Thailand Without Shirley, or Chile Ain't So Chilly, or People I Keep In My Cellar.

    Did I ever happen to mention that I grew up in Mansfield, Texas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mansfield Texas! Wow! You don't say! Isn't that where the famous boxer Troy Dorsey came from?

      Delete
    2. The famous boxer Troy Dorsey came from the loins of my friend Warren Dorsey, who was one year behind me in Mansfield High School, and his wife Barbara.

      Delete
  8. There will come a time when a post will get repeated, but the good thing is that you can take from the previous post and add more to it, express a slightly different opinion and make the viewer know that it's been covered before. Great thoughts indeed!

    P.S: You can install some widget that will show similar or related posts below any blog post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In your post script you say I can install a clever widget Mr B but I cannot as I am not able. I take your point about adding to ideas already expressed - elaborating, supplementing.

      Delete
  9. I do that too. I do that too. Have I told you I do that too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Errr... I seem to recall that you did tell me that ADDY!

      Delete
  10. "From now on I shall use that search box more habitually as a useful aide-memoire when creating new blogposts."

    Unless you forget?

    I keep trying to install safety features in my brain to help me remember things I tend to forget, and it seems that the install process gets hung up before it finishes, because my features never work ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you a computer Jenny? Your last paragraph suggests you might be. Or maybe a robot?

      Delete
  11. That is exactly why I stopped blogging, Mr Pudding. I have nothing more to say about my little world on my mountain with Big Bear and the little Duvet. I love it every day but others may not. And, I hardly go anywhere else so .....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could go places in your mind mistress, back to childhood, early adulthood and out to the stars. This would be good to share say in one weekly post.

      Delete
  12. So if you don't recognize repetition of your posts, your readers will never recognize repeats. You're safe except for your conscience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay. I like your take on this Keith.

      Delete
  13. Everyone repeats his or her self. Everyone repeats his or her self.

    Have I already said that?

    Mainly, one repeats one's self because others don't listen the first time around; or mainly it's because others don't read what is written the first time around.

    I may have said or written similar before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sagacious observation Lee.

      Delete
  14. The Australian writer, David Marr, once spoke of the difficulties of biography writing, because all life is repetition. On the strength of those words it is only to be expected that from time to time there will be repetitions on blogs.
    Keep blogging and keep repeating until your faithful readers start making repetitive comments about your repetitive blog topics.

    Alphie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thank you for your encouragement Alphie.

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.