Tuesday, March 09, 2010


My old friend DR over at (well, virtually over at) Freshly Ground has deemed me worthy of the "Prolific Blogger Award", as represented by the pic, and explained here. Since this is the first award (that I know about) that my blog has generated, I shall gracefully and graciously accept :). Which is not to say I wouldn't accept other awards, not excluding bribery. I am also accepting and acknowledging belatedly, since the award was made three weeks ago and I have only got around to prolifically blogging about it now.

I'm not sure I would class a posting rate of about once every three and half days as necessarily prolific (I feel prolific merely by posting two days in a row), especially when others post quality almost daily, but it is a really nice way I think to tell someone you have been following the blog for a while.

I have probably mentioned this before, but I started this thing for an unknown audience, because I enjoyed writing stuff down, and I wanted somewhere living to put it. A blog is perfect for that. I am on facebook as well, and that has supplanted the blog in certain ways, but I can use this format in ways and with a flexibility that facebook can't provide, and thus it has remained active.

This particular blog had its origins in the late 90's and early 2000's, when a significant number of my friends went overseas to see the world (or the various bits of it they could afford to get to). In the absence of direct contact, I began writing semi regular group emails, not only to keep in touch, but also to pass the time during quiet night shifts at work. I figured out pretty quickly that I liked writing as a medium, and could often express myself better this way than verbally (as readers who know me personally can probably attest). A couple of those overseas friends had already started blogs, and eventually the idea of me writing one was germinated, although it took me a long time to convince myself it would be worth reading, let alone that others might be interested. After a prolonged gestation Off Black was created in 2006. The name already existed as a handle I had used on a forum. I thought it an ironic take on the colour Off White (which had been the subject of an amusing hardware store TV ad at the time), and it seemed natural to develop it further, although it brings some interesting google results.

And so here we are, nearly 500 posts later. After putting up 100 or so posts in the first year, I thought that was a reasonable annual target. Self censorship aside (there are some things that will almost certainly never grace these pages :)) I am still nowhere near running out of material. I find the composition process continually interesting. Some posts are instantly fully formed. Almost none are written using notes or other reminders or are pre planned (which may explain why some posts are over long jumbled messes, including possibly this one), but I do try to write to the classic introduction, exposition and conclusion essay model when required. Other posts are crystal clear in my mind, but refuse to be translated cleanly into words, with seemingly short, simple compositions becoming wordy and overly complicated prose. Still other posts bear no resemblance to the original idea. Lastly there are the long term ideas, the posts that have been waiting to be written for months (or in at least one case years), because the time isn't right, or I haven't found the right way to write them yet. Some posts take a few minutes to write, some take a few hours (especially if there is photo manipulation required. That can take yonks), and I seldom publish a post without editing it a few minutes later after thinking of something I missed.

I suspect the above experience is somewhat universal for regular bloggers.

This blog is by definition and extension, all about me and the things that catch my attention (I'm sure the learned commentary on the blog as extension of the ego and its context within the internet as a whole will make interesting reading a few years or decades hence). A lot of the time I post with the people who I know are reading in mind. Other times it is pure self indulgence, and caring about others finding it interesting is cast to the wind. Aside from the aforementioned known regular readers, I still have no real idea of how many people regularly stop by this thing, and what they stop for. I know I have a somewhat niche interest set, that I have been assured people can find boring. I do try and write 'interesting', with varying degrees of success (along with trying to write 'funny'). I have no real interest in going controversial or offensive for the sake of it. This has caused me to drop a few posts on occasion before they went public. There are certain authors whose style I at times try and emulate (no, I am not going to tell you who they are). Sometimes it is just easier to post pics and let them speak for themselves. There have been several occasions when I have revisited a post sometime later and thought "That didn't really come out the way I envisioned it". Even if a post in hindsight doesn't quite work, I have yet to edit one retrospectively. It feels dishonest.

I am perennially concerned that this is a boring blog, a concern I don't help alleviate by being a comments junkie. It is stupid, especially since I browse any number of blogs daily, with interest, without commenting. I know comments are a poor way of judging others interest. I mean, a perfect post might leave no room for added commentary. There might be nothing more to say. And I also know some read from locations that prevent them commenting. But sometimes the cynical comment junkie in me looks at the '0 comments' and wonders "did no-one see that? I thought it was good. Was it boring, or did they just have nothing to add?". Not helping this process at all have been the few occasions when I have specifically asked for comments on a post and received few or none, making me wonder at times if anyone is reading, or if they are and aren't interested.

That said, I have had some awesome feedback at times, occasionally linking to places and contacts I never would have found or thought of otherwise. So thank you to all who have taken the time to leave a comment, or caught up with me in person to remark on something I put up here. You make it much more worthwhile. Cheers.

Now since this is after all a meme, there are some formalities to be undertaken. According to the rules I must nominate seven other bloggers to deem prolific, link back to the blog that nominated me, link back to the original source post of the award, and add my name to the list of recipients.

I don't like the arbritariness of picking seven people, so I am just going to nominate a few blogs of interest. I would nominate Freshly Ground (especially worth checking out if you like good home cooking), but since that is who nominated me I can't, although mentioning it takes care of the requirement to link to your nominator quite nicely.

Not helping the nomination process is the fact that a bunch of potentials have already been anointed.

Here are a few of my regular reads that I think are worth nominating for prolificity and hopefully haven't been dubbed already.
*Apologies in advance if I nominate anyone who hates this sort of thing. Take that as a licence to ignore it if you want.

I thought of doing brief descriptors, but I will let the blogs and bloggers speak for themselves. Quick paraphrasing of things that aren't machines or processes isn't my strong point:

Adventures In The Underground

My Wildlife's Words

The NotKate

Judge And Jury

The Rabbit Howls

The original source link of the Prolific Blogger Award along with the now 200+ strong list of recipients is at the top of the page. Which having now finished a classic example of a quick repost that turned into a sprawling monster, I am off to add my URL to.


Maureen said...

Hey, thanks for the nomination! That's pretty cool. I'm not sure how 'prolific' I am, but I appreciate it anyway :)

Your blog is very different from many of the others I read, mostly in that your topics go a little deeper than the usual 'what I did today' sort of thing. I like this but have to admit that I haven't devoted as much time as I would have liked to reading it lately because I need to find some time to get in the proper mindset. Perhaps other readers feel the same way?

Off-Black said...

Thats a valuable insight Maureen, thank you :)

missrabbitty said...

oh, and flattered...

missrabbitty said...

thanks from here too..i'm surprised.
i like looking at the pics you take. i think you're an artist.

Off-Black said...

Thanks missrabbity! I like reading your posts, so I nominated you. I read 'prolific' as a quality over quantity measure:)

missrabbitty said...

and now i'm blushing...