Simple fact: if you’re a middle class white person and you have a baby, you will be given a golliwog for it by one of your older relatives who believes that “traditional” is the same as “not racist”. You won’t want to offend them, so you’ll just throw it onto the kid’s pile of soft toys and make sure it stays hidden in the back of his bedroom. Until the child is sick and vomits onto his pile of soft toys, and you have to wash them all so they don’t smell like puke. And then you have to dry them.
I’ve always been annoyed by the First World Problems meme – I find it mean-spirited and patronising – but I have to admit that “not wanting to hang a golliwog on your washing line for all the neighbours to see” almost certainly qualifies as one. Dirty laundry? That’s fucking cultural dirty laundry*.
Only slightly lower down the scale of trivial problems is “thinking you really should write something on your blog even though you don’t really feel like it”. I see this is post number 54, so I was able to average one a week this year – not too bad, considering child-induced lack of sleep put me out of commission for September, October and most of August. (This week we started not feeding the youngest back to sleep at night, to try to get him sleeping through – we’re seeing progress, but my thoughts currently feel like they’re being translated by the Nelson Mandela’s Funeral Sign Language Guy.)
I started this site one year ago today after Caitlin Moran told me to (sort of). To get myself started, and to forestall the sort of excuse-making that usually ends these endeavours, I filled space with a few posts on reasons why I don’t write and reasons why I should, and then tried my hand at stuff that wasn’t self-indulgent wank. And then went back to self-indulgent wank because, let’s be honest, the Internet isn’t good for much else. I tried a bit of opinionating, but it turns out I only have, like, two opinions, so that didn’t last. Reviews were a good source of inspiration/filler – coming out of the Christmas/my birthday season I should have material for a few more of those, I guess.
So I suppose I’m optimistic about 2014. 2013 was the Tough Year for a new child – one income, so money’s always a worry; poor sleeping; eternal vigilance and so on. Work, on the other hand, has been quite interesting, to the point that it was one of the reasons I stopped writing for a bit. This year looks to be even more interesting, hopefully not to the point of “that’s enough now no really stop stop fucking stop it for a second.” With any luck, the plusses and minuses will cancel out and I’ll just amble along putting out one or two pieces a week here.
Is that another resolution, or just a statement of intent? Whatever – that’s 500 words; I’m going to lie down for a while.
* In a previous life as a web cartoonist, I’d occasionally post some of the more glaring examples of old-timey racism as a semi-regular “Mock the Past” series. This one attracted the attention of some well-meaning (yet anonymous) soul who patiently explained how Golly wasn’t racist at all and was just a well-loved children’s character who was erased from history by guilt-ridden liberals with “issues”. A character who happened to look exactly like a grotesque caricature of an African person speaking in broken English – I’m sure that was just a coincidence.