Well, he’s a cricket fan, so he’ll enjoy the mention of a “double century” – but one thing I learned a while back is that you have to pick your moments and celebrate your own milestones in this writing-online caper. You have to turn up. And turn up. And turn up again. And if you think it’s special that you’ve done something for a month or a year or a decade then it is. If you are pleased to write 10 or 100 or 1000 posts then it is! Because if you don’t do it then someone else will. And no one else will be there to tell you that it was a job well done.
Jon McLeary’s guest blog here at Off The Tracks is a weekly highlight. For me. For him. For many readers.
It started innocently enough. Innocuously. I knew Jon. Just a little bit. I knew his music – loved it. And we had met in the real world just a couple of times but we were corresponding a bit and then I shared my Bruno Lawrence story. And Jon wrote to tell me he had a Bruno story, he was keen to share it. Something clicked between us – I just knew Jon was going to be good for an ongoing bunch of stories. He did too. We decided he could write a weekly missive – send out a little ship in a bottle.
Look, the first one (his Bruno story) was just fine. It didn’t blow me away. Or anyone. But it was an introduction. His voice was out there. And I was sure he’d find new things to say or new ways to convey old stories.
And now he’s hit over 200 – he’s hardly missed a week. It’s his own deadline. It’s up to him. His payment is in the publishing. Mine is in sharing his work. He sends it to me, with some photos – and I edit it up and post it. I choose the layout. I’m privileged to be the first to read it before it goes into the world.
From that easy, early Bruno post things started to pick up. Steam gathered…
These are often simple little stories, but they involve interesting people, places and things – or they are observed with special insight, with emotional clarity, with wisdom. There’s a resonance.
You can’t hit it out of the park every day, or every week, or whoever often you write. But you can aim to do your best, to straight-bat it when you have to, have a swing now and then, build some runs and confidence.
And Jon’s Ghost Of Electricity posts, his War Stories, have worn well.
In the way that Frank Zappa thought his entire body of work was one long (really long) song, in the way that Lou Reed suggested all of his albums together was his version of The Great American Novel I think that Jon McLeary’s Ghost of Electricity posts – a work still in progress, we’re past 200 episodes and counting – is an extraordinary memoir; a potted autobiography sent out in weekly postcards.
It’s also a great home to so much of his amazing art, carvings, collages, photos, and of course the paintings.
I’m a couple of weeks late writing this – but Jon and I talked about whether he wanted to toot his horn over reaching 200 posts, or whether he’d like me to share some of my highlights from watching, reading, editing and loving his series of writings.
We bumped into each other in Aro Park just yesterday. We shared a nice chat. He had a smoke. My dog wagged his tail all the while.
And then later that day he sent me a message, “I’d still like you to write that guest Ghost story we talked about…”
It’s not only 200 posts, it’s around four years of his life. And mine. And some of yours if you read any of this, or any of them…
And it’s about so much more than that.
So I’m sharing this here. Now. Leaving his usual weekly spot for him.
And long may he run, and of course continue to score runs.
There are so many more of the posts I could highlight but of course you can read them all here.