I am trialling a new writing series here on the website. Like everything now, I’ve branded it with Planet Patrick and so the series is called, well, The Planet Patrick Diaries.
I have been using a journal since before I knew what a journal was (it used to be called a notebook) and with sporadic attention. For years, I hoarded a pile of scrunchy, quarter-used ruled books, black Moleskine cahiers and a big blue diary that I had repurposed to tell myself spiritual lies in condensed blue handwriting when I was a seminarian. I took a notion about 10 years ago to slim everything down (apart from myself). I scanned pages through a machine and took pleasure in grinding the leftovers through a cheap Rexel shredder to which I had treated myself at Sainsbury’s supermarket. From time to time, I find myself going through old boxes of papers looking for the originals and beating myself up when the memory hits.
It might not seem surprising that I started writing voluminously as a teenager with a LOT of incidental detail. I could barely keep up with the things I was noticing as I scritched neat text with a cheap plastic fountain pen into a square-lined French notebook on an exchange in Tours, France in 1991. People on the bus, described. Lunch options at the exchange school, laid out in sequence, alongside my puzzled response to the grey artichoke leaves my dining table neighbours were sucking with pleasure, each leaf tip dipped in vinegar.
I still notice all of that, of course. It fills my head with smells and desire and aural objections, and comes to rest somewhere eye-rollingly dull in the lizard brain. But it rarely emerges from the tip of my more modern gel ink pen. On occasion, out of the sensorial melee emerges a whiff of a story; the slip of a heroic facade; a glimpsed knicker band of darkly comic misadventure.
I doubt that David Sedaris and Alan Bennett would linger at my future book signing, but their coiled anecdotes and everyday revelations are inspirations nonetheless. So too is the dense and highly-strung prose of Clive James in his Radio 4 phase. It dashes around at such a censorious clip, that it’s disappeared between its own sarcastic legs before you can work out the first metaphor. You can rewrite that last sentence for yourself.
Now I need to tell you about the 37 places that this content will appear. This is a consequence of the fractured nature of social media outlets in which I indulge with my mouth agape. Of course I need a TikTok.
This new series of diary entries will appear as blog posts here on PlanetPatrick.net. If you put your mouse (or finger) over the ‘Blog’ link at the top of every page, you’ll see a new option for The Planet Patrick Diaries.
Each entry will also become scripts for the occasional Planet Patrick Podcast series which appears on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as an audio series, as well as in video format on the Planet Patrick YouTube channel. Although I have no boss, I can’t but help feeling that the boss would be happy I’d told you all that.
Here is the full list!