Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Farewell and adieu...



This is the last Works Well, with good reason. Those that I get on with but who are also honest and clearsighted will know I am not a sympathetic sort. To compensate I’ve tried hard – too hard – to entertain and this has regularly led to lack of judgment. I’ve antagonised people before and I’ve done it again. Only by deleting posts have I avoided further unpleasantness. That and the fact that some of you have had the capacity to ride out my more extreme jokes.

Bloggers who don’t blog disappear. Deservedly since they don’t contribute. However, anyone who wants to get in touch (eg, about the novels) can do so by email. Most of you know the address but for those who don’t it’s rodrob@globalnet.co.uk. I’ll answer anyone who writes, and as often as they write – probably at excessive length – since this at least is not one of my failings.

It’s remarkably difficult to avoid being mawkish with this sort of thing. Dropping WW will be like an alkie giving up the bottle. And that probably is at the heart of the problem – addicts are notoriously unreliable. And self-centred.

I see I have words left so let’s end on an upbeat note. I have kept my present-day face off the blog since WW was always words or nothing. Now there’s an irony! Anyway, here’s a photo. One interesting point. Everyone I’ve exchanged words with has been better-educated. Perhaps this is how lack of education ends. My late headmaster uncle would no doubt confirm this.


earlybird said...

I'm sorry to read this. We'd only just started getting acquainted.

Hope the "sevrage" isn't too painful.

Rouchswalwe said...

Lieber BB! So I'm not as honest or as clearsighted as I thought then.

And who's not self-centred? I'm thinking, well 2011 really has been a sour year for me and now Works Well is going, too. (Wallow wallow in self pity.)

But this is about you, dear BB. The words and pictures on Works Well over the years have not only entertained me, but I've been stimulated, educated, and given food and drink for thought. Your honesty refreshes me. And if you ask me, humour has to be biting at times. It's that kind of animal, and I appreciate it on its own terms.

I am certainly going to miss Works Well, but I know you mean it when you write that we'll be able to stay in touch, so expect an email from me this weekend and please write to me, too. You already have my email address.

Aufwiederhören, gelle!

The Crow said...

Pardon me while I go stand in the corner and throw a hissy fit. I want to stomp my feet and yell out, "NO! You can't do this!"

I don't understand why you are leaving, but I respect your decision to do so. I am disappointed (very self-centered of me, isn't it) you are closing WW, and am hopeful you might show up under another banner.

herhimnbryn said...

Mr Bonden Sir, I am sorry to read this last post and shall order ship's company to have you piped ashore. I will miss you. Alchemist will too, he always asks about your comments over at my place.

Take heart BB.

ps. Not sure about the Graham Greene pic.(it is him, is it not?)

pps. I would like signed copies of the first editions when they hit the bookshops.

xo from Her, a clap on the back from Him and a raised eyebrow from Bryn.

Lucy said...

Please don't think you have to hold yourself to this, just because you've said it, though I've a horrible feeling you're the kind who will. Still, I wish you wouldn't. Will you still visit other blogs or are you going completely cold turkey? Plenty of people who come to mine enjoy your comments even if they don't read here, you give meat to any comments thread you join in with.

Oh this is too bad!

I really can't imagine this is necessary, I'm sure you've caused yourself far more grief by whatever you're supposed to have done than you did any other person.

Please keep in touch as I will with you, and come back soon. Things really won't be the same without you.

Barrett Bonden said...

All: Why am I doing it? Because I've wounded someone and it is isn't the first time. Why not be "less wounding"? Because I need to be risky and lapel-grabbing; anything else would be a constant re-writing of the Pastoral Symphony.

Knowing you all as I do, knowing how I've profited from your company, I can't rid myself of the belief that deep down I did it as a solicitation of sympathy and of tombstone epitaphs. This is peculiarly horrible and unexpected. Makes me feel I need to go out and kick someone's dog to prove I'm the bad boy I know myself to be. But then I don't really want to be celebrating being a bad boy


HHB: Glad you got the GG joke. I was beginning to despair. One big difference: my ears aren't as pendulous.

Lucy: Cold turkey? I've had to tie off some loose ends. As to the future, any answer would seem to be teasing. I just don't know. Without a voice of one's own, is it relevant to shout down others' wells? I don't know.

Relucent Reader said...

Well shoot, BB, not good news at all. I'll miss your posts and inspiration.
I'll be in touch; Missus wants to go back to GB next summer, before the Olympic rush.

marja-leena said...

Oh, I am quite saddened by this, dear BB! I really hope this is just a temporary break, a sabbatical if you will, while you sort out those other loose threads and concentrate on the novel. It seems like you are far too hard on yourself.

I hope WW stays up even if inactive for a while and you will come back to it, or to a new blog. You do have many faithful readers and will be missed very much. Do visit over at our blogs now and then, and yes, we will stay in touch by email.

Oh, as for that picture, you had me for a moment there! I looked and looked and did not recognize you. Such a tease you are.

Good luck with the book, let us know when we can get a signed copy. Take care, work well, be well.

Julia said...

You know how I feel about this. I do hope you reconsider or come back in a different guise.

And I am tempted to draw a portrait of you to replace the GG photo!

Lucy said...

I knew it wasn't you of course, but didn't recognise it as GG.

Don't go kicking any dogs.

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: I'm not sure what you're suggesting but I'm fascinated. Go ahead, if you're not bluffing.

Lucy: Knew you'd respond.

Lucy said...

Just trying to keep you talking so you don't jump. That and coming back to see who else has showed up expressing regret so I can work out, by process of elimination, who you're supposed to have pissed off. As far as I can tell we're most of us here, so I'm none the wiser. I even went as far as asking Tom if he'd had a run-in with you which he hadn't told me about.

Ah well. Hopefully the emergency services will have had time to spread out the safety nets by now.

Avus said...

Dear BB,
Yours, for me, has always been the most interesting, thought provoking (sometimes just provoking!) and sometimes controversial blog that I visit. One does not have to always agree with you - that is the essence of invigorating discussion and makes your writing what it is - stimulating.
For all this to "work well" it may be sometimes inevitable that a comment may upset someone. If this be the case, then a gentlemanly apology should suffice - we cannot please everybody all the time and if we all held the same opinions the world would be a very boring place.
If the fact that you have hurt a correspondent is your only reason for giving up the blog I beg you to reconsider. Sam Johnson certainly could be a prickly character, but boy, is he remembered with affection!
Please at least think about it - I shall miss you.

The Crow said...

Oh, God...I thought your post was a bad dream but it's still here, and it looks like you mean it.

BB, I can't say my feelings any better than everyone else already has...probably not as well as some. Point is, without getting maudlin, which I know you detest, please reconsider your stance. At least, begin anew, if this blog has run its course for you, and just send out emails to those of us who keep coming back for more. We'll follow you anywhere.

I will, anyway.

Hattie said...

Oh, I'm sorry about this. I'm going to keep you on my blog roll, however.
Another one of my favorite bloggers, Michael Berube, left some time ago, but he continues to write and publish. He also contributes to group blogs.
I prefer your way of bowing out to on again/off again blogs, which are very irritating.

Tom said...

Well, well, well!

I suppose I could comment in the same vein as everyone else on your blog, for I am certain all their comments are heartfelt, as mine would be also. But why the hell should I?

I may not rate as a friend according to your recently published criteria, but as a friend I would ask as directly as you have often been, who the hell ever said that you have the arrogant right to assume you are the cause of someone else's hurt? Neither you nor I, thankfully, can possibly have that much power over another person!

Always remember my prattish friend, you may be responsible for what you say, but you are not responsible for the outcome. Only if you have complete control over another's mind and soul could you come close to assuming that awesome responsibility. Of course, a little exercise of wisdom might have indicated that you might have pursued an alternative course, but wiser men than you have slipped up there.

Come on BB! Seek out reality and you will find it.

Rouchswalwe said...

Donnerwetternoch'mal! Da hat der Tom aber was Gutes gesagt!

FigMince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rouchswalwe said...


Not all blogs suffer from blatherskitosis. Especially not yours, BB. If you really do decide to close shop, will you change the name of this blog to Worked Well?

A close friend told me when I left southern Japan that only by saying goodbye is it possible to later say hello.

Just imagine, "Hello and Bonjour ..." Doesn't that have a nice ring to it? Hmmm? Doesn't it?

Oui? Ja?

Barrett Bonden said...

This is far, far too long. The butterfies are directed to the final ("All") section

Although I'm now one day into my retirement there are some points more recently raised I need to respond to.

Lucy (Just trying...): "Pissed off". I'm in favour of demotic speech but the complaint was alas expressed more tragically than this. OK, I've now jumped.

Avus: It was not a disagreement. What I said (insofar as I can still remember) was an ingeniously phrased bit of teasing which apparently got out of hand. But it wasn't the first time this had happened.

The Crow: (Oh God...): Let me repeat: I will continue to be accessible to all (or at least until the final Microsoft error message): anybody who bothers to email me will receive a delighted reply in the ratio 1:2 words.

Hattie: Dribbling on - a good metaphor for senility.

Tom: English B-movie. Everybody is being kind and sympathetic to hysterical ingenue (played by Susan Shaw); manly hero slaps her round the chops. Cut to bells ringing in twee country church. Good, my cliché detector is still working. I know I hurt because I was told by the hurtee.

RW (zS) (Donner..) : Aber er war falsch.

Fig: You're quite right, certainly as far as I am concerned. The better the post the more rewarding the ego-trip. One is, alas, one's own greatest fan. This has constantly been at the back of my mind (wimpish though it may be).

RW (zS): Gruesome. Like those pop-stars perpetually on farewell tours.

All: I have raised this point before and I'd have been delighted if anyone had pooh-pooh-ed it. Instead it has raised a worldwide storm of apathy. Let me try again.

In my experience as one gets older (You must remember, I'm six years dead) it is not just the body that ceases to cope. Hassle disturbs me, eg: when running the forum for the parish website I created a local loudmouth attacked my motives. I found this hard to bear. Poor baby.

Spooling forward, I've unleashed some dazzling piece of merde from Works Well, woken at 3 am, worried, and pusillanimously deleted the post. Three times as far as I can remember.

Keep going. Comments can be more dangerous than posts. On three separate occasions over a couple of years I have despatched extreme comments to the same blog, woken at 3 am, known in my own heart that I would be banned forever from that blog, then found my fears were groundless. The blogger in question has risen effortlessly over the merde and given me back as good as I sent. You'll have to take my word that these comments were extreme and I did well to be worried.

But not every blogger can take a punch like that. And the resilience shown didn't stop me worrying (Yes, yes, I know; it sounds wimpish. So I'm a wimp)

But who, you may ask, was this tough-minded counter-puncher? Our lodestar, of course.

Plutarch said...

For a couple of days I have missed out on WW and I am completely bewildered at these developments. As someone who encouraged BB from the start and persuaded you to continue to post in the face of challenges to your time from novel writing, I am horrified at this decision, and more so at whatever inspired it. Could there really be a good reason? Should anyone be allowed to get away with providing one, however bizzare? I think not.

Barrett Bonden said...

I should add I'm touched - beyond belief - by the kind things that have been said. Like having the best seat in the house at my own funeral. However I notice an underlying scepticism about my motives, not least in a recent email from the hurtee. After 24 hours reflection I now recognise the reasons are more complicated than I imagined. Works Well is now a tomb, the wrecked statue of Ozymandias, but if anyone is prepared to risk boring the pants off their readers by posting a humourless 1000-word article on blogging and its perils I am prepared to write it and send it. Those with a taste for irony might well be tempted to edit some of the sentences - gee them up, in fact - and then take credit for the improved piece. The editor edited. So be it.

Julia said...

It's your voice, so I think you should post that op/ed here, in excerpts to meet your 300 word criteria.

There is no contract that you break when you declare a site finished and then add more. Beethoven wrote symphonies with concluding cadences persuasive enough for audiences to start putting on their coats, only to keep the music going. Why not join him?

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: Bravo! Bravissimo! Are you familiar with shot-gun hunting? There's a bit of jargon "a left and a right" meaning significant targets have been hit in succession with discharges from the two adjacent barrels.

By significant I mean well-chosen. Publishing on the one hand (Although I've finally been forced to look up the definition of op-ed) and a hugely flattering allusion to Herr Hammerklavier on the other. But Works Well belongs to the past. As Omar says:

They say the lion and lizard keep
The courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep.

Far better that BB is heard, diminuendo, in some other location. But goodness, J, I admire your powers of indirect seduction.

Plutarch said...

Do you remember lateral thinking? Perhaps followers of WW could perpetuate it by commenting daily or at least frequently thereby extracting gnomic responses from the master which, as part of the last post, would in no way compromise his integrity. This way we would not be the losers and BB could survive as though from beyond the grave.

The Crow said...

Re: Plutarch's suggestion we readers keep the blog going in the comments section, drawing dear BB into our blogging trap, so to speak - oh, I like that! A very good idea, Plutarch, very good indeed.

I even have a song for us to sing, using the tune of that children's song, "This is the Song that Never Ends." Do a YouTube search for it. All we need do is substitute 'blog' for 'song' and we'll have a winner!

This is turning into an Irish-American style wake for Works Well, without the public drinking. I'm doing mine privately - just tea this time. Can't do the other kind anymore.

The Cool Kid said...

I've enjoyed reading this blog over the 2 and a bit years i've known you. (it's one of only two blogs that I regularly read)

I may not always understand what you are talking about (especially the French stuff, as you know my French is beyond awful) but I have always found the insight into your younger years very interesting and enlightening.

I'm sad to see your blog go, and very sad that I failed to become a subject in a post (not through my lack of trying).

See you at Christmas.


Occasional Speeder said...

The monsters said 'Oh please don't go - we'll eat you up, we love you so.'
You silly sausage - now how do I keep you out of mischief now??
I've not known you change your mind but hope that the prospect of having the time to indulge in gardening, drinking beaujolais and creating delights in the kitchen with aubergines may make you reconsider?

Rouchswalwe said...


The Crow said...

Okay, I've got one for you, BB, that's right up WW's alley - a tad.

Which came first, the name of the color or the name of the vegetable (aubergine)? I was surprised when I learned that the country of Brazil was named for the clusterform nuts that grow there and not the other way round. So, which aubergine came first: color or egg(plant)?

(Just doing my part to prolong the life of WW, dontcha know?)

Rouchswalwe said...

I'm with the Crow since the Americans are awake now whilst the Europeans are dreaming sweet dreams ... which French cookware company - Le Creuset or Staub - has available for sale enameled cast iron braisers in the colour aubergine?

Barrett Bonden said...

The Cool Kid: This was completely unexpected! Yours is the most astonishing comment of all. It's a pity I can't reveal a little more biog. to communicate the true poignancy of this moment. I can understand why you might - at someone else's suggestion - have accessed WW once, but to admit to doing it more than once is unbelievable. Yours is the comment that has created the most doubt in my mind about closing WW. You are quite simply WW's greatest achievement.

I'm now conscious that this may well sound condescending and I must hurry to rectify that. Away from blogging you have provided a good deal for me to be grateful for, not least in the way you have effortlessly bridged a generation gap. But I am the further side of that gap and although you have been unfailingly polite it was almost impossible for me not to cast myself in the role of Old Fart.

Am I really doing the right thing?

Barrett Bonden said...

All: No one took up the article offer but that's not surprising, I didn't exactly oversell it.

Yesterday, while hacking and shaping Blest Redeemer (I do do other things) I had a musical epiphany and I found the need to write about it. Then I had an idea. Suppose I returned in a month or so, not as BB nor with WW, but doing a blog which no one would want to read? Of all the subjects I've written about music has been the least successful. Mainly because I hardly know what I'm talking about, I suppose. But how about: Music For Idiots by an Idiot? Lots of zero comments, but I'd be learning something and it's just possible, for a very sparse audience, I might do some good rather than merely overdo the ego bit.

Otherwise let's bring out the humane killer; I've been an unconscionable long time a'dying

earlybird said...

I think Plutarch and The Crow have an idea. These comments as they are frankly make for a better read than any other blog I've read today.

Plutarch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plutarch said...

That's cool, Cool Kid. I am with you.

DuchessOmnium said...

Of course you aren't doing the right thing! Publish and be damned.