Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges
Today I would like to introduce you to UK writer, poet and editor Martin Hodges who blogs at Square Sunshine – ‘thoughts and observations of a grandfather’. Martin writes humorous and moving stories and poetry about life, with a keen eye for detail and a poet’s flair for language.
Martin is also the co-founder, along with Clare Kirwan, of Poetry-24, an online journal of news-related poetry. The journal has only been going for about 6 months but has already established a reputation as a place for fantastic poetry from different countries around the world, on a huge array of topical and often hard hitting subjects. They are always looking for new contributors, so if you a poet please consider submitting to Poetry-24. I love to read my news in the poetry format ;).
I asked Martin a couple of questions about blogging and he was kind enough to respond.
Why do you blog?
When I told a friend that I was thinking of starting a blog, he said, “Be careful, it can be addictive.” He was right, to an extent, and for me, blogging has been a habit-forming activity. Habits of the positive variety.
Because I’m basically a lazy/easily distracted writer, I need to adopt a structured approach, if I’m ever going to get my thoughts and observations written down. I’m not a natural note-maker, but blogging encourages me to jot down ideas and experiences in bite-sized chunks, and for me, this has one distinct advantage over traditional pen and notepad. My posts (or expanded notes) actually take on a life of their own, and that can often be a satisfying conclusion to the creative process in itself.
After a couple of false starts, I launched Square Sunshine with the intention of posting about my experiences as a new grandfather, in the way I wrote my 80s newspaper column, about being a new parent. Remember, how I said I’m easily distracted? As with the column, Square Sunshine quickly evolved into a platform for a whole range of musings and experiments. Although ‘what it is to be a grandfather’ has remained fairly central, I’ve also enjoyed a wonderful and unexpected voyage of discovery into the realms of photography and poetry.
What do you like most about blogging?
I guess this leads neatly into what I like most about blogging. There are many things, not least the social aspect. It’s a bit clichéd, but I have been introduced to some fascinating individuals and, in turn, the stories of their day-to-day lives, hopes, achievements and creative expression. And, if anyone doubts that people in virtual communities don’t really experience human interaction, they’re wrong. I’ve laughed out loud, wept, and even grieved in response to what I’ve seen and read. Confirmation that well written diaries can be powerful and, sometimes, life-changing documents.
I enjoy the kind of freedom Square Sunshine offers me to get creative. But it’s also a window to worlds beyond my own, and the inevitable richness of the cultural exchanges that ensue.
Thanks Martin 🙂
22 thoughts on “Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges”
Martin Hodges (alias Square Sunshine) has made an excellent job of putting into words all the wonderful reasons for blogging. Thank you Gabrielle!
Thanks adeeyoyo – we writing bloggers all have a lot in common I think.
Ah, Martin writes so beautifully and, in five paragraphs, has explained perfectly how blogging tends to (gloriously) expand beyond our original intentions and why we love blogging so much.
Thank you for featuring Martin as a guest on your blog.
Now, I must click that sidebar photo to find out about the Gouldian Finch! What a beautiful bird. We have House Finches and Goldfinches here, but I have never even heard of a Gouldian Finch…..
Thanks Lydia for stopping by 🙂 The Gouldian finch is only found in the wild in Australia (though is bred throughout the world) – my husband has about 50 and counting 😉
If Gabrielle ever considers asking me to do such a guest piece – tell her not to bother asking (not with these questions at least). You have said it all, Martin, and I suspect answered on behalf of all bloggers. You hit the nail on the head with your pen and squared the sunny circle.
Haha – I think you may be right (I’ll remember to change the questions if I ever ask you for a guest post Alan 😉 )
A wonderful post, Martin! Your (virtual) friendship and your blogs are among the rewards my own blogging has brought me.
Here’s to the blogosphere Vicki 😉 thanks for stopping by.
Nice to read your thoughts on blogging, Martin. I really like hearing why other people blog.
It is fascinating isn’t it Fran – such a wide variety of reasons but also much commonality, particularly among writers and artists etc.,
Thanks for this intro, Gabrielle – Martin’s blog looks very interesting as does Poetry-24 – I like what Martin said about being “a lazy/easily distracted writer” and have also found blogging to be an immense help in getting some structure and discipline going on this front
Same here bluebee (lazy and easily distracted are my middle names 😉 ) – you should give Poetry24 a go some time!
I struggle to believe Martin’s a lazy writer! He seems to post regularly, and I for one, usually read what he’s written and agree with most of it. Trouble is, he writes far better than I can!
Thanks for stopping by Martin Lower – I think you may be right 😉 (not that lazy anyway).
Martin has skilfully answered your questions and equally skilfully has, I think touched on the reasons most of us blog. He is absolutely correct in saying that we really experience human interaction. In fact, I think that’s why most of us keep coming back to it; it fills a social void for many of us who reveal that introverted side when they shut off their computers.
For my part, I return to Martin’s blog again and again because it is intelligent, thought-provoking and susbstantial.
P.S. Gabrielle, is that an Irish Wolfhound, or a Lurcher in your photo?
Hi Kat – thanks for stopping by – I agree with all you say. That is my dog Jazz who (believe it or not) is a labradoodle (her coat was recently trimmed when that photo was taken by my little girl). Here is a link to other photos of her (with her woolly coat a bit longer) https://gabriellebryden.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/labradoodle/
Another brilliant guest post… man, I need more time to read all of the wonderful writers out there!
Thanks Graham – there’s never enough time (but at least blog posts are quite short, so can fit a lot in a short time frame 😉 )
Hear hear. I couldn’t agree more. Martin has an excellent blog. I’ve been reading it over the weekend!
Thanks Selma – he has a fun blog, that’s for sure 🙂
Martin’s use of his blogging to organize his thoughts — the “chunking” — resonates with me rather much. I, too, find that blogging helps me think about things, to organize my thoughts through writing, and becomes a creative vehicle along the lines of “what if.” Sometimes is through writing that I decide to do something because the act of writing revealed it to me.
I agree Aletha – blogging is a great tool for organisation as well as inspiration.