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December 2010
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February 2011

The dog who made this blog possible

2010 was a rollercoaster year for me professionally – busy, trying yet rewarding – but as it was coming to an end, most all I could think about was how lucky I am to be alive.

As I start 2011 it's with an immense feeling of gratitude to all the people who've helped me over the last 17 years, who've helped get where I am to today – and, of course, to the dog who made it all possible.

See, if I'm ever to write my autobiography it would start on the third day of Christmas 1993. On the night when I was was left to die next to a deserted forest road by a hit-and-run driver, a male stripper who later served time for murder.

If my dog hadn't managed to stop a passing car, and alert the driver to my whereabouts and predicament, I wouldn't have been here today.

I have no memory of the car hitting me or the stuff that happened afterwards, so no matter how many times I've gone over what I since learned about that night it's still very surreal to me. I do remember waking up in the hospital some time later though, in January 1994, and being told something which amounted to how my life probably was over.

I was 17 at the time and was told, not only had I had a near brush with death, I would also have to lie still for three years, quit school and all activities, until the doctors knew for sure whether I had sustained life-crippling injuries.

As if lying still for three years at that age in itself wouldn't be life-crippling.

So I ran away, figuratively speaking.

I moved to a school which allowed me to graduate on schedule despite all the time I'd spent in hospital, and later fled the country when coping with the driver's insurance company and the legal battle became too much.

I was adamant that I'd prove the doctors wrong; adamant I'd not let the legal battles break me; adamant I would not allow the accident change my life in any way.

And now, 17 years later, I find it changed everything and has entirely shaped my life.

Yes, I've proved the naysayers wrong. No, it didn't break me.

But most of what I've done for the last 17 years has been in response to the chain of events and reactions the accident sat in motion - which, I'd hasten to add, is not entirely a bad thing. Far from.

Just deeply ironic.

There are so many wonderful people I think it highly unlikely I'd ever have met if it wasn't for that accident. Places I might never have visited, countries I might never have lived in, life lessons I might never have learned.

Okay, there are experiences I could've done without. I'd never whished a similar ordeal on anyone else, but looking back I find more and more that I have so much to be grateful for.

As it happens, I was not very grateful right after the accident.

Amnesia made it seem too surreal, and at the same time, when I was weaker and more vulnerable than I'd ever been, I was forced to be inhumanely strong when dealing with the hospital, the insurance company, the trial etc.

More than anything I felt angry and scared in the first years after the accident. Angry that I'd been deprived of my freedom of movement, and possibly future; scared that the doctors were right - both strong feelings that motivated me for a large part in the years after the accident.

It motivated me to the point where I thought at some stage that I have now tried to use both anger and fear as fuel, both, albeit effective in the short term, have their downsides, so how about trying something else? Say enjoyment? Funnily enough, it's easy to forget that is an option if you get too busy just surviving.

It seems crazy looking back at it, but it's also good to know that all that drama is in the past, and in many respects is ancient history by now.

I literally hit 2010 running, working crazy but fun hours while being mostly on the road. In September, another crazy but fun month, I found myself a proper home for the first time in a long time. I now rent a flat in an old wooden house from 1700.

I have apple trees outside the window, a fire place in the kitchen, and it is ever so quiet here. Not literally, but there's a peace about this place, a sense of calm, which daily amazes me.

So when I fell ill over Christmas I had all this peace and quiet to think back and feel grateful both that the past is past, and for being right here, right now. That's a good note to end on I think.

Tomorrow's another day with deadlines to be met, stuff to do, albeit in the most wonderfully, peaceful surroundings for the most part. More about media, work and stuff will just have to follow later. I'm very aware it's been awfully quite on this blog as of late - I will try to improve on that in 2011.

In the meantime, here's my unlikely hero (now long gone):



"Internt verbiage is now entirely sufficient for me"

Food for thought: my own media habits have changed in a somewhat different direction than Brian's as find myself consuming more and more of my news on the iPad, but there's still universal insights here worth contemplating:

"What seems to be happening is that many are now willing to pay pennies to read professional media stuff, on their iPads and iPhones and Google-Android equivalents. How much of a real business this will turn into remains to be seen. Very big but very different from the recent past would be my current guess...

"...Meanwhile, all those who, like me, want also to write about it (whatever it might be) and to link to other writings about it will continue to want free stuff. It's absolutely not - or not only - that we amateurs are cheap. The key is linkage. If we can't say to everyone reading our own free stuff: hey, have a read of this (no link there because that is my exact point), there is, for us amateur writers, no point in us reading it either.

"Another way of putting all this is to say that whereas it used to be that the Mainstream Media were … the mainstream media, while us internetters all lived in our dusty little caves of off-message opinion, gibbering and cursing with only our closest friends, now it is the pay-as-you-read ex-mainstream media who will be the ones living, if not in caves, then at least indoors, so to speak, and hence ever more cut off from "public" opinion. Think: Palace of Versailles. That this switch is already happening explains a lot about the current state of politics, worldwide..."

Oh, and few but Brian could have me voluntarily read about cricket, the topic of blog post these quotes are taken from.