top of page

Afterthoughts and postscripts

"I work with language. I love the flowers of afterthought."

Bernard Malamud

I'm not sure I'm confident enough to say I work with language, or that I love my afterthoughts - the things I forgot to say or show, or include or to simply add to what I have said before. But I do have afterthoughts.

And it's a bit of a dilemma to know what to do about them. I mean this is a trivial blog. The people that read it - the hardy few - are not going to be reading a particular post again. Why would you? This is not Tolstoy or Shakespeare. There are no hidden meanings, or beautiful phrases to consider and enjoy or write in your little book of quotes. So it seems a bit pointless to go back and add the things that I should have added in the first place. I guess there might be a few people who would benefit, those who don't read them straightaway but not many. So on the whole I tend to just mentally shrug my shoulders and forget about it.

Forgetting about it is in fact why some of my thoughts actually become afterthoughts. I found various quotes that said the same thing in slightly different words - if you have forethought, there will be no afterthoughts. Not true. Not that I plan my posts a lot, but I do think about them as I walk through Eltham, or as I gather my pictures, and quotes and recipes for the post I am about to write. I generally have a vague idea of what I aim to include. And then I forget about them. Two recent trivial examples - one more trivial than the other. In my article on the chef's hat I meant to briefly observer that the word chef in French means chief or boss. And as the chief of a tribe or business, was invariably male it is yet another instance of the need of males to denote their power in some way. I did actually go back snd add that to the post but it was more to satisfy me than anything.

The other was that I meant to finish my article on father's day with this, not very good photo of my father and his children - me on the right. (Look - I used to be blonde.) And then I was going to dedicate the post to him. He was a good dad even though absent for large chunks of my childhood. I never really noticed that - mostly because of my mother's excellent handling of this fact that he was mostly on a boat at sea far, far away. So belatedly here it is.

And then there are the occasions where my post is talking about something I am about to cook that night, or am thinking about cooking in the future. I really ought to comment on how it turned out and maybe even post a picture. And occasionally I have added a postscript to this effect. But really, once again, it's for me really.

It's a bit frustrating when you find you have missed something out. It's something to do with the nature of blogging, and also the nature of my writing. I guess I have always tended to leave the writing of essays to the last minute, and whilst I might have done the required research I have generally not planned it all out very carefully, and I certainly don't go back and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite. And that is definitely true of this blog - I just ramble along, putting down whatever comes into my head at that moment. They may be flowers, as in the very appealing silhouette at the top of the page, but they are weeds. They might be weeds - dandelions in this case - at their most beautiful and ethereal - the puffball stage - but weeds nonetheless. I wonder is there anywhere in the world that dandelions are not considered to be weeds? Does anyone grow them as a crop? After all their leaves are perfectly edible and you can make wine from the flowers.

Missing something out is rather like coming up with the perfect retort to some denigrating remark that somebody might have made (I'm talking teenage here), ages after the event. Pointless - nobody to pay attention. So I guess I'll just go on occasionally adding those afterthoughts and postscripts to no real purpose - unless somebody else has a better idea.

And anyway:

"Every thought is an afterthought." Hannah Arendt


Related Posts

See All



bottom of page