The longest essay I ever wrote while at school ran to something like twenty pages. I don't remember whether I was in the fifth form or the lower sixth but I know that the essay was geography homework. Being geography (my favourite subject - or maybe the subject I disliked least) it was probably illustrated fairly liberally with maps and diagrams. I didn't cheat by using big writing,but there was probably a fair amount of drivel padding it out - a bit like this blog, really. I don't think I got a particularly good mark either, maybe a B-. That was the only time I can remember any of my essays stretching beyond four or five pages but with that one I just had this strange compulsion to keep writing.
That compulsion lay dormant again for many years until I decided to produce a composite diary of the Lions' Shoebox Appeal trip to Bosnia. It settled down again after that. Until after I retired. Since then it has come back with a vengeance. Not only have I written two books (no, they haven't and won't make it onto the best seller lists) and produced the monthly newsletter for Brighton Lions for six years, but I also have the compulsion to post something on this blog every day. I know it won't matter if I miss out a few days here and there - in fact, it won't matter if I don't post anything ever again - and what I do post is hardly Earth-shattering - grief, it's not even that interesting - but I just have to do it.
The one blessing is that nobody has to bother to read it, unlike my poor geography teacher all those years ago.