Competence and its conspicuous absence

A new week and I’m just off the back of too many hours crosshatching a cartoon that’s really not worth the effort. During the tedious time it takes do fill a space with horizontal, vertical and two kinds of diagonal lines, my mind strayed to thinking about competence. Specifically, I suppose, I got to thinking about my own incompetence and the competence of others.

The simple fact is that I’m constantly staggered by the genius of people. I don’t mean the people who are known to be geniuses – though, saying that, I’m staggered by the unqualified brilliance of Fiona Apple’s new album – but the ordinary people who are so very good at the things they do. Now, of course, that’s not everybody. I look around and see lots of people whose work I don’t like. And here, conversely, I don’t always mean ordinary people but the people who are known to be “geniuses”. There really are some dire people at the top of the various trees.

Simply, there’s a lot of luck involved in any game, whether it’s writing or cartooning or blogging or acting or even being an academic. Some people achieve the heights of success with a modicum of talent whilst others can be supremely good at their hobby whilst working long hours as a bus conductor.

Life isn’t fair. Which, I suppose, is why I carry on. Luck can always play a part, especially if you believe in hard work and getting better at what you practice.

Myself, I couldn’t draw to save my life years ago. These days I can cartoon with a tiny degree of competence but I’m usually a bit disappointed with the results. I can get better. I’m just beginning to worry about how many lifetimes it would take me to get to where I’d like to be.

All of the above was probably a prep talk to myself at the beginning of a new week. I honestly don’t know why I started this blog. Hardly anybody looks in and those that do don’t return. I must remember, though, it’s not about people. It’s about myself.

Sort yourself out, David. Nose to the grindstone. Keep going.

2 thoughts on “Competence and its conspicuous absence”

Leave a Reply


It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.