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We arrived early at the Estadio Nacional in order to claim a good seat, quickly losing patience as person after person jumped the metal railings in unashamed disregarded of the queue. As four ‘gringos’ we were reluctant to try the same tack, but our irritation got the better of us and we skipped on through with a thrill of adrenaline.

 Honduras, as with all Latin America, takes its football very seriously. The atmosphere before the League final in capital city, Tegucigalpa, was frenetic.

We claimed a spot in the middle of the concrete terracing with a reasonable view and no reprieve from the midday sun. The stadium filled up with red, white and blue. And up and up, crammed far beyond capacity. The final was a showdown between Tegucigalpa home team, Olimpia, and Real España of second city San Pedro Sula. Only a handful of España fans had dared make the trip, the Honduran League notorious for supporter violence.

 The match kicked off and even I, far from aficionado, found the level of skill displayed underwhelming. But that mattered nothing. The season ticket stand was an inferno, chants and fists thrown to the air unceasingly. Boy vendors leapt between terraces selling beers, plantain chips, and 5 Lempira bags of water. Boisterous onlookers pelted the policemen encircling the pitch with empty cans. Occasionally they would spot a culprit and two officers would stride up the stands and eject the offender. Mexican waves did the rounds. Olimpia scored and supporters threw their hands to the sky, beers, hot dogs and all.

Ninety minutes up and with a score of 1-1, the anticipation surged on into extra time. Olimpia scored again, the crowd roared again, the final whistle blew, the crowd exulted!

 Exiting the estadio, hawkers still a-hawking, we were thrilled to have witnessed like locals this celebration of our adopted city, and unimaginably relieved by the prospect of emptying bladders painfully full with the beer that had seemed so irresistible in the baking sun.

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This was my entry for the World Nomads/Rough Guides travel writing competition the other week. I’m not particularly happy with it, though it does fit the remit and that particular vein of travel writing. I’m never particularly happy with anything I produce so I suppose I shouldn’t take too much from that.  I do, however, think it superior to some of last year’s wank entries.

Two things to note:

– It was alarmingly difficult to think of an interesting episode which didn’t involve some kind of wrong-doing, miscreancy, or terror.

– The amount of detail which my brain has let go of over these short years is astounding. Stories that I wrote at the time are filled with minute observations and occurrences of which I now have no recollection. Oh how I have abused this grey matter of mine…

On the plus side, it has made me think about writing again and I think I’ll rework some old tales. With this as a starting point, I might begin with a series of Honduras pieces, incorporating my work from Spanish class last term which I promised a couple of friends I would translate.

But Time, I have given you all away…

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When I go to write a post that starts as a fleeting thought in my mind, it invariably ends up as something bordering on an essay as I think of more and more aspects to add. I’ve always suffered from this – my uni essays were without fail ludicrously over word limit. I find myself thinking of things to write about, and then not doing it cause I know it’ll end up taking hours of my time. That’s clearly not productive, so as a challenge to myself I’m going to try writing more often but less. Let’s see how this goes…

On a personal level, writing has traditionally been a source of catharsis for me, allowing me to take all the things out of my head and lay them before me for examination, clarification. Like Dumbledore’s ‘pensieve’ in Harry Potter, as a friend once pointed out.

On a practical level, I was skilled at the academic-style writing required at university, and at the journalistic writing I did at Honduras This week. But that impersonal style is not what the blog calls for; it asks for something a little more intimate, something from the pensieve, taking me into an uncomfortable arena…

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Blogging is inherently personal, but I am not inclined to sharing information from the inside – not even with close friends, unless provoked. Since my current audience is likely only people I know, how much should I let you in?

The narcissism of it bothers me as well. How arrogant to think that anyone should care to know me or what I have to say? But then, that surely has to be an accepted truth of any writing. Blogging is merely an amplification of this in the post-modern culture of ephemera and individualism (are we still in the post-modern era? Have we moved on? I’m not sure).

Being given to perfectionism, in other spheres of writing spending days on a paragraph alone, or weeks editing a piece (there is always swathes of gumph to be deleted), the blog is again anathema, it’s ephemeral, unperfected nature like some over-confident teenager. But I must remember it is just that – ephemera, and whatever imperfections I post will soon be lost and forgotten…

If I am to improve and explore as a writer, I must overcome these anxieties. If I am to temper my tendency for introspection, my over-enthusiasm for the comma, my often unnecessary wordiness, I have to put things out there, test them.

Welcome to my pensieve…