Sunday, February 25, 2007

All Kinds of Everything

People can sometimes be dismissive at the very mention of the word blog: "what for and how do you find the time?" And to be honest, when people ask me what this blog is about — as somebody did last week — I'm never quite sure how to answer. My life / this and that / things I'm interested in, all sound lame and inadequate.

I don't want to go all meta on you, but as often happens, elements of possible answers suggested themselves over the following days mostly in random things I'd been reading. I serve these snippets up to you fragmented and raw, with no synthesis or mashing together to create a more coherent answer than the title of the Dana song above.
If you are on of those who still think of weblogs as "online diaries" or, as Tony Blair's former chief policy adviser Matthew Taylor put it ...that they are merely packed with a "shrill discourse of demands" and "a perpetual state of self-righteous rage", then you have evidently been reading the wrong ones. (TLS)
Gunn has two young daughters... and she finds that she cannot contemplate shutting a study door on them. Instead, she wishes to situate herself at a desk on the landing where she can hear everything, "the clattering, the quiet, the doorbell, the calls for help, "Mum! Mummy!" And on her landing, she decides, she will "make a different kind of writing altogether... A genre that at this moment doesn't even exist." 44 Things is the result of this manifesto: 44 pieces, one for each year she's lived - snatched from her domestic life...all of which arise from the textures and priorities of her life at home, which, she says, "is a good life, an interesting life and deserves to be written about." (Scottish Review of Books)
Decca was a natural letter writer. Born at a time when it was usual to spend part of every day writing letters, into a family for whom letters were a crucial means of communication, she wrote constantly: to her many friends, ... to her husband and children, whenever she was apart from them; to strangers who wrote to her; and to her editor, Robert Gottlieb. Her letters, in which memories of the past and particularly her childhood returned again and again, are direct, full of energy and laughter. TLS
...all take writing seriously, and hence feel the need to highlight the significance of diaristic writing to ward off the charge of futility, navel-gazing and irrelevance diairists have long been the butt of. .... Writing thus becomes a way of taming the formlessness of experience, a formlessness which prefigures that of death. (V. Serfaty)


Appy Linguist said...

For me it's mainly about the comments - it's a community. True, I don't know most of the commenters - but that's unimportant. It's about communicating. A blog without comments and commenters would now mean nothing to me. On the whole, I've got over the basic diary phase, I think.

Wendz said...

Yes I am with AL above..I too have got over the general 'daily log' of my life.

I write about one or two incidents because they meant something to me and its good to record them...I also find that my writing is constantly improving the more I blog...I try and follow the 'rules' for good writing - and at this point some of them are second nature and I don't even think about them or use them consciously anymore.

I love writing - I love sharing anecdotes and making people smile or think....I enjoy the comments for the interaction, not for the numbers or attention.

And the best bit is that the world has opened up to me, I learn things about other cultures that I didn't know... and I have made some very good friends who have become more than virtual pals and have taken on their flesh and blood form too!

Lesley said...

AP and Wendz: Yes, I agree, it's all about the comments. Later on in that last ref, I read this: "The inclusion of readers' comments [etc] conform with Mikhail Bakhtine's concept of polyphony which identifies the co-presence of multiple, often contradictory discourses within the same text, without any possibility of the of these discourses being unified by a single subjectivity."
What a polyphonous lot we are!

Nancy McKeand said...

Having just gone through this discussion with my mother (In her defense, she is 80!), I know what you mean. Blogging, to me, is community. It is also my space, my moment in a busy day.

I don't think it matters what we write about as long as we are writing. Some of us have a kind of narrowly focused blog while others of us write all over the place. Both are, to me, quite valid.

I always enjoy reading your blog, Lesley. Thanks for writing.

Lucy said...

Yes, I feel quite impatient with people's incomprehension and 'where do you find the time?' attitude; as they are often quite capable of spending their time on TV, magazines, telephone conversations etc that I don't feel have any more intrinsic worth...
But then I didn't get it until I got it, and I quite like having this world as separate from my everyday, flesh and blood contacts, so I don't mind if they aren't too curious.
It seems to me that the forms of letter writing, journalling ( of the more open less intimate kind), essay writing and poetry which people were until recently mourning the decline of are un dergoing something of a revival in this form.
I love the comments and interaction, and they are essential, but must beware of needing that attention too much, and try to value a few faithful and thoughtful friends over the ego trip of wanting a big readership. I won't get a site meter for this reason.
Good to meet you!

Lesley said...

Nancy and Lucy: Yes, perhaps it's just as much about having a public space for writing as about the comments. Exteriorisation followed by gratification.