Saturday, 4 January 2014

Defining terms: what is a blog?

The storms continue.

An interesting discussion on the nature of a blog: what is a blog? What is this blog? It is not quite a diary as it makes no attempt to be comprehensive i.e. systematically log what happened, when and how. Instead it's highly selective. It's certainly not a private diary as it's published on the internet. 

Decide that it's more of a column on a theme - if a definition has to be found.
However it does, of course, have an element of a diary - hence the title.

What makes a good diary? John Bayley, reviewingVirginia Woolf's diary 1936-41 (published in 1984) in the London Review of Books, says hers was a thin and self centred narrative....

"Katherine Mansfield writes in her journal what Virginia Woolf’s Diary continually implies: ‘I must not forget that.’ She must not forget the way the hens looked, and how the rain soaked her thin shoes. A few days before her death Virginia Woolf recorded the haddock and sausage meat. ‘I think it is true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down.’"

Good diarists: Pepys (of course), Chateaubriand,  Rousseau, Anthony Burgess, Barbara Pym (Bayley's list).

I like primitive diaries: basic logs.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy