Tuesday, June 03, 2008

That's my boy!

I have noticed a a sense of ennui around the blogs recently; a feeling that some people are struggling to think of things to write about while others, once prolific, are not writing at all. Then we have the blogger's angst, the 'why am I doing this?' or 'why are my stats falling?' and 'does any of it matter anyway?' that besets us all at some time.

Yesterday, even Bryan Appleyard, was pondering on the 'obsessive absurdity' of blogging. He links to a poem called The Blogger's Lament written way back in 2006 for The Daily Duck by Brit, aka my son, Andrew. I've had an interesting time following all those links, revisiting my own early days of blogging and seeing the names of old correspondents I haven't spoken to in a while.

Some blogs never change, especially those devoted to politics and/or religion, where the writers are so certain of their ground that there is no point in offering an alternative opinion. Visiting some of those blogs two years on, I see the same unshakeable views being expressed and I wonder what has been the point of it all? No-one has learned anything from anyone else, no-one has really communicated. I prefer the self-contradiction that Bryan Appleyard identifies in his own blogging history. To change one's views shows an openness to other opinions and a willingness to learn, so I hope Thought Experiments will continue to 'contain multitudes.'

On a lighter note, I think it is not only possible but also desirable to hold contradictory views. How awful to be utterly predictable: no surprises, no shocks, no excitement in life. No random distractions! Isn't variety meant to spice life up a bit? Robert Herrick thought so:

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace, which here and here
Enthrals the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly:
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when Art
Is too precise in every part.


  1. Excellent poem by your Boy. And I particularly liked the comment on the Appleyard piece by 'Nige': "Blogging, it seems to me, positively demands self-contradiction, bad moods and good moods, dark and light, different voices, radical uncertainty. Blogs are writ on water." How very true.

    Thank you for a very timely and pertinent post, M.

  2. Oh, so you're Brit's mum! I didn't realize that until now.

    "I see the same unshakeable views being expressed and I wonder what has been the point of it all? No-one has learned anything from anyone else, no-one has really communicated."

    Such short time horizons! I thought the British were more patient than that. In my opinion, the important point is whether the efforts pay off in decades, centuries, or millennia. That's the time frame I'm looking at.

  3. Yes, J, I think Nige's comment was spot-on, too. "writ on water" would make an excellent title for a blog.

  4. Hello, Bret. I thought everyone knew I was Brit's mum.

    My time horizons may or may not be limited, my boredom threshold certainly is! I love to read a well presented argument but not the same one endlessly regurgitated. Not that I'm suggesting you are guilty of such a thing!

  5. And no doubt any number of people currently writing their MA dissertations - or thinking about possible subject matter - are having ah-ha moments about blogging and bloggers as in the social psychology of, the history of, the science of, dee dah dee dah dee dah . Who knows, at some time in the dim, distant future, someone will stumble across a reference to a long forgotten blogger and think 'Huh?'

    OK M, you can see what sort of mood I'm in this morning . . . but you're right about evidence of struggle. I suspect that the vast majority of blogs have a limited shelf-life, especially those written by people who unfamiliar with the demands of having to come up word and ideas fresh (although maybe not smelling of roses) every 24 hours or so. For this reason - and like you - I don't limit myself to subject matter. But I certainly don't expect, and can't imagine, banging on ad infinitum.

  6. D, I have always imagined that people like you and J and all those others who 'work in words' everyday, use your blogs as a sort of recreational, unrestricted outlet for your ideas and interests.

    I started blogging when I retired and was terrified of becoming isolated in this rural corner of England. I've 'met' really interesting people from all over the world via the blogs, some with already shared interests and some who have inspired me to look in new directions. My world has certainly grown as a result and I hope it will continue to do so. That's why my favourite blogs are those where I never know what I'll be reading about next.

    I hope 60goingon16 won't be disappearing any time soon. I am looking forward to 70goingon17 and the rest!

  7. A decade or more of blogging, that sounds a bit scary, M. Or maybe I'll be able to post without even thinking about it by then . . .

  8. Great poem!
    A pity I find Bryan Appleyard quite overly-opinionated in his journalism...
    I get those ennui moments, and just have to admit to them and wait for inspiration to hit. Or just post some pretty pictures!

  9. We all get those moments, if we're honest, Simon. At least you have your super sketches to fall back on; they are actually very much in the style of my Boy's sketches. His portrait of me, drawn from memory when he was at university, graces my profile.


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