Thursday, 12 August 2010

Why continue to blog?

Drafted 13 June: finally uploaded 12 August

This question can only be answered by asking a preliminary question, why did I start a blog in the first place?

One reason why many people start one is to create an informal online forum where you can put forward your views and enable other people who share your interests to comment on them. In my case I was seeking to create some sort of dialogue between me and my fellow students in particular and biographers both at home and overseas.

In this I have been spectacularly unsuccessful. It appears that only one of my fellows have read what I wrote with any regularity or any appreciation. Only one comment has been added to any of the hundred-plus posts I have made to the blog over the last eight months. Nobody with whom I have contacted by e-mail with my blog address, included as a matter of course below my signature, have commented to me about it.

Another reason was to act as an incentive to me to pay close attention at group sessions so as to be able to write a summary immediately afterwards to act as an aide memoire to me and, perhaps, to my fellows. This ceased at the end of the first term when a complimentary comment about a visiting lecturer's enterprise in, first of all, finding a publisher for a biography unlikely to have wide appeal and, after that, devising ways of publicising it was taken the wrong way and I received a terse e-mail asking me to remove what I had written about the lecture.

A third reason was to provide me with a means of practicing writing coherent and reasonably lengthy pieces of text after many years of writing reasonably brief business communications. The blog served this purpose reasonably effectively for the first month or two, but I found that I soon got back into the habit of writing at length.

A final reason was that I was looking for a way of writing short pieces about episodes in my past which might later form part of an autobiography I might possibly write after finishing the course. The trouble was that these pieces did not really fit into the nature of normal blog posts, which are in the vast majority focussed on today and tomorrow but not yesterday. Then, just as only one fellow-student has commented upon the pieces about our course on my blog, so only one member of my family – and an in-law at that – has commented upon the autobiographical pieces on it. This is perhaps understandable. My surviving sibling has never used a computer: my three daughters and my wife may well have felt unease at the idea of my talking in public about some of the less happy moments in my life: thus it was that I definitively closed this strand of the blog by writing, a fortnight ago, a micro-autobiography in (precisely) a thousand words, utilising a laconic style and eschewing the first person singular pronoun in order to make the piece as unemotional and impersonal as possible.

So there really is little point in my continuing to spend time on this blog. It may be however that over the next month or two I may decide to start another one on another topic. If so, I will post its URL here.

Au revoir or adieu?

2 comments:

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