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Recursion (blogging about blogging)

3 February, 2018 (18:29) | Archived Blog | By: Ian Burdon

I’ve mentioned previously that the excellent Malcy converted the files for my old blog so I could post them here. And I have posted one or two of the very earliest entries. The main reason I’ve ground to a halt, aside from sloth, is that other things have taken my time.

But they’re not the only reasons.

Elena Ferrante is one of the many writers I have on my mental list of people I must read, but haven’t. I have, though, been reading her weekly pieces for the Guardian, the most recent of which is in today’s paper. 

In it she writes

In fact, as soon as that new writing gained ground, I threw away my diaries. I did it because the writing seemed crude, without worthwhile thoughts, full of childish exaggerations and, above all, far removed from how I now remembered my adolescence. Since then, I’ve no longer felt the need to keep a diary.

Something of the same thought is in my mind about the old blog posts: although they still have value to me, and I can see a reason to post them all here for the sake of continuity, many of the older posts seem to me to be badly written and gauche. Of course, there are only half a dozen people read this thing, at most, so it’s hardly a serious dilemma; but a dilemma nonetheless.

Comments

Comment from Malcolm Jeffrey
Time February 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Ian !

in considering this reply, please cast from your mind the many hours of tortuous VBA coding I had to craft in order to Burdonate your old posts into a readable format, and thus the effort expended to provide several carefully reformatted years of output should in no way sway you should you decide not to use them. It may make it easier for you if I add that it was fun to write, I like programming anyway, I was happy to help and it didn’t take too long to do, honestly.

I think you need to just evaluate what your blog is for. I assume that it’s immaterial to you whether you have a huge (or even existing) audience or not – like playing Jake Thackray songs in your kitchen, it’s its own reward. So you only have to decide what it’s for, and you’ll probably resolve your own dilemma. If it’s a collection of essays, then you are free to pick and choose the essays and even vary them in theme or content, but it doesn’t seem to me that this is what you do with your corner of the web. If it’s a diary, even if a sporadically kept one, then is it intended to mark your development as a thinking, maturing individual over time and share that progression ? (in which case post them, warts and all) – or are you only intent on people seeing your thoughts if they have passed some personal standard ?

Maybe an analogy would help. If they were photos, would you bin all the black and white ones, the ones taken on Polaroid or Kodak Instamatic and only keep the colour ones or ones taken with a DSLR ? After all, a younger, more gauche blog posting is only the analogous equivalent of a faded picture of you in a tin bath in front of the fire, or one of your first efforts at framing a family holiday photo in 1967 which came out wonky and overexposed. Would you want us to see them for what they show as historical documents or for their technical competence ?

As for Elena Ferrante :

I kept a diary for maybe 25 years, and although I occasionally find the odd diary entry that I find wildly different from my thinking as a 50-something chap, I would no more bin my old diaries earlier than some arbitrary cut-off date, than eat one of my toes. Ditto with my earliest photos taken on a b&w Polaroid Swinger II from 1971 till the day 10 years later when I bought a Chinon CA-4 SLR out of my first grant cheque while at Leicester Poly (I bought a Trucker bass amp out of my second year’s grant cheque…) There are times when I look at an old photo or read an old diary entry and a wave of complex emotions and memories wash over me that I would never get from any other source. But that’s just me.

Malcy

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