March 27, 2009

BLOG OFF!


No! No! No! Twitter ye not, as the late, great Frankie Howerd used to say! This is serious. Why do we blog? Is it a case of narcissism - gazing into that blogospheric pool and feeding on the reflection like literary crack? Or is it because we have something really, really important to communicate?

Perhaps the answer (if there is one) lies somewhere inbetween. We write because it takes us further. Because we mix memories with fantasies and weave them into something new. Because we sometimes feel profound, at other times shallow, thoughts and reproduce them afresh. Because we don't want to forget but rather collect. We write because it gives us pleasure. And, we hope others too.

As a jobbing blogger myself, I couldn’t possibly comment on the latter point. However, I can attest to the huge pleasure - and inspiration - derived from following the luminaries of the blogosphere. The stars of the stars, as it were.

Whom do I mean? Well, take a look stage right. All the links listed there give me - and countless others - huge pleasure. And continue to do so with each post. A roll call ranging from Iain Dale’s Diary, Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, Backwards in High Heels, Belgian Waffle, Mrs Trefusis, Wife in the North, Libertylondongirl, Life happens between Books, Letters into the Ether, Jacob Wrestling, So Lovely, Really Should Know Better, The Sartorialist, Whistling, Katyboo1 to Tom Watson MP.

And as the incomparable Frankie Howerd might have put it, "Ooh, blogging? What a carry on"!

FOOTNOTE: Far easier, of course, to list the reasons not to blog. More in next post!

12 comments:

Tania Kindersley said...

Blushing with pleasure at being given shout out on yr lovely blog. It is very new thing for me, and I was too unsure of the point. Things about it that give me most delight: sense of community (have been taken up by incredibly interesting and generous group of bloggers) and just general interesting conversation.

As for narcissism: suppose that all writing involves an element of that. But I suspect that those who use it as a knee-jerk criticism do not read the good blogs. They are attacking blogging as an idea rather than a reality. Or am I fooling myself?

Charlie Circus@So Lovely said...

Well aren't you LOVELY. I must admit I have been a little bit of tortoise or is that snail, the last couple of days.
I think my blogging comes in fits and starts but I do love it. For me, its an escape from my profession. When I started I was confused as to how it all worked, but then I let that go and now it is really whatever falls into my mind.

Late Developer said...

I am astounded to be included in such a list, thank you for your generosity. I am still a beginner and I don't find it easy, but it is liberating and the pleasure derived from getting a response to a post is frankly unparalleled. From my perspective, blogging equates to sanity, to letting thoughts out in a quiet format.

Nora Johnson said...

Tania: Very many thanks for the kind words AND the link to your esteemed blog. Oops, I'm blushing now, too, at joining such hallowed company!

In answer to your query, I suspect that those who criticise blogging are secretly envious: they either can't or won't write themselves and so feel disempowered, disenfranchised. Perhaps, though, I'm being overly cynical and taking amateur psychology a tad too far...

As for me, blogging has provided a survival kit to sanity. Years ago I lived in LA - far from friends, relatives and London's cultural treats. If only blogging had been an option then - a communication lifeline to the world outside!

Based now in Andalucia (living on on the edge of Europe as it were), I don't feel that same degree of isolation thanks to all the wonderful contacts I've made in this little corner of the blogosphere we all inhabit.

In any event, I'm certain Backwards will figure in the next "Hundred Top Blogs" list! So, Tania & Sarah, take a (well-deserved) bow!

I've really enjoyed this chat over the virtual fence - do drop by again soon!

Nora Johnson said...

Charlie Circus: Thank you, too, for your kind words and link to your blog which (I'm glad nobody can see me -I can't stop blushing!) I really enjoy. Each post is worth the wait.

I agree that blogging is an escape from one's profession. My only regret is not having had the facility years ago in LA where my main escape from work was hiking in the canyons and mountains - Santa Monica & San Gabriel - and parks (Will Rogers comes to kind). I believe walking helped keep me sane!

I've really enjoyed reminiscing about LA and look forward to seeing you here again!

P.S. Is it still O.K. to hike in the mountains like I used to do?

Nora Johnson said...

Late Developer: Ditto for the kind words and your generosity in providing a link to your blog which is always so absorbing.

I agree that blogging is an antidote to insanity, a sort of Prozac of the airwaves. For me, it fills a deep need to reach out to others, peeling away the layers of isolation, frustration, stress, whatever, as from a virtual onion.

Once again, many thanks and I hope to see you back here again!

Miss Whistle said...

I blogged for so long in isolation (what a ridiculous thought), but to hear the love is absolutely transporting. Thank you! And as for narcissm, I think it might just come with the territory. Your generosity is infectious.

pinklea said...

As a fairly new recruit to the world of blogging myself, I have to say that I do it because I love to write. I don't know if I'm particularly good at it or if I have anything remotely interesting to say, but I truly enjoy it. I think I would still do it even if nobody else read my posts. I also quite like discovering new blogs (like yours!) that give me a appealing window into another way of life.

Nora Johnson said...

Miss Whistle:
It thrills me you are reading the blog and commenting on it; when I started, I thought I would be shouting into the void - likewise in deep isolation.

For me, blogging is a public diarising of my private thoughts: a collision of public and private worlds (if that doesn't sound TOO pretentious!)

Many thanks for the link & I look forward to seeing you here again!

P.S. Do give my regards to LA. I miss Santa Monica & Venice beaches! I often wonder if they've changed much.

Nora Johnson said...

Pinklea:
Once again, very many thanks for reading and commenting on my blog! We all have our different interests and experiences -dictated, to a large degree in my case, by a change in location from the hustle-bustle of London to, well, the rather different lifestyle of Andalucia.

A fresh and, hopefully, interesting take on life is what I aim at here (but, in my view, singularly fail to achieve!)

I do hope you drop by here again. Take care.

P.S. When I lived in LA, we occasionally used to visit close relatives in Vancouver. A terrific trip up Grouse Mountain and a meal in Gastown stand out for me! Ah, what memories...

Titian red said...

Gosh!, wow!, crikey! she said channeling her inner Boris Johnson, on second thoughts that sounds horribly wrong please ignore (the only real similarity is bad hair and a tendency to waffle), thank you so much for the nod. I am extremely flattered, especially bearing in mind those you list me with.
I blog because I love rambling on, and discovering other people on the same path as me - very reassuring !
Again thank you and I look forward to reading your past musings

Nora Johnson said...

Titian Red: Just popped by to say many thanks for your kind thoughts and perceptive observations. And I always thought I alone was channelling Boris, my namesake - bless his hair & ramblings!

I'm off now to peruse further your site which looks particularly delectable. Anyone with a penchant for grunge AND Titian gets my vote... !