The Nature of Blog

I've had this post about Freedom sitting in the queue for weeks now, needing to be tied together, edited, and published. I haven't looked at it since I wrote the first draft in a frenzy of undergrad-like motif spotting. Which is often what I do here; write tiny, not-great undergrad papers. Partially I do this because I'm not sure how else to write about books; I don't know how to write a real review, though I do respect those who can. I feel like I don't have enough adjectives. I also don't just want to rehash those reviews. I want to bring something else to the table. With the Freedom post, I feel like I've caught onto something that reviewers missed, but I've written about it on such an elementary academic level, I'm a little hesitant about putting it up. Because, who cares, really? This is a blog, not a class. I've been told that the way I write about books can sometimes be difficult for the reader, because it relies so much on familiarity with the text. That's a fair assessment, and I don't deny it. Again, it's just my default of writing papers, something I enjoyed a lot, but haven't done for a grade in ten years.

I know I just need to write, for the practice. I find that my more successful blog posts (successful meaning interesting, insightful, thoughtful, maybe funny) have been written without too much thought. They were initial reactions, with a little research, maybe a couple pull quotes. This makes sense, when I think about how I wrote all those A papers: the night before, or the day they were due, from scratch. I'm good under pressure, good on my feet, better off-the-cuff. So I have to endeavour to do that; not over-think, just write.

One of the problems I'm encountering, with just getting it down, is the weird editorial board I seem to have contracted. I do advertise new blog posts on my Twitter, and almost every time the first commentary I get is a spelling, punctuation, or grammar correction. (It's always a man, not always the same man, that does this. I don't know what to make of that precisely, but I don't think it's just a coincidence*.) When I posted about Fauna a Twitter pal immediately launched into refutation mode, citing books written about Calgary. When I angrily suggested he was missing the whole point of the post, he admitted he hadn't even read it, he was just commenting on the title. And then I made this face: >_<

I started this blog, like so many do, because I simply love books. Reading is integral to my personhood. Boyfriend put new shelves up for me the other day and now I can see a small percentage of my books from my bed, and I'm filled with a sense of comfort and happiness every time I look at them. So I started writing here because I wanted to talk about books. Then I quit talking about books for a while. Then I wanted to talk about them again. My model has always been Pickle Me This**, and though I know I'll never be half the reader or writer Kerry is, the way she writes about living with books, not only about their content, is something I strongly identify with. I wish I could post multiple times a week, but I just don't have the content in me. I want to post about everything I read, but I never do. Sometimes I just have nothing to say about a book, like A Visit From the Goon Squad, which I just finished, enjoyed a lot, and then put away. What's to say? Egan is amazing. The end.

Thanks to Kerry, I'm currently reading Ex Libris. If she is "startlingly unoriginal in loving Anne Fadiman’s books of essays, not to mention about a decade late" then I'm not sure what rock I've been living under to have never heard of them till now. Fadiman and I agree on a lot of things: a well-used book is a loved book, annotating is a good thing, finding unexpected bits of paper in a book is a joy (I love when people leave their library slips in books, so I can see what else they've read), and so forth. I do envy Fadiman her hyper-intellectual upbringing, I'm a little annoyed with how often she name drops Mark Helprin, and I'd probably stab myself in my eye if a friend ever said the following to me:
I had repaired to the King's Arms, the pub closest to the Bodleian Library, with a fellow student, a dashing but bullheaded young Scotsman who proclaimed over coffee that Homer was vastly inferior to Virgil. As a Homeric partisan, I was much miffed[.]
I'm hoping this is a caricature, but even still, I don't find it an endearing one. Anyway, I'm mostly positive about Ex Libris, because it does what I want to do here: discuss how books shape my life, how I interact with them, how they make me feel, how I react, where they lead me, how their physicality touches me, and how reading is now -- and will ever be -- the most important thing in my life. The writing comes much further down the list.

*I'm sure I'm going to catch shit for reporting this, in this way, but it's the truth. No woman has ever (metaphorically) fallen upon me shouting "Oxford comma!" If pointing out errors is seen as a way to enter into the discussion, without having a literary framework, that's a flawed approach.
**I'm sure I've said this before, several times probably.
Really, who talks like this?! I sort of thought, "Well, if she's maybe British..." but no, the friend is American. If accurate, this is inexcusable affectation.


Kerry C. said...

See, I knew I had to talk about Fadiman, that it would be of service to a fellow reader. And fuck yes about the pedants-- I've got twitter "pals" like that as well, and it's really annoying. And I feel like saying, If you're so smart and I'm such a moron, why do you hang on every (online) move I make??? Shouldn't you be out geniusing, or at least drinking port somewhere and not having sex?

I like your blog. And your new shelves.

Elixxir said...

I leave my library slips in my book. I thought I was being lazy and it turns out I'm a humanitarian!!

Panic said...