Hello. I apologise for my little absence of late – it’s been a bit busy. For instance, on the weekend, instead of blogging, I went to an unconference about blogging. As that annoying person in your Novel and Film tute always used to say: ‘How very meta.’
The unconference was organised by Ye Olde Wheelie Bin, and there’s a post at its website that’s worth checking out; there’s some conversation going on there already. Some of my favourite people and favourite commentators were in attendance: Pat Allan, Mel Campbell, Ben Eltham, Richard Watts, Mark Holsworth, Alison Croggon, Angela Meyer, Lisa Dempster, Paul Callaghan, Nikita Vanderbyl, W.H. Chong and George Dunford (Daniel, I admit to you and everyone that I ganked this list straight from your blog – thanks!) and we all went to eat dumplings together in the middle of the day (vegan Lisa and co-optee Paul excepted), and it was all very civilised. I played my usual part of court jester-cum-naïf by telling an amusing little story, and then ate figs while everyone else discussed important things.
Not to be too glib about it, though. What impressed me was how mindful many of the attendees were of their writing practice, their aims, their ethics and the new terrain they were writing in and forging, whether in their blogging or print work. I have to admit I’ve never given my blog much thought. Since I was a wee tacker, getting up at 5 am to take advantage of the cheap internet rates (remember that time, everyone older than 25?) I’ve engaged in some form of online writing. The hallowed annals of Livejournal and Diaryland had ne’er seen the likes of it before. Hello, cryptic little epigrams and odd in-jokes with Portland, Oregon counterparts.
But the one very constant and pressing thought I’ve had since the Critical Failure panel series is that, despite the throwaway nature of this blog’s genesis (Golly! Let’s start a blog!) and despite the fact that sometimes all I do is talk about foodstuffs, what this blog enables me to do is write regularly. There you have it: modest, yes, prosaic … but true. And that weekly process of attempting to honour a reading experience by fixing it in my own words has been valuable. You only need to go back and read my first few posts to see that. Not just because what I write these days is more coherent or readable, but because I feel more steady-footed when approaching a book; I feel like reading is much more reciprocal now. See also Jo Case’s wonderful post about how blogging helped along her writing at Killings.