Monday, January 01, 2007

Not Blogging

'Happy New Year,' says the Partner of the Bitch, handing her the Guardian and that grotesque image of a hanged man's face. Words fail me.

But words have been failing me, blog-wise, for the Christmas period. With not much to discuss on the literary front and everything shrinking (or rather swelling) to the personal, there's not much to blog about for someone who's always banging on critically about the cult of personality. Even on my other, writer blog I try to stick to professional matters (unsuccessfully, I know), and it's more than just policy, it's superstition: I'm afraid of jinxing or using up the material I could put into my writing.

And then it seems to me that it's impossible to write about anything personal without fictionalising it anyway...

Yet how I loved Ms Baroque's vivid account of her Christmas with her children, and all her evocative personal posts, and those of nmj and Steerforth, for instance. It's made me think a lot about blogging. A blog is after all a public space - over Christmas twenty-odd people in Montreal, presumably students, came to my writer blog after Googling 'Themes in Compass and Torch' (one of my short stories) - and a writer always does well to be careful about his/her public image. Yet there's something so personal about the blogosphere - the language, the spontaneity, the discussions, and the fact that you really do feel you have made friends with like-minded people.

So I don't know...

I could tell you about literary-related things, I guess; I could stretch it and tell you about the things I did with members of our reading group: the Carol Concert in Bridgewater Hall with the Mozart Festival Orchestra dressed up in eighteenth-century costume and all the middle-aged women in glittery tops milling in the foyer, or drinks in the pub on Christmas Day, when the landlady came round and wished us all Merry Christmas so we felt we were in a soap pub rather than a real one. I could tell you about the literati party, when I talked for two hours to a Royal-Court produced playwright who has decided no longer to bother even trying with a British theatre system which has turned its back on the kind of play he writes, and to which a famous novelist turned up at the end with her parents in tow - but it was a private, not a public literary event so I won't mention their names. The two family parties - the one where my ex and my current sat down together with the kids, and the one with the Irish lot all singing and playing - don't qualify, of course. One New Year's Eve party does, as I talked for an hour to two handsome and disgustingly young marketing men about an issue I've addressed in this blog. Both agreed with my assessment that current marketing philosophy is about feeding into established practices, and both insisted that it is very difficult to 'market into the unknown'. Both however agreed, when they thought about it, that books (which can be intended conversely to surprise people or change their minds) require a new and different marketing strategy to be devised.

And then I went on to the crime-writer's party, whose name I had better not drop...

Daniel Green at The Reading Experience points to some interesting links about the nature of blogs: Robert Nagle answering the criticisms of George Will.

Happy New Year.
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