Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Patron Saint of Diarists (and Bloggers?)

Today is the birthday of Samuel Pepys, perhaps one of the most famous diarists ever. Much of what we know about the English time period of the Restoration we know because we have his diary. He wrote about the Coronation of Charles II, the plague years, and of course, the Great Fire. He also wrote about his sex life and other details of regular life. He wrote for 10 years and his journal fills nine volumes.

I used to think that it would be exhausting to write that much. I used to think that I could never fill nine volumes. Now, of course, I can't imagine transcribing all those journals into electronic form. I have a box of journals, which will probably moulder away, because I simply don't want to type them all into a computer. Let some graduate student do it several hundred years from now, if my life is deemed that important.

I've said this several times on this blog, but I do wonder how historians and scholars will use the blogs that so many of us are keeping now. Will some poor graduate student not only have to consider my paper journal, but also my blog? And then there's all the rough drafts that I can't bring myself to throw away.

Are there authors who don't have to worry about future employers who can be completely free and open in their blogs? Can any of us really be completely free and open, knowing that at some point, those writings (whether in a blog or a paper journal or in a landfill) will likely be seen by others?

And of course, I wonder about how long we'll all be able to blog for free. How much storage space is there really out here in cloudland? The scholar in me mourns all the data that will be lost as we work out new protocols.

I wonder about all the people who have kept journals in the past, and how they would have responded to this brave new world of blogging. To me, blogging is a somewhat different medium than my old-fashioned paper journal. There's the privacy issue, of course. But there's also the linking aspect, which I love. Of course, I used to do this with my paper journal, where I'd keep book or record reviews or articles that spoke to me in some way. There's the aspect of blogging where I can include pictures, photos, and videos. Long ago I kept a scrapbook (back before scrapbooking became such a hot hobby, back when scrapbooking was just gluing stuff in a larger book). It feels similar.

Yesterday I spent a bit more time thinking about book trailers and video poems. I discovered that my work computer has Movie Maker on it, but I didn't have much time to play. It's work, after all.

Well, now I feel stupid. I just checked, and my home computer has Movie Maker. I wonder if I can make a poem with no sound, since recording has always been my downfall. Maybe Movie Maker makes it easier (then I'll really feel like a dolt, having never realized that the solution was right there). I wonder if I can use my own photos to go along with my poems. I know that Sandra Beasley uses iStockphoto, and lots of other people do too. But maybe for my first experiment, I'll just use my own photos.

What fun! But kind of terrifying too. I've been playing with the idea of collage for several years now, although my first collaging was in the world of fiber arts, not words. This week I've been playing with the idea of collage in poetry, which I'll say more about tomorrow. I can't help but see poetry videos and book trailers as a type of collage.

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