Friday, August 11, 2017

Nineteenth Century Journals, Modern Blogs

For a variety of reasons, I'm back to one version of my strange insomnia this week.  I have no trouble falling asleep, but my eyes snap open at midnight or 1, and I either don't fall back asleep, or it takes several hours. 

Last night, as I was trying to sleep, I thought back to grad school and the class where I first read the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth.  I thought of how few people were writing about her then.  If I had continued in that direction, could I have become the nation's Dorothy Wordsworth expert and scholar?

In those days of 1989, lots of academics would have discouraged that direction.  They'd have explained how keeping a journal wasn't real writing.

I thought to our current age, how so many forms of writing that might have once been kept private are now published in a variety of forms.  I thought of future scholars--how will they sift through all of these detritus and treasures from our current age?

I thought of all the blogs and sites that I visit.  Some of the writing and other forms of expression are truly wonderful.  Others are a marking of the days which might be valuable to future historians, but not exactly forms of art.

When I first read the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, I was torn.  Part of me believed that her journals were art just by themselves alone--in fact, I wrote a course paper to prove it.  But part of me believed her journals were deeply important for other reasons:  for the insight into an artistic community, for the way she documented daily life, for the information about what it took to keep a family alive as the eighteenth century shifted to the nineteenth century.

My blogging is the writing that I do most regularly, and it's important to me for all the same reasons.  I've mined these blogs for all sorts of inspirations for my other writing.

Will these blogs be important to future scholars?  Perhaps, but that's not why I do it.  They're important to me, and that's enough.

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