As I scroll through past blogposts, I can’t believe I’ve reached this landmark—four years of blogging, another “blogiversary.” Occasionally, I have cause to read over an old post and I think, I wrote that? In such a short time it’s amazing how something which took such effort can so quickly turn into a memory. So, on this blogiversary, I would like to briefly reflect on blogging and its merits.
PAUL THEROUX ON BLOGGING
The inspiration for this post came from a famous travel writer. It’s hard not to read the work of the successful. One has to keep abreast of those at the top of the field, after all. We must “follow” the “influencers.” Or so they say.
I recently came upon a 2011 article in the online version of the Atlantic magazine entitled “Paul Theroux on Blogging, Travel Writing, and Three Cups of Tea.” The interview-style article was a promotion of Theroux’s latest work. The journalist points out the fact that the book is full of lengthy quotes and says, “…this aggregated aspect of your book makes it feel a little blog-like. Would you agree with that comparison?” To which Theroux responds:
You could say blog-like, but I think “blog-like” is a disparaging term. I loathe blogs when I look at them. Blogs look to me illiterate, they look hasty, like someone babbling. To me writing is a considered act. It’s something which is a great labor of thought and consideration. A blog doesn’t seem to have any literary merit at all. It’s a chatty account of things that have happened to that particular person.
REALLY, MR. THEROUX?
Some day I hope to reach your level of repute, to have the Atlantic and other such lofty publications tripping over themselves to catch each pearl as it drops, however broken the string may be.
I had actually found the article through a brief reference to Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli. I was working on my book about Basilicata and was curious that Theroux consistently mentioned Levi’s work when asked about his favorite travel books. What if Levi had issued his insights of life in Southern Italy in another format? The book was first published by Einaudi in Italian in 1945; however, had the same thoughts been scribbled on a pile of cocktail napkins, their merits would have been no less.
Levi’s book feels especially honest to me, too, Mr. Theroux.
KEEP ON BLOGGING
Perhaps some things have changed since 2011. Website and blogging templates have certainly come a long way, for which I am personally grateful. However, I don’t think there’s anyone out there, no matter how slipshod, anticipating the design of a post to elicit the word “loathe” on first impact.
Do my posts “look illiterate”? Being someone who has worn glasses my entire life, I don’t know that I’m the best equipped to tackle this one. Teachers have always put me at the head of the class.
Hasty? I can assure you that at times I have difficulty keeping up my blog for just this reason. Good blogging is anything but hasty, very far from babbling, and a “great labor of thought and consideration.”
Literary merit? I’ll let my actual readers be the judge.
Last year I celebrated milestones and adventures in the post My Italy Blogiversary: 3 Years Blogging with New Experiences and Emotions in Southern Italy; the year before I focused on what makes something bloggable and special people who enhance travel in My Italy Blog: Has it Been 2 Years Already?
Browse around my blog — use the search for a specific topic.
And for an in-depth look at this alluring land in the toe of the boot, check out Calabria: The Other Italy, my non-fiction book about daily life, history, culture, art, food and society in this fascinating southern Italian region. It’s widely available in paperback and e-book versions.
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