Tagged for this by the extremely talented Courtney.
1. “The Honest Scrap” award must be shared.
2. The recipient has to tell 10 true things about themselves that no one else knows.
3. The recipient has to pass along the award to 10 more bloggers.
4. Those 10 bloggers all have to be notified they have been given this award.
5. Those 10 bloggers should link back to the blog that awarded them.
1. I’ve had the flu! But really, just a very ordinary flu, with no swine involved. My son brought it home from school and for some reason it never occurred to me that I would catch it. Perhaps lack of anticipation was my fatal error.
2. Just before catching the flu I’d nearly made up my mind to stop blogging. Three and a half years is a pretty long time to be committed to anything creative. But I think on balance I will keep going a little longer.
3. There has been, surprisingly and for the first time in those three and a half years, a number of disappointments and personal snubs around the Reading Room over the past few months, oh none of which are worth talking about or even taking seriously in isolation. But you know how little things accumulate and become greater than the sum of their parts? I’ve felt disenchanted and distanced from the blogworld. And so I was extra thankful for some lovely comments and messages sent recently from my regular blogging friends. You keep me at the keyboard.
4. I do agree on the whole with Cyril Connolly that ‘It is better to write for yourself and have no audience than to write for your audience and have no self’. But blogging is such a community-based activity, I think that feeling part of a supportive and engaged network is important. And I also think that writing is always that bit better when it is consciously involved in engaging and enlightening readers.
5. When I first started blogging, I was very excited by the idea that here was a place where two new forms would take precedence; the very short essay, and a kind of lightweight but genuine literary criticism. In fact, neither of these has taken off, and book blogging is mostly about the brief review these days, with a small percentage of academic bloggers writing who tend to remain quite conscious of their profession (though there are a few exceptions). I don’t belong to either of these camps, and so fall between stools – too intellectual (and way too long-winded) for most general bloggers, not intellectual enough for the other academics.
6. But then again, the desire to blog does ebb and flow, and I think this is a medium that really exposes boredom and lack of motivation on the part of the writer.
7. What I do think is that it’s time to shed a snakeskin, or to reinvent what I do. For me, blogging is all about experimentation. First of all I wanted to see if I could transpose intellectual writing about books to a popular platform, then I wanted to see whether I could write more personally, then I wanted to extend the range of topics I wrote about. I’m not sure what comes next, but I need an aim to direct me. That’s what keeps me motivated.
8. Many of you will be familiar with the novelist, Rosy Thornton, and know that she is also an academic at Cambridge. We’ve become friends in real life over the past year and she is a complete delight. When we are together we end up talking faster and faster because we have so much to say, which is very amusing. Anyhow, Rosy has been involved in organizing a literary day at her college, lots of workshops and talks, and the two of us are giving a workshop in the afternoon on internet writing: fan fiction, writing websites, blogging. Doing this with Rosy is going to be so much fun, and I’m hoping it will be invigorating. It’s also another reason to keep blogging, at least until the end of the month. 😉
9. I think seasonal transitions can be quite unsettling. If I look at my reading at the moment, I have three half-read books on the nightstand that I wonder whether I will ever finish, and four I am currently reading, none of which has me really hooked (I’m very much appreciating Mavis Gallant’s short stories, but I can’t be hooked by a collection). That’s an awful lot of books in progress for me and I’m not particularly comfortable with it. While I had the flu it was Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer all the way, but now I need something a bit more…. a bit more… Oh I don’t know, just more but not too much of it yet.
10. The most cheerful news to impart is that I’ve just finished working with a writing coach who has been immensely helpful. She is quite brilliant at pinning down that vague nebulous feeling you have that something isn’t entirely working, and telling you what it is in a way that makes you enthused to rewrite. I’ve had some fascinating, supportive and illuminating conversations with her and feel that at least one area of my writing life has received a real boost. If you fancy working with a writing coach, I would warmly recommend her: Jacqui Lofthouse, to be found at The Writing Coach.
I’m not tagging as I’m a long way behind in blog reading and don’t know who has done this and who hasn’t. Consider yourself tagged if you’re in the mood for disembowelling your private emotions or if you have hidden secrets you long to share.