Reading a piece by Kelly Caldwell on weblogs and writing from some months ago, the following paragraph drew my attention:
> I think there is a reason why established, professional writers don’t (as a general rule) maintain weblogs. Well, there are probably a handful of reasons, but perhaps the most obvious is this: “blogging” is a means of avoiding the most common challenges of “writing.” Deadlines, word constraints, strict editors, a critical audience, interesting subject matter, reliable sources, unique perspective, a fresh voice and the minor detail of having to sell your stuff — none needed for blogging.
I’m not sure if I agree with this. Blogging might be a displacement activity for professional journalists, sure, but journalists are merely a subset of writers in general, and this statement seems to ignore the validity of excellent writers of all strands (reviewers, feature writers, short story writers, novelists, et al) who haven’t yet had the luck of the draw, but still want to sell their stuff.
Indeed blogging, in a way, is a means for writers to sell _themselves_; the incentive to improve one’s craft, to attract attention to one’s work and to earn respect — without the solid goal of a deadline, or the safety net of an editorial team — is often much stronger than Caldwell appears to give credit for.
Personally, I wouldn’t say it’s so much “to blog, perchance to write” as it is “to write, perchance to work.”
A phone call to the house yesterday afternoon was the herald of bad news: my aunt Marguerite passed away a few days ago.
It was something of a shock, to be honest. I knew she had been in-and-out of hospital for a couple of years, but it was never anything too serious; I had no idea she was quite that ill.
We hadn’t been in regular contact since the summer of 2001, when I last saw her in person. I put that down to the fact that we were both bad letter-writers; even so I feel guilty for not having done more to keep in touch.
I did send her a card at Christmas, though, to wish her the best, and let her know that things were going well for me. I wrote that I would send a proper letter in the new year, a big ol’ yarn to fill in the blanks. There was a lot I wanted to tell her: all about Benitha, and the great time I had in South Africa last year, and the better times we have planned for the future…
I’d like to think that Marguerite’s up there somewhere, that she knows everything I wanted to say, and that it makes her smile to see how happy I am. She was the only one on that side of the family that I was ever close with, besides my grandfather. Maybe she felt bad about that, I don’t know for sure, but she shouldn’t have; it was her caring that counted. She was good to me, and I will always appreciate that.