Saturday, 14 August 2010

Garrulous Forever

Do you read these things? The ubiquitous blogger with their garrulous outpourings. Words to fill the silence, sentences to rattle in the air, verbiage to occupy every last empty corner of cyberspace. No good event goes by in 2010 without a resident blogger getting themselves attached to tell the connected world just how the thing is. During this year’s Guardian Hay Literature Festival Simon Mundy, a self-confessed total newbie, was installed as resident blog man. He was given the task of reporting daily (or more frequently if he chose and he sometimes did) on the doings of the world’s greatest literary festival. Simon Mundy’s Festival Frolics gave the inside story and did so in style.

With a certain prescience Mundy observed that blogs get consumed backwards. The reader alights on the latest instalment and then, if sufficiently roused, scrolls backwards through ever earlier entries until they reach the first. And it’s usually in this one that bloggers set out their stalls and explain what they are doing and why. Mundy’s blog was thoroughly entertaining, as one might expect. And it’s still there, out in cyber wonderland, where nothing ever gets finally erased. Bloggers take care, what you say won’t go away.

Wales has a growing stream of literary blogpersons. At Hay travel writer Tom Anderson, wrote the daily Writing Squads Blog for Academi. You’d see him in the cafĂ©’s, dongled laptop before him, facing off Susie Wild who was engaged in a similar activity for Mslexia, both typing furiously.

Poet Mike Jenkins with space before him now that his teaching has finished, regularly expands his observations on the world with a pretty readable blog. The state of life in Merthyr with special reference to writing. The town has changed its name, he blogged recently, this place used to be Washingtub City of even Hooverville. Now “the town where the red flag was first flown at the Waun Fair, could easily be dubbed Tescopolis”. Too many branches of the red badged giant, complains Mike, and then follows this with a Merthyr dialect poem of his own hilarious making.

In the new 2011 edition of A&C Black’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, one of the two essential author’s handbooks, there’s a pretty informative section on writing and the online world. This includes an analysis of the ebook market (67% American with 65% of world product devoted to fiction and only 8.2% to business - which differs considerably from the predictions of futurologists), descriptions of how to launch a website, and an essay on writing a blog.

Blogs, of course, don’t cost anything to set up or to visit. Out there are loads covering just about every interest area there is. How much time do you want to waste following them? Select with care.

A version of this posting appeared as The Insider in the Western Mail of Saturday, 14th August, 2010. #160

2 comments:

fionaatcentre said...

I read blogs. I dip in and out of the blogs of people I know personally, and people I think are very clever- luckily a few of these coincide. But I can't claim loyalty to any particular blogs; even those I subscribe to I am lucky to have the time to read.

I also write a blog, and am amazed when anyone bothers to leave me a comment. So I'm bothering now.

Flo Fflach said...

yes - blogs consummed backwards....always jars a little with me, though not sure why really. do i stack my magazines with the oldest at bottom or top?
artists' & writers' handbook: just noticed this morning two on the shelf: 1975 & 1983.
could commenting on blogs become an art form?