Tuesday, July 10, 2007
What did you do in the war, Daddy?
I DON’T DO MEMES as a rule, so please don’t take this as an invitation to tag me. I’m making an exception for my friend Ttony, because this one seemed for a variety of reasons to be asking the right questions at just the right time. I trust there are no blood-curdling penalties for breaking the chain.
1. How did you start blogging?
I don’t think blogging is what I do here, strictly speaking: hardly any of the posts are timely and only the most obvious ones relate to current events. I certainly don’t log my quotidien doings or thoughts, or respond to whatever rouses my interest from day to day. I prefer in addition to keep myself at a certain distance, because (a) I’m not a naturally gregarious man and (b) I don’t do interesting or unusual things (I start a new job on Monday, so that might very well change). Hermeneutic of Continuity or The Lion & the Cardinal are very different examples of real blogs, by busy men, engaged in exacting and challenging work. Anyway, I started because I found I could: I registered a blogger identity in order to comment on other blogs (I’d been commenting before I even realised that “blogs” is what they were). I used to hang out on a couple of forums, but got bored with the name-calling, cheerleading and party-lining.
2. What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful?
I wanted to do a “brain dump” on some of the things I’d been mentally refining and revising over the years, to the point at which I thought they might make a useful contribution. Debates on forums had to some extent helped me to develop them, without providing a suitable medium for bringing them together. In other words, I had a load of stuff lying around on my hard drive which, I flattered myself, might make interesting reading as stand-alone pieces. At least, I wanted to see if they’d stand up to a reading by people far better qualified to write on these matters than myself. I used the term “peer review” somewhere, but that’s pretentious and inaccurate. It wasn’t the assessment of my peers I was looking for, but of my betters – and of priests in particular. Was I successful? Well, I did the brain dump, most of it during November and December of last year, and the response was very gratifying from several points of view.
3. Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Yes, and it will probably change again, after 7.7.7. The war is over, and I’m not interested in arguing about the liturgy any more (other than at a purely practical or local level). Most of the “brain dump” stuff has, to my intense joy, become obsolete overnight. There’s no point in looking for different ways of saying the same things now. The unnatural posture of the lay Traditionalist liturgical autodidact can be relaxed now, though I suspect a limp and a number of reflexive spasms will persist, after a quarter century in the trenches. I’d love The Undercroft to be more like Glory to God for All Things – but then, I wish its author was more like Fr. Stephen Freeman. The Letters to a Fundamentalist Friend begun in March are probably an indication of where I’d like to take it, avoiding the trap of apologetics, which I have grown to loathe.
4. What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
That my hard drive and motherboard would die last week, taking down quite a lot of stored-up, unedited stuff. Oh, well…
5. Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
They know about it. Do they read it? No. Sometimes I drag my wife bodily to the screen and she finds something nice to say (usually about the pictures).
6. What advice would give to a new blogger?
Well, I’m still a fairly new blogger myself, but I suppose I’d say:
- make a bit of an effort with the composition. You don’t have to be Joseph Conrad, but if people are going to do you the honour of spending five minutes looking at your stuff, the least you can do is offer them something decently constructed, properly proofread, and easy on the eye. Arturo's a good example - even when he's lobbing a brick through your window, he does it with style. Don’t post for the sake of it, and don’t pad. If you’re blogging on religious matters consider your responsibilities before God and your downright unworthiness and incompetence to be holding forth about holy things. Be kind, constructive and don’t get personal or snide. Maintain your independence. Don’t tag me for memes.