Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The thing about blogging, since we are on the subject, is that it's humbling. In the decades in which I was a journalist without a blog, I, like most hacks, idly regarded readers as an occasional inconvenience. Responses to the snail mails were hurriedly sent, a chore and no more. (Once I realised I had sent the same reply to the same reader at least seven times. He kept writing and I kept responding - 'Thank you for your fascinating letter..' - without ever noticing that he was not many men but one.) The blog changed all that. The comments on this blog are, on average, better written, funnier and often better informed than anything in any newspaper or magazine. And, perhaps because the commenters are a self-selected bunch, they also seem to know me better than I thought I could be known by mere readers - Elberry, in particular, seems to have an access all areas pass to my psyche. This is, as I say, humbling because it gives me repeated Gray's Elegy moments - 'Full many a flower is born to blush unseen' - and it draws my attention to the perhaps obvious truth that the best people are not necessarily those granted access to the luxuries of public expression and status. In part, these thoughts are inspired by the reactions to my post of yesterday, but also I was struck by 'Richard Madeley's' post about his friend whose novel is not now being published. People burn to write and, in the case of Richard's friend, they believe that making people smile is 'a moral way of living'. They are right to burn and right to believe. The gifted people who use this blog to show what Auden called an 'affirming flame' are the reason I continue and why Nige has joined me with such brilliance and enthusiasm. Okay, that's done, back to cheap laughs and futile metaphysical head clutching.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:28 am