Truth, Biography, Experience and Memoirs - Blogs Are Better Than Books
Are you a passionate reader? Do the librarians in your local library groan when they see you coming weighed down with a pile of new acquisitions? Hey, join the club! One of the main reasons I’m still waiting for the day I win the lottery, is so that I may one day be able to sit around all day and read Patricia Briggs werewolf and vampire novels, and not have to worry about productivity and usefulness and making a buck. (And oh, let that blessed day come soon!) If only all of the 'Make A Fortune/Living from Blogging' articles were a touch more credible: maybe that'd be another route to the same thing, in essence!
But there’s more to life, seriously, than books –honestly. I have it on good authority – the best, in fact.1 Sure, great fiction can transport you into another place and time – maybe one that never existed – can enlighten and dazzle you and lift the load from your shoulders, however temporarily. It can create beauty and wisdom and maybe its own kind of truth.
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But what it can’t do is to give you the solid touch of reality that a memoir or autobiography can do. (Even biographies I experience a touch of distaste for – so many biographers seem to be coated in the kind of arrogance that leads them to believe that they know the mind of their subject better than their subject knew her or himself – which is pretty sickening.) A real, honest memoir or autobiography gives you that little touch of empathy and real insight that a biography written at second hand, and certainly even the best fiction, can't get near.
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But even books and memoirs have their limitations, much as I love them. They're fixed in time and place – on the last page you read 'The End' and that's it. No updates, no latest breaking news, even if the person is still alive and interesting and productive. That's why a good blog has it all over even the best memoir or autobiography! You know what's happening and what kept on happening, right up to the minute! (Okay, depending on the blogger's posting schedule and how often they bother to update. But a really good blogger doesn't leave you hanging! A great blog is fantastic fodder for the small-town nosey gossip and voyeur in all of us – and also for the person who knows the quote about nothing that is human being alien to any of us.2 A real, honest, scrupulously considered blog lets our empathy overflow, as we recognise how incidents in someone else's life echo our own, how their emotions and responses mirror ours. Our hearts get bigger and kinder as we share the gnarly and joyous bits of someone else's life – someone we'd never have met but for the wonders of the interwebs..
I'm sharing with you some of my favourite blogs – and my favourite memoirs – in the links below. If you have some favourites then let me know too – I'm always up for checking out a new blog or memoir. And remember, books are great but blogs are even better – so what's yours?
1. The Smiths. 'Handsome Devil'. New York: Warner Music Group, 1995.
2. Terence. 'Heauton Timorumenos.' Rome: 163 B.C.