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Tony Grist

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An Anniversary [Mar. 7th, 2005|09:56 am]
Tony Grist

Happy birthday to me....

Well, not exactly to me, but to Poliphilo- who's been in existence now for a year.

When I started this LJ on the 7th of March, 2004 I didn't know quite what I wanted to do with it. At first I thought it would be fun to try out a range of different voices- a different voice for every post. No-one was reading me, so it hardly mattered.

Here as an anniversary treat (?) is a reprint of Poliphilo's very first post

IN THE ALPS

Today I wore white.

The professor collected me in his Daimler and we drove deep into the Bernese Oberland. It was a valley he knew. The long grass was full of little flowers, white and red and blue. The professor is very spry for his age. I tell him he looks like Teddy Roosevelt.

We met a girl who was driving cows down from the high pastures. She was a fine specimen of the race, with white hair in braids and bright blue eyes. "I would like to stretch her on the rack," said the professor, "and pull out all those perfect little teeth with pliers."

Something black flew down the length of the valley, very high up. I think it was a zeppelin. The professor lifted my hand and sniffed at my wrist. "You smell of rust," he said.

Yeah, well.....

But that sort of thing palled after a very short time. I began to see what a wonderful medium this is. How anything is possible. The blog is like no form ever invented before. It can be a diary, a column, a notice board, a one-person literary magazine, a one-person newspaper, a picture gallery, a practical joke. And, whatever it is, it has the potential to reach a large, international audience instantly.

Amazing!

And even more amazing- the audience talks back. It's an interactive medium. It creates communities.

Over at  jackiejj 's, naamaire speaks of what we bloggers are doing as "folk-art". I like that. But with the rider that this is folk art at the cutting edge. We are doing something that has never been done before. We are pioneers.

I began playfully. Now, a year down the line, writing this LJ is terribly important to me. 

Bloggo, ergo sum.

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: cdpoint
2005-03-07 02:27 am (UTC)
The blog is like no form ever invented before. It can be a diary, a column, a notice board, a one-person literary magazine, a one-person newspaper, a picture gallery, a practical joke. And, whatever it is, it has the potential to reach a large, international audience instantly.

Nicely put.

I wonder about the communities it forms, though. They're not really communities, just as LJ friends are not really friends--we use terms we're familiar with for both, but there are fundamental differences between these new usages and the concepts underlying the traditional terms.

I've had a website for over a decade now, and communicated with people all over the planet, even met a few of them. But if I died tomorrow, none of them would come to my funeral. Few would even notice my absence, since the site would go on until my webhost subscription expired. If you didn't see your neighbor come out of the house for days on end, you'd probably wander over and see what's going on. But if you just stopped posting to LJ one day, I wouldn't even know how to check whether you'd died, fallen ill, or just lost interest.

Certainly some people meet and form friendships through LJ, and others carry existing friendships over into LJ, but I suspect the vast majority of LJ friends are related as you and I are. And how exactly is that?

And what happens to all this when LJ is an old and stale technology ALA Compuserve or Genie?

Oh, well, don't let that get in the way of your continued happy blogging.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 03:59 am (UTC)
I don't particularly care whether people come to my funeral or not. Once I'm dead I'm dead and, well, I don't think I'm going to be bothered whether I'm remembered or not.

I think the LJ communities are valid. I know people who live on my street and I guess that makes it a community, but I don't care about any of them very deeply. The connection I have with a number of my LJ friends is much more real to me.

Of course, LJ will have its day, everything falls apart in the end. When it stops being fun I guess we'll all move on, but for the time being it's a jolly place to be.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-07 05:16 am (UTC)
And in honor of your Poliphilo birthday, may I present once again your thrilling poem, which I just found, from August 6 of last year?

This poem so engaged me that I thought, I need to read Poliphilo's posts from now on:

Here, I presumptuously present Lorca, which I think is brilliant:

A couple of years ago I wrote a sequence of poems about Granada to accompany a set of photos my sister had taken. It's called "La Alpujarra". There was talk of an exhibition, but it hasn't happened yet. In the process of researching the project I got turned on by Lorca.

He flits in and out of the sequence. Here's one of his appearances.

LORCA

They made a play of it
They made a ritual.
Invitations were issued to all of Spain.
The tiers were restless.
The green, green bones and the rusty shrouds,
Puppets in corduroy and leather,
The nightingales that fanned the air
Were restless

They drove him up in a black limousine,
Not to be buried.
He wore his pride like an overcoat,
He wore his love like a tilted fedora.
Minotaurs and majas applauded,
All were his creatures.
Cabbage roses of gored flesh,
This was the tribute.

They set him down at the cemetery gates
Not to be buried.
And if one asks where Lorca lies,
Show her the mist above the river,
Show her the road through the orchard dew,
Show her the crags of Andalucia.
They ruined him like a millionaire.
They scattered him to the crowd like silver.

The reference to "cemetery gates" is a nod to another version of the story which has him being executed (as over 2,000 people were) at Granada's municipal cemetery. I've let it stand- even though it's probably not accurate- because I don't think I can change it now without gutting the poem.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 05:44 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I've forgotten how we first met. Did I friend you or did you friend me? Was it this poem that did it?
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[User Picture]From: qos
2005-03-07 05:46 am (UTC)
Happy Anniversary, poliphilo!

I began playfully. Now, a year down the line, writing this LJ is terribly important to me.

Bloggo, ergo sum.


I feel the same way. I had heard of blogging long before I came near LJ, and could not imagine: a) why anyone would publically post their journal, for heaven's sake; or b) how/why anyone would either find or read it. Then my sister, southernselkie, moved across the country and spent more time updating her blog than she did keeping in touch with family, and then I met thomryng at work and found out he too was on LJ, and ended up getting my own account.

And now I can scarcely imagine living without it.

I think that LJ is the renaissance of the hand-written letter to friends, a former artform that had gone into decline with the advent of the telephone. We type, and our "letters" go out instantly, but we still maintain relationships through correspondence.

And although I too had toyed with the idea of posting in different personnas, it is the freedom to be myself which is for me the most powerful aspect of LJ. In my semi-anonymity I can express my truth far more openly than I can at my day job. Having people respond positively to that authentic self has been an incredible gift, and an amazing affirmation. It has helped me trust my Voice far more than I did before.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 06:35 am (UTC)
Thanks.

I forget exactly how I came to discover LJ. There was something about it on some website and I clicked on a link and there seemed no harm in getting an account.

I'd been thinking (idly) about getting my own website and LJ was a step in that direction. I never really expected it to become an end in itself.

Now, like you, I wouldn't be without it.

I think you're right about letter-writing. I think the internet as a whole has brought about a great revival of the written word.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-03-07 06:08 am (UTC)
The blog is like no form ever invented before. It can be a diary, a column, a notice board, a one-person literary magazine, a one-person newspaper, a picture gallery, a practical joke. And, whatever it is, it has the potential to reach a large, international audience instantly.

Um, I think it's exactly like mailing lists, which have been around since the late 70's. I've been on one list continually since the late 80's, and there are people on the list who use the list for all of these things.

That being said, blogging isn't that important to me. Being able to communicate with my friends, most of whom I've met, is important to me. I don't care whether it's a blog, a list, or a newsgroup. I do like the fact that I get to know friends of people I know through LJ, though.

As for Jackie's question about what we did before, we were far more limited as to who we could communicate with.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 06:39 am (UTC)
You see, I've never come across mailing lists. I don't have any idea how they work.

Before LJ I had already made a number of far-flung friends through the internet, but LJ has speeded up the process of meeting people and immeasurably widened my social circle.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-03-07 07:11 am (UTC)

Happy Birthday poliphilo.

I joined at the invitation of suzilem.

It's funny about internet "friends". I've been pretty lucky, three times I've taken off and journeyed to 'meet' people I'd never seen, only knew on the 'net. Actually, make that five. Two of them I have been on vacation with.

Usenet was fun. I 'met' a lot of people there, people whom I have met since, and some of whom I truly love. And some of whom turned out to be mean spirited and false.

but I cherish this place. I love talking to people about 'stuff', to jackejj about writing. I love the chance to read opinions that I may not necessarily agree with, but that I respect.

I also notice that there are a lot less 'mean' people here, one is not as likely to get flamed.

I can put in a blog the way I feel, the fact that my bi-polar is acting up and I'm depressed, and read about how others maybe feel the same way...

yes, it's important. And I'm very pleased to have met you, Tony and poliphilo. Your posts are among the first I look for when I sign on.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 09:12 am (UTC)
I'm very pleased to have met you too.

I've never pitched my tent anywhere else on the net, so I can't make comparisons, but people are pretty friendly round here. I got flamed once, and was really heartened by the way friends rallied to my defence.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 07:21 am (UTC)
Thank you Shellefly.

You shall have a slice of cake with a candle on.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2005-03-07 07:25 am (UTC)
The blog is like no form ever invented before. It can be a diary, a column, a notice board, a one-person literary magazine, a one-person newspaper, a picture gallery, a practical joke. And, whatever it is, it has the potential to reach a large, international audience instantly.

Yes, and it can be all of those things, depending on what the author wants! I have an LJ anniversary coming up as well, and I still can't believe how much I have come to use this "thing."
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From: musewithamagnum
2005-03-07 07:47 am (UTC)
Happy digital solar return!

I'm very glad for your entries...they're wonderful to read and a true gem in LJ-land!

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 08:44 am (UTC)
Thank you so much.
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From: morrison_maiden
2005-03-07 10:30 am (UTC)
Happy journal anniversary! I like what you said about how the weblog/online journal can be so many things at once. It's very true; I don't think we realize this when we're just creating our journals.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 12:00 pm (UTC)
But you're one of the people who does exploit the possibilities of LJ. You post all sorts- photos, artwork, writing.....
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-03-07 10:55 am (UTC)
Happy anniversary.

It is also my Sister's birthday!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 12:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks,
And happy birthday to your sister.
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[User Picture]From: mtl
2005-03-08 03:32 am (UTC)
I am sorry I fin this so late!

I wish you a happy birthday!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-08 04:01 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2005-03-08 04:34 pm (UTC)
When I created an LJ, I was convinced that I'd never have anything to say. Now a day feels incomplete if I don't post something that's not a meme. :)

Happy LJirthday!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-09 12:55 am (UTC)
Thanks. Yes, I feel exactly the same way.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-09 12:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the shout-out.

I love LJ!
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