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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.

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Comments:
[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 07:37 am (UTC)
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.

I agree with you--I think more people are reading more, to get information or express themselves.

However, they aren't reading critically.

The ET is on vacation now, so I'll have to tell you of our conversation and he won't get a chance to rebut... He lives in NY State, and they have been reading, um, "Grapes of Wrath", I think. He went to a talk by an English professor who has been going around the state talking to people about this book, and the professor was interested to find that people read the book as social commentary. There was no discussion of the book as literature, no discussion of the language or the writing style.

I think that's sad, but telling. I applaud the fact that people are reading more, but I regret the loss of critical thinking skills.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 08:40 am (UTC)
I don't know about this.

It seems to me that quite a lot of people on LJ are concerned with the art and craft of writing.

And are working to improve their grasp of that art or craft.

Ailz is currently doing a course in literature with the Open University (I tag along as her carer)and this is very much concerned with critical theory.

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