Sunday, November 11, 2007


Local historian, Carol Kammen's article in Saturday's Ithaca Journal Today It's a Blog; Tomorrow It's a Source Document lends an interesting perspective to blogging. Kammen says:
"I regard blogs today as our new version of those old black diaries dating from the 19th century found in historical societies. The difference is that the diary writer's audience was generally him or herself while the blog opens up a conversation with family and friends, and also with general readers."
Carol comments on Simon's Living in Dryden blog:
This blog is kept faithfully and is illustrated; the writer researches his subjects, comments on local activities and has a very keen personal view, which is fun to read.
Of Five Wells she says:
This blog is kept by a woman who has a farm, a horse, cats — much about cats. She is ecologically conscious and attempts to live as independently as possible. She is also active in the community in numerous ways, all reflected in her blog. I respond to her strong, happy female voice; she cheers and inspires me.
And I'm flattered. It's not self-aggrandizement to say that's just what I wanted Five Wells to be: "a strong, happy female voice." Those Victorian diary writers knew they were not special people. They just wanted to write. I started writing three and a half years ago to brush up my writing skills, never expecting anyone to read it. One by one friends and family and others found and enjoyed my stories. My voice and style adjusted to them.

I more or less mastered the "dates of wars and treaties" version of history in high school and college. I never cared much for it and I've forgotten a lot of it. But I love the stories of how people lived and thought in other eras.

19th Century Diaries, at A Victorian Passage, describes historical "rules" for diary keeping (which might well apply to blogs as well.)
  1. "One must not attempt too much. A country school-teacher, leading a humdrum life in a little village, does not need a diary large enough to set down the doings of court and king; but she will probably find much pleasure in jotting down a brief record of her daily life."
  2. "You don't have to buy a diary. A blank book will work just fine."
  3. "Be regular at it for the first year and you should find it a habit to keep up your journal, but only if your entries are brief.
  4. "Ask yourself 'What happenings in your life are worth recording?' "

If the blogs you read regularly are losing their luster, take a look at the 2007 Weblog Awards. It's strictly a popularity contest. But you can get a good idea of what other people are reading.

1 comment:

Maggy said...

The "rules" for diary keeping are great - it's insipiring me to start keeping my blog/diary up a bit better. The Journal article was interesting, too - glad to see other people enjoy your writing as much as I do!