Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The view from my chaise longue

Today’s an anniversary: my first post, three years ago. That initial headline was remarkably po-faced (Car door needs protecting from physics) and the single comment, from Plutarch, is so enigmatic I cannot decode it. The next twenty-four posts drew a total of seven comments: three from Plutarch, one from Lucy, one from a guy who wanted to sell something and two from me.

Works Well was hard core then, no faffing with weddings. My eighth post (Marvellous mathematical moment) was my most ambitious, demanded exhausting powers of explanation and is the best I have ever written. Only Plutarch responded. In arriving at the present total of 480 posts I moved away from stern prescription and was eventually lucky to find a select group prepared to indulge me. To them I am eternally grateful and virtually all are to be found on the links list.

Latterly my blog has competed with novel writing and there were times when I considered pulling the plug on Works Well – then drew back in horror. Doing so would be like walking out into the desert alone. I enjoy writing and I enjoy other voices. Novels usually don’t get published and their achievement runs perilously close to self-abuse. And blogging can be a rehearsal for what goes into the novel.

It’s insufficient to say blogging is dialogue – it’s civilised dialogue. It encourages a desire to respond and even re-respond. But it’s not without risks. Recently, through not concentrating enough, I’ve buggered up several posts and even more comments. In effect I’ve betrayed that word “civilised” and the penalties can be severe. People just stop reading. My namesake, a practical man, would say it’s my own fault. And he’s right. Blogging is also meritocracy.


Julia said...

Happy blog birthday! You might not recognize it, but your knack of turning a post and its comments into an expanding dialogue is pretty unique and most welcome. Don't worry about the occasional harrumph, truly.

The Crow said...

Somebody harrumphed you?

Let me at 'em; just let me at 'em!

Happy blogday to you, dearest BB! Happy blogday to-o-o yo-o-u-u!

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: Thanks for a very elegant compliment. As to harumphing, see below.

The Crow: Whoa, there. I was talking about perfectly legitimate harumphing, where I was wholly in the wrong and the correction was delivered as gently and as elegantly as Julia's bit of nice stuff. One of those occasions when I tell myself I should never have let BB off the leash. That he should have been taken back to the kennels and be forced to write only about car doors. Mind you, I wasn't complaining about your protectiveness.

Plutarch said...

May be you are too hard on yourself. In a blog the memory of a mistake though it may leave an imprint is swept away by subsequent posts.You may rembember your mistakes but others will quickly forget them, as I hope they have forgotten my once describing a common or garden crow as a raven, and on another occasion, a blue tit as a great tit, on the strength of its song rather than its colouring. To say nothing of countless spelling mistakes.

herhimnbryn said...

Happy Blogbirthday dear BB!

Avus said...

Congrats, BB...and thank you for throwing such an interesting party which all of us guests may enjoy.

Don't give up - after HHnB (who is family, after all)yours is the first blog I turn to.

Sir Hugh said...

Comments on blogs are mysterious. Since starting my Welsh Boundaries Walk sixteen days ago the number of hits on my blog has trebbled. The number of comments has declined to almost zero. There is obviously interest out there and one feels obliged to continue for their sake, but unless there is some rapport one begins to wonder if it is worth the effort.

DuchessOmnium said...

Ah, I think me and thee started just about the same time. Often I think my early efforts were the best. In any case, I have only achieved a fraction of your 480 posts. Let us suppose your posts are occasionally fractious (the harrumph factor); at least you show up!

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: Hard on myself? I have also been told I worry too much. I hate referring to advanced age but it lies at the heart of both these tics. As I get older I have a greater tendency to commit errors and a reduced ability to bear the humiliation when they are discovered. Sounds pathetic, I know, and would have ensured the termination of various editorships had it occurred earlier in my life. But it is there.

HHB: And a happy Blue Dog Blog Day to you, too.

Avus: As I said in the post I am sustained by the sound of other voices all of which, by now, have distinctive tones.

Sir Hugh: Alas, I do not want to depress you but there are other reasons. One of my posts, dating back to November, continues to throw up large numbers of hits. The Crow has gently explained that this is due to my having included certain famous names in the text. As a result university freshmen arrive there by accident.

DO: In your case fewer posts, perhaps, but feel the quality. I presume the lacunae are filled with long periods of ratiocination.

Tor Hershman said...

Betraying the word ‘civilized’ is the same as turning against a unicorn; some folks may not dig it BUT...there ain't a unicorn to care.

Stay on groovin' safari,

Tor Hershman said...

Well, I suppose there are a few unicornesque thingys.

Tor Hershman said...

"I have a greater tendency to commit errors and a reduced ability to bear the humiliation,"
oh pooh, are you ashamed if you PC crashes?

If no, why worry if your biological-brain-computer is breaking down.
When I can’t remember something I simply say
“The Bio-page has loaded...but with errors.

Leave your wristwatch at home and enjoy the wandering aimlessly through the store, after all, all of life is an error unless you consider guaranteed death as success.
Frankly, guaranteed death WOULD be a success for me BUT...this surely must be a perfectly oscillating universe.
Now that’s a REAL joke, it even takes the FUN outta funeral.

Hence the 'groovin' safari'.

Barrett Bonden said...

Tor: While I appreciate your idiosyncratic points of view, the tumbling rapids of your prose and your cheerful willingness to kick the door down on my blog and spit in the nave (as it were) it's only fair to say that you and I occupy the opposite ends of the seesaw. I for instance regard spontaneity as something akin to a skin disease. Here's the way I write: I set myself a 300-word limit on all posts, if it can't truly be covered within that limit then a blog isn't the logical venue for it. I distrust all initial impulses - most contain a downward staircase towards the cliché. I draft in MsW and devote as much time to revision as I do to the draft. I am a firm believer in less is more. You're beginning to get the idea, aren't you? I deserve and frequently embrace the epithet anal believing as I do that I'd hate to be without an anus. Oh, and when quoting from the French - which I frequently do and which makes me pretentious as well as anal - I always insert the most relevant accents. I don't for a minute imagine that this sort of mission statement will discourage you but I thought we ought to straighten things out, given this is our first encounter. May I invite you to rock on.