Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The problem with Bloggers

You have to keep at them.

I have a wonderful book. It is the diary(ies) of Blanche Mitchell. 15 year old in the 1850's, daughter of the Public Surveyor of early settled Sydney government. He's deceased but his family live in the affluent eastern suburban expanses down near the harbour of Double Bay (very posh) at the grace and charity of her brother who inherited the wealth.

Her father was a very educated man and Blanche is a product of his affluence and influence in believing an education is as important for a woman. He is also the benefactor of the main library of NSW/Sydney - The Mitchell Library. His own extensive library is housed in this library. And I have had the honor of exhibiting my illustrative artwork there - as well as lecturing on being an author.

Blanche is in my soul. She infiltrated it to the extent I felt the need to seek out her grave in Newtown, an early suburb of Old Sydney. Her father is buried there. Interesting, maybe even spooky that I could not find the grave. Frustrating! I looked and looked but nothing. So I gave up and walked back to the car. But I fell over in the long green rather neglected lawn. The gardenia I had brought with me for her fell out of my hand. I sat up and dusted me down feeling slightly awkward. Looked around to see how unnoticed I'd been and I had been totally ignored. BUT GET THIS... I looked up and guess where I'd fallen. Right beside Daddy Mitchell and Blanche Mitchell. He did expect the gardenia was for him, but I reassured his presence that this was well and truly meant for my little friend, Blanche.

Blanche lived in the 1850's and sadly died early... not much into her twenties. She wrote beautifully about the things she did on a daily basis in that time. And when one reads these things, though they are/were mundane they take on a new context in another age.

Toothaches end up at dentists who don't have the sophistication of todays adherents.
The internet doesn't exist so a sister marrying and living in Britain might write and receive mail twice a year. Excitement came in the form of parties involving the visiting officers of the Royal Navy. Walks and picnics on beaches with officers from the barracks. The arrival of packets (boats), or a navy ship was a big deal. Sundays were for church, and teaching Sunday school. Does anyone remember mending. It was a real activity.

But the real point about diaries is this. Even though it was a yesterday, it takes on an element of here and now. Our lives as we go through them are progressing through a daily round on nows. For Blanche it is a future. For me it is now. And for me, Blanche is a past - at least I thought so until I read her diaries and realised that this is a confounding fact.

If I didn't sleep last night, that is important to me. I will wake up tired and possibly angry in the morning... if I don't eat dinner at some point in time I will become ravenous. If the postman doesn't come today I am frustrated but he'll probably be here tomorrow... mundane things.

Of course I'm being philosophical. I wonder if this is part of my makeup as an author. Whether it is people like me who reflect on things like this that might end up in elements of my sense of being and eventually in my writing. I need this kind of world in which to place my characters.

So blogs are very important. They are like diaries. But diaries are nasty little nagging duties. You have to be persistent. But so do you as an author. Without persistence you don't end up with a story. Without a story your frustration grows because being an author is being part of you.


I will blog.
I will blog.
I will blog.


KV said...

Amen . . . .

Kathy V in NM

Ellie Heller said...

You go girl!