May 7, 2004

"All for the joy of writing."

Ruth Franklin writes in TNR (it's a review of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves," but I'm not addressing that):
As a professional who almost never writes anything without getting paid, I am continually amazed that the Internet is full of people who sit down at their computers every day and send out thoughtful commentary on politics, books, music, even grammar--all for the joy of writing. There are plenty of swine amid the pearls, but the case could be made that blogs constitute the contemporary revival of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century commonplace books--journals of sorts in which people would collect and comment on passages from their reading, with the difference that blogs enrich the experience by inviting commentary from others.
As a professional who talks for a living, I am continually amazed that the world is full of people yammering away all for the sheer pleasure of expressing themselves. Nah! Obviously, people (some of us) live in words--spoken, or written or swirling around in our heads. What else can we do? (I say rhetorically, not soliciting suggestions.)

Oh, and of course blogs are like commonplace books. I've always liked commonplace books: here's one by E.M. Forster that I keep on the desk in my bedroom.