Thursday, January 29, 2009

In an article I read today, Writers on Writing: John Updike by Richard Nordquist, I gleaned a couple of paragraphs that reinforce some thoughts I've had about blogging. Comparing Updike's writing to something as amateurish as blogging will seem irreverent to some, but these general principles can apply, nonetheless.

Setting Quotas
It's good to have a certain doggedness to your technique. In college I was struck by the fact that Bernard Shaw, who became a playwright only after writing five novels, would sit in the British Museum, the reading room, and his quota was something like maybe five pages a day, but when he got to the last word on the last page--whether it was the middle of a sentence--he would stop. So this notion that when you have a quota, whether it's two pages or--three is how I think of it, three pages--that it's a fairly modest quota, but nevertheless if you do it, really do it, the stuff will accumulate.(Academy of Achievement, June 12, 2004)

The Writer's News About Being Alive
There's a kind of confessional impulse that not every literate, intelligent person has. A crazy belief that you have some exciting news about being alive, and I guess that more than talent is what separates those who do it from those who think they'd like to do it. That your witness to the universe can't be duplicated, that only you can provide it, and that it's worth providing.(quoted by Mark Feeny in "John Updike, Literature's Wide-Ranging Master, Is Dead at 76," The Boston Globe, January 28, 2009)

My goal when I started this blog was to chronicle, from my own perspective, my observations of the world around me, current events and the not-so-current, whether my world is confined to the walls within my own house, the neighborhood in which I live, or the larger world that comes to me through newspapers, online stories, or the idiot box. And my daily quota is a mere three paragraphs, a held over rule from a business letter writing course I took in junior college, that a business letter more than three paragraphs long will not be read or appreciated. (Did anybody else ever hear that rule? Our attention spans were already getting shorter 40+ years ago, I guess.)

Well, as Updike said, "the stuff will accumulate," and I can attest to that. This is Post #974 since I started Ms. Sippi. That I have been as consistent with it as I have has astounded even me. And that I might have the nerve to publish some of the things I publish has astounded others. But who else sees what I see and sees it like I see it and tells it like I tell it. Not one other person in the whole universe! And that one or two other people find what I tell worth reading astounds me, too.

My daily quota has been met.

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