A review of Memoir: A History by Ben Yagoda
Daniel Mendelsohn’s review blew me away.
Inspired by Mendelsohn’s in-depth analysis of memoir: I had to start blogging about the act of blogging.
The blog is the world of the self, this much is obvious. In the blogosphere, there are two distinct kinds of blogs.* Blogs which are primarily informative and blogs which focus on narrative. And sometimes, those of us who are like ping pong balls bounce back and forth between the two forms.
In the garden world, the informative blog, runs the gamut from info on plant cultivators, new tools, reviews of books, postings of lectures, visits with noted plantsmen, itineraries of garden trips, etc., etc., etc., and of course, most importantly, the promotion of self.
In the narrative blog, the blogger becomes something like a writer, in the sense that he/she builds a story. And in building that story, enhancement, embellishment and distortion become the norm. Does it matter? The notion is essentially the same – if afternoon becomes evening, if boyfriend becomes husband, if vacation becomes business trip, if jelly becomes preserve. When we change these facts – we change the truth, but do we expect the truth from a blog.
As Mendelsohn points out the evolution of talk show confession to reality TV to blog is barely a hop, skip or jump. It’s a nano second in the world of narcissism. When I started this blog, my mind was snowed in. I have found that a blog builds your ego. You begin to think better of yourself and I would argue you think better, in general, because blogging what’s on your mind, organizes your thoughts (sort of) and that brings a certain amount of clarity to an otherwise pretty big muddle.
Putting together one sentence after another is definitely an art form. If I can learn to string two or three words together as well as Daniel Mendelsohn, I will be a happy
camper, no a happy gardener.
*My notion of what blogs contain is based solely on the blogs I read: gardening, landscape and art.
**The photos across the top are noted memoir writers, with the exception of myself.