Of blogs and brevity


in Books and literature, Daily updates, Internet matters, Writing

A quad in Christ Church College, near Merton Street

I have a new rule: at least for the time being. I am going to aim for focused, interesting blog posts that are no more than a few paragraphs. The writing should be better, more people should feel inclined to read it, and I should consequently have more time for academic work, or at least non-computer stuff.

I need to adjust the structure of life so that it involves more reading. Having seminars of 14 to 28 people, it isn’t really necessary to have read anywhere close to the total amount assigned in order to contribute to the discussion. As such, and especially without the possibility of being called upon to present, there is a lack of structural incentive to do a great deal of reading. For me, this might be most easily overcome by making reading a more social experience. The presence of others helps keep me focused and aids in resisting the desire to go and do something else – a desire that always becomes more powerful when the matter I am reading is not particularly compelling.

I started the copy of Haruki Murakami’s The Wind up Bird Chronicle that Tristan sent me for Christmas. Three chapters in, it definitely has the oddity that seems to be characteristic of Japanese film and literature. At the same time, it lays out the oddity in a way that is intentionally structured like a mystery – it’s clear that we’re meant to eventually learn what’s going on.

As always, speaking with Astrid this afternoon was interesting. Her personal policy of not engaging in meaningless chatter over MSN of the “so, what are you up to?” variety is one that frequently proves laudable, particularly when combined with her infrequent forays into that domain. She is in Argentina now, returning to Vancouver in about a month.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Commiserating fellow student. January 22, 2006 at 8:01 pm

My suggestion to you, based on what I have seen of your room from photos on the blog, is to re-purpose your desk. Right now, it’s utterly computer dominated, which necessarily makes the workspace of the room computer focused. If you want to read more, fold up that iBook, put it in a bag somewhere, and use the desk for reading and taking notes. When the time comes to write an essay, you can break out the computer. Even then, however, I would advise keeping the ethernet cable unplugged.

The lack of a wireless network can be a help, as well as a hinderance.

Milan January 22, 2006 at 8:25 pm

An excellent set of suggestions, that.

Did anyone notice two little improvements in the blog template? Firstly, the banner is now a link to the main page. Clicking it takes you can to the front page from wherever in the site you may have wandered.

Secondly, and both more subtle and clever, the commenting code has been changed so that instead of: 0 comment(s), 1 comment(s), 2 comments(s) it says No comments, 1 Comment, 2 Comments.

See how much trouble I go to to make an attractive and functional site for all of you?

Meghan January 23, 2006 at 5:10 pm

As the grandfather in the Princess Bride would say, “Yes, yes, you’re very clever. Now shut up!”

I do admire the changing of the comments link, however.

Milan January 25, 2006 at 1:46 pm

The Atom feed has been limited to summaries because a number of sites were just grabbing it wholesale and republishing it on pages with their advertising on them.

Jo January 25, 2006 at 1:48 pm

Is it me or has your site feed suddenly (as in over the past few days) started putting up a summary instead of the whole post?

And on the number of comment thing, well done! It always amazes me that blogger doesn’t do it like that anyway!!

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