Saturday, 17 March 2007

I Beatrice

All the people and events in this blog are fictitious. The places are real, but even they are likely to be re-named, or moved about a bit

Saturday 17 March 2007
To Blog or not to Blog

I'm not one of life's natural bloggers, that's the first thing to say. What I am is a woman of sixty-something, perfectly quiet and unremarkable, the sort you’d see in the supermarket any weekday afternoon with my re-useable shopping bags and my loyalty card. Sixty-something besides, as everyone who reads the gossip columns or scours the fashion pages will know, is not a fashionable age for a woman to be just now. Not unless she happens to be very famous, or very beautiful, or very rich, that is. Or better still, all three of those things rolled into one - Joan Collins, say, or Elizabeth Taylor. Each of whom is in fact not sixty, but seventy-something! Which makes her even more astonishing to the ordinary woman in the supermarket of course - though it does set the kind of precedent she couldn’t possibly try to follow, herself. To be perpetually beautiful and eternally young. Only think of the vast responsibility of it! The constant daily vigilance it must entail, for a start, just to keep the show on the road. I have to admit to being very thankful, on the whole, that I enjoy the kind of obscurity which exempts me from all that kind of thing.

All of which is to stray from my point somewhat. But then I tell myself that perhaps that will turn out to be the beauty of blogging? That one will be able to stray and stray, and somebody, somewhere, will probably still be out there listening! It’s an enchanting notion. It does remind me though, that I began by explaining that I’m not one of life’s natural bloggers. Which must raise the question, why then am I blogging? It’s a good question, and one to which I’m not sure I know the answer. It could be because there were no emails for me this morning. Nor any yesterday, or the day before that. It induced a kind of panic. I was driven to looking in my spam folder for consolation, and even that was empty.

It could on the other hand be because we have just moved to an unknown part of London, my brother Bill and I. It’s a very lovely part, filled with trees, and towpaths, and unexpected little back lanes leading nowhere very much. There’s a village pond, willow-edged, with a pair of resident swans nesting; there are cottages, and mansions, and extensive areas of wild common land. It’s Pooh Bear territory, if ever I saw it – it should be perfect. Only trouble is, there were no emails for me this morning, as I said… and Bill is hidden away somewhere in his side of the cottage, recovering from recent bypass surgery. And the fact is, a place can be as lovely as you will and still feel rather bleak, if there’s nobody out there who so much as knows your name.

To blog or not to blog though, that was my question. I think that on the whole I’ll probably blog. This is the day of the blogger after all, isn’t it? A glorious golden age in which anyone, anywhere, can say almost anything at all to anyone. One can’t help wondering what Dickens would have made of such a freedom? Or Trollope, or Virginia Woolf, or Shakespeare? The fact that they achieved their marvellous works in the absence of electronic aids, or so staggering an open forum, is evidence most of all of course, of their vastly superior communicative powers. But just the same, one can’t help wondering to what still greater heights they might have soared, had they keyboard and mouse to hand?

All of which having been said…. could this first small tentative step of mine into unpredictable places be said to amount to a blog? And if it does, shall I ‘post’? And if I do, shall I suffer consternation as a consequence in the morning? There’s only one way to find out of course, and that’s by posting. So with my heart in my mouth, or on my sleeve, or on whatever other part of my clothing or my anatomy it happens to be at this precise moment in time, I post….

(I only hope I’ve managed to get the procedure right!)