I’ve made the acquaintance of William A. Sigler, poet, translator and proprietor of Poet Tree, which he describes as “a daily poetry blog with virtually no traffic.” I recognize kinship when I see it. There is a delusionally fine line between hobby and blog, private pleasure and public utility. As Sigler puts it in an e-mail, “Like yourself, I am an outcast in the Borgesean virtual Library of Babel.” The tough part is not growing in-grown. It’s time to quit when you echo your own echoes, a sure symptom of Blogger’s Syndrome, or B.S.
V.S. Pritchett has a funny six-page story, “The Voice,” in which an unfrocked Welsh priest, the Rev. Morgan, is trapped in a bombed-out church during the Blitz. His only company is a bottle of whiskey, and he passes the time singing hymns while his rescuers dig through the rubble:
“The voice had not stopped singing. It went on, rich, virile, masculine, from verse to verse of the hymn. Shooting up like a stem through the rubbish the voice seemed to rise and branch out powerfully, luxuriantly and even theatrically, like a tree, until everything was in its shade. It was a shade that came towards one like dark arms.”
Pritchett has something else in mind, and I haven’t even mentioned the current pastor of the church, Morgan’s rival, accuser and would-be savior, the Rev. Lewis, but Morgan’s whiskey baritone rising from the ruins is a fine metaphor for blogging. Sigler, who heard Jorge Luis Borges read at Johns Hopkins in 1984, adds this to his e-mail:
“I’ll just give you a web-exclusive translation of something Borges once wrote, by way of explaining myself:
"While writing I feel justified; I think: this is my destiny as a writer, even beyond the value of my writing. And if I were told all my writing would be forgotten, I don't believe I would receive this news with happiness, with satisfaction, but I would continue writing. For whom? For no one, for me alone."
I thought at once of David Ferry’s “Rereading Old Writing,” in which he says “writing / Is a way of being happy.”