1. Blog posts are aids to memory, a way to preserve thought like unfortunate insects in amber.
2. Writing clarifies thought. The act of articulation is cleansing, like a cold shower. It’s more difficult to bullshit when trying to be honest and precise in public.
3. Call it conservation. A blog post is a record of what’s going through one person’s mind on a given day. If the thought is already developing, why not fix it (in the photographic sense)?
4. Giving ensures receiving. Gifts are reciprocal. A reader I had never heard from before recently wrote to say he had never heard of Stevie Smith before reading one of my posts. He bought a collection of her poems and loved it. He reciprocated with a note of thanks.
Eight years ago today, on Feb. 5, 2006, Anecdotal Evidence emerged, shaky and uncertain, from its shell. On that first day, when even “work-in-progress” sounded over-confident, I announced its arrival with an excerpt from Hazlitt’s 1822 essay “The Fight”:
“…we agreed to adjourn to my lodgings to discuss measures with that cordiality which makes old friends like new, and new friends like old, on great occasions. We are cold to others only when we are dull in ourselves, and have neither thoughts nor feelings to impart to them. Give a man a topic in his head, a throb of pleasure in his heart, and he will be glad to share it with the first person he meets.”
Welcome to my lodgings. Pardon the occasional dullness. Pull up closer to the fire. What would you like to talk about?