I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog lately and how it has come to this. I don’t even know what I mean by “this.” Suffice to say, it’s not something that I had in mind when I started a few years ago, when I separated my book posts from my personal blog (now only accessible to me). I wanted this blog to be a book with regular posts: regular reviews, regular discussions, regular reports, memes, contests, etc. It didn’t turn out that way. There has been nothing regular in it despite my internal struggle to keep something regularly running in it.
Today, I should be posting about my regular monthly book report but I don’t feel like doing it. More so, I’ve just decided to throw away all the regular things here. I simply can’t keep up. It’s not that I’m giving up on blogging altogether. I just want to do a freewheeling and unstructured kind of blogging unencumbered by post formats and features.
Pragmatically speaking, times are changing and people get tired of routines. I’m getting tired myself, even of routines I made myself. Especially of routines I made myself. Usually, I’d just change the layout or add a new feature to spice things up. That way, I’d have something to look forward to when I open my dashboard. But how many times have I done that? It’s a short-term remedy to my blogging rut. There must be something else that can be done.
I’ve (w)racked my brains for ideas until I realized that introducing something that has potential to be regular does not work for me anymore. I could easily blame my work for not wanting it, at least on this blog. For the most part of the day, I deal with documents that have to follow style guides. My wrists hurt from typing and formatting them to follow the prescribed the structure. So I’m starting to feel that regular stuff on this blog, a product of my favorite leisure activity, is going to be an extension of my work.
I also feel that I’m losing my knack for the long form writing of books. I still love reading despite my on and off ruts. I still like reading about fellow bloggers’ latest stuff (recently in stealth mode). It’s just that I dread sitting in front of my laptop to type at least five hundred words, which isn’t actually that long if you think about it. It’s like work, and I don’t want to feel like blogging is working. And as much as I’d like to use my phone to write a blog post, it simply is inconvenient. My fingers long for the full spread of the keyboard.
And so I get to this point where I should be wrapping these two major points that I brought up. I’m actually having trouble in it. Perhaps I’m the kind of person who only likes beginnings (a vague reference to Mad Men’s Donald Draper). I’d hate to think of myself that way. That is why I’m doing this. I’m trying to keep the blogging spirit burning. It can’t be always warm and shiny, but at least it has never been extinguished.
Or perhaps my writing has been stilted by my job. I always feel that, but George Saunders was once a technical writer and he is able to dish out short stories that could blow you away. I’m nothing compared to him, but who knows? If I can’t be a good writer, maybe I could be a good blogger.
I’ve droned on and on about the current state of my blogging affairs so perhaps it’s time to talk a bit about books. I’ve started working on my book bingo (again) and although I haven’t been able to create a pattern, I’ve been able to mark three squares in a matter of two weeks. Granted, the books that I picked were short, but I just needed a push. Knut Hamsun and Ian McEwan are always a delight to read. I indeed got the push that I wanted with Pan and Amsterdam, plus an extra bump from a new discovery, Sjón.
Hamsun has yet to fail me. In Pan, we read yet again about an unreliable narrator’s summer affair with a woman who is both frivolous and calculating. The plotline is simple but the attraction-repulsion between the two characters is something else. I suspect that the translation I’ve read played a huge deal in this. Sverre Lyngstad’s words make Hamsun sound so lyrical in the English language. I’d like to believe that the Nobel laureate sounds the same in his home language, and if so, Lyngstad’s translation is a “loyal” one.
Another Nordic writer, Sjón, also has a lyrical work in the part fable, part folklore The Blue Fox. His descriptions of the Icelandic landscape are mesmerizing that I always decide to go to sleep after reading a few pages, of course not because they are soporific but because I want to keep the images in my head in the hopes of summoning them in my dreams. There’s an adorable quirkiness in this short novel, but in the end, you’ll get the chills for feeling that way as you realize the underlying violence and recklessness that hold the story together.
I’d like to talk more about Amsterdam but I’ll reserve it for another post. My eyes are burning tired and my soundtrack has finished (Patrick Watson’s Love Songs for Robots). Yes, I always play an album when I blog. And here’s my TFG Book Bingo update: