Whilst I was in Dublin I called in at Eason's Bookshop just to check that it was still there : with bookshops, like with pubs, you should never pass an open one just in case it has closed down by the time you pass again. I bought a copy of a book edited by Catriona Crowe and published by the Royal Irish Academy entitled "Dublin 1911". Described by one reviewer as a "capital cabinet of curiosities", it traces the year by means of a fine collection of words and images. There are extracts from local newspapers, old photographs, letters and cards which together create something which is as attractive to the sensibilities as a chocolate gateaux and as digestible as a slice of hot buttered toast. As I read it - over a pint of Guinness, of course - I couldn't help feeling that there was something familiar about the style, if not the content. It didn't take me long to recognise that the book was in fact a blog - a first class blog at that - dressed in a cardboard cover.
I am tempted to wonder whether blogging represents a new literary style as, the other day, I came across another book that reminded me of the kind of mosaic approach beloved by bloggers. "The North" by Paul Morley is made up of a tapestry of thoughts, recollections, comments and extracts, telling the story of the north of England through the reverse telescope of time. The paradox is, of course, that blogging seems to be bleeding stylistic boundaries just at the time when blogging itself seems to be waning. I am beginning to lose count of the number of well established and high quality writers vanishing from what we called in our swaggering youth "the blogosphere". Many are migrating to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, some are crossing that great divide and finding success as serious writers.
One of the great unspoken problems with blogging is that associated with reciprocal commenting. As a blog becomes more popular it attracts more and more comments, and the only decent thing to do is to visit your commenters' blog and comment back. Before long you seem to be spending more time worrying over whether you are behind with your commenting than you do in writing and reading. It's what's known in the trade as "Blogger's Guilt".
I may not be going anywhere with this discussion, but equally I am not going anywhere with this blog. It will stay. It will continue to be my own mosaic of those things that I find interesting and amusing. If you read it and enjoy it that is fine - don't feel you have to think up nice things to say. If you don't have time to read it, don't worry - I have enjoyed writing it. News From Nowhere is not at home to "Blogger's Guilt".