what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blogging as a giving account of one's life

I notice that I am not the only person who reflects on the year’s blogging experience. Chris Grey is an organisational theorist who started a blog to accompany his fascinating book A Very Short Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap book about studying organisations – and has a post identifying some of the year’s themes (as well as readership stats)

I particularly liked the description of his working method - 
I also try to include in each post copious links to a wide variety of media sources and, to a lesser extent, academic works. I don’t know how many readers follow these links but at any rate I feel better-informed as a result of digging around to find them.
Typically, I think of a topic on Friday morning, ponder it during the day and write the post on Friday evening (yes, my life really is that exciting). Most posts take two to three hours to research and write.

I’ve been blogging since 2009, with a resignation from a major project in China I was leading in 2010 leading to a slow withdrawal from the paid labour front and giving me more time to enjoy the stretch of country between the Carpathians (where I summer) and the Balkans (where I winter) and to read, write……and muse…..
And last year I collected the year’s posts, put them in chronological order and wrote both a Preface and Introduction for In Praise of Doubt – a blogger’s year which tried to answer such questions why anyone should be bothered to read my material – and also why some of us have developed this blogging habit -

My claim for the reader’s attention is simply expressed – 
·       experience in a variety of sectors (and countries) – each closely manned with “gatekeepers” whose language and rules act to exclude us
·       the compulsion (from some 50 years), to record what I felt were the lessons of each experience in short papers
·       Long and extensive reading
·       A “voice” which has been honed by the necessity of speaking clearly to audiences of different nationalities and class
·       intensive trawling of the internet for wide range of writing
·       notes kept of the most important of those readings
·       shared in hyperlinks with readers

I confess somewhere to an aversion to those writers (so many!) who try to pretend they have a unique perspective on an issue and whose discordant babble make the world such a difficult place to understand. I look instead for work which, as google puts it, builds on the shoulders of others……my role in a team is that of the resource person….who finds and shares material….

Perhaps my father’s hand is evident in the format and discipline of the blogpost – he was a Presbyterian Minister who would, every Saturday evening, take himself off to his study to anguish over his weekly sermon which he would duly deliver from the pulpit the next morning……Arguably indeed the dedication given these past 7 years to the blog is a form of “giving of account” or justification of one’s life!!  I have grown to appreciate the discipline involved in marshalling one’s thoughts around a theme (in my father’s case it was a biblical quotation).

I rather like the format of a blogpost of some 700 words (at most a couple of pages). Management guru Charles Handy famously said that he had learned to put his thoughts in 450 words as a result of the “Thought for the Day” BBC programme to which he was a great contributor.

For me a post written 4-5 years ago is every bit as good as (perhaps better than) yesterday’s - but the construction of blogs permits only the most recent posts to be shown. A book format, on the other hand, requires that we begin……at the beginning ... It also challenges the author to reflect more critically on the coherence of his thinking ……. 

The photo is of a new Bekhiarov I acquired this week (with, lower, the first one I bought from this great BG realist) - both from the great Absinthe water colour gallery in Sofia where I found this week a wonderful 400 page catalogue of the International Watercolour Society's 2016 exhibition in Varna - with a superb global collection. This is their 2013 catalogue


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. while I appreciate (particularly positive) feedback,this is beginning to look too much like "produce placement"!
    It would be nice to know a bit more about why readers find particular posts interesting......