I am using my first post to explain to my as yet non-existent readers what the purpose of this blog will be.
As a final year English Literature student at university, I’m at that scary stage in my life where I have no idea where I’m headed next. At the moment I’m torn between going down the academic route, and bumming around drinking coffee and writing essays for at least four more years until I have an impressive array of letters next to my name but at least a hundred grand in debt, or going out into the real world and getting a proper career, which may be soul-crushing but at least will allow me to live in a nice flat in London and go shopping a lot. Either way, I know that the only thing I really want to do is write. Whether I’m writing a novel, a short story, an essay, a blog post or even just a letter or email to someone, I adore writing and I can’t think of anything worse than if someone forbade me to write. It’s the only way I can see myself making a difference in the world.
In spite of this, my muse is a fickle creature. I want to write, but when I sit down to do it, I’m a bit tired or hungry, or I have a slight headache, or there is some work I really should be doing, or I wanted to watch that thing on BBC iPlayer. I end up writing far less than I should do considering I want to make a career out of it. So this blog is firstly a way or forcing myself to write. I’m going to pretend it’s an imaginary university assignment and that I have to update it hopefully at least once a week.
Secondly, I’m worried that if I don’t take the academic route – which I probably won’t, as the thought of having to give a lecture or lead a seminar nauseates me slightly – I will become a dead-eyed commuter, cut off from the world of literature I love so much. I wish university never had to end, but it does. That doesn’t mean I have to stop learning and educating myself, though; university provides a structure in which to do that, but if I have the initiative I can do that in my own time, too, without any pressure or deadlines. I therefore plan to write a little review or essay on every book I read as well as showcasing my writing.
I don’t want my ‘essays’ to be stuffy, boring and inaccessible though, like the articles you read in the TLS. Last year I bought a couple of issues of a quarterly called Slightly Foxed, which describes itself as ‘the real reader’s quarterly’. It contains lots of short articles about books, but they’re not necessarily written by academics – they’re by people of all ages who simply love books. These people write in a warm, personal way about books that have meaning for them, and it’s not always ‘high’ literature; sometimes it’s just books they read as a child. It’s all printed on creamy paper in a lovely little booklet with gorgeous illustrations. I’d really recommend it, although I couldn’t afford to keep up my subscription. Anyway, I want my blog to be a little bit like Slightly Foxed – readable and with a personal touch.
I’ll probably ending posting a little bit about my life as well, because if a blog is going to have a personal touch, you need to know who the person writing it is. My life tends to be quite inane and uneventful, though, so I won’t bore you with the details of what I had for dinner last night too much.
That’s all for now. I probably won’t be posting here for a while, and when third-year work gets too heavy I’ll most likely abandon it for a period, but I thought I’d write a little something while I’m still feeling inspired!