Thursday, January 31, 2013

"We take the fast and slow of it as it comes."

The picture is called PATIENCE.
Sometimes I think my blog should be called “The Story of my Life through Used Books.” Looking for something else tonight, I found the copy of the Dorothy Wordsworth's The Grasmere Journals that I bought two years ago. I was very happy to find it, since I have just started the new biography of Wordsworth, and the first part of the older one by Mary Moorman, which was recommended by the first one as having more information on his early life. Which made me think of Dorothy, as all good feminists do, now and then. I sat right down with it, having hours to go before I would miss the last day of blogging daily for a whole month! I was confronted immediately with the problem of an almost 20 year-old English paperback, which had never been read, turning yellow on a shelf somewhere without attention. It seemed as if the spine would crack when I opened it. But gently, I did so. The journal begins 14 May, 1800; but, first, there is the introduction.

This is the first paragraph of the Introduction, by the editor of the Journals, Pamela Woof. Just Woof. It made me think about blogging. See what I mean?

“There is simply nothing like it anywhere else. The Journal calls out to us directly across almost 200 years, and the writer and her world come alive. It sometimes moves in little rushes when days can be noted with a staccato speed; it sometimes slows down to linger on a single figure: a beggar woman, a leech-gatherer, a child catching hailstones at a cottage door, a bow-bent postman with his little wooden box at his back, an old seaman with a beard like gray plush; it sometimes slows to linger on a whole scene: a funeral, or children with their mother by a fire, or a lakeshore on a windy day with daffodils, or a man with carts going up a hill and a little girl putting stones behind the wheels. It sometimes almost stops as the ear catches a ticking watch, a page being turned over, and the breathing of the silent reader by the fire; and then it starts off again at a great pace with the planting and mending and baking and washing and reading and writing and walking and talking, all the weather and the work crammed into a little space of words. Dorothy Wordsworth had her times for noticing, remembering, and writing, and her times for doing. There are no rules and structures for diary writers, as there are not for living: we take the fast and slow of it as it comes.”
 page ix
I think this is a lot like the sort of blog I am interested in. I also think that the above paragraph by Pamela Woof is a masterful example of the uses of English punctuation to write about things in a varied series. There are lots of useful commas, with a sprinkling of colons and semi-colons in just the right places. Read it again, looking at each punctuation mark consciously.

This is the place where I pat my own back for blogging every day this month!! Scarcely hoping to believe--because the last three years have been poor blog ones, I began. I guess for me it has to be every day or be put aside. But it is feeding my interest now and I hope to manage this whole year.

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