Saturday, January 9, 2010

Am I a Snob?

When I wrote my last blog post a few minutes ago, on the outer margin where ads lurk was a notice that bloggers can turn their posts into a book--hardcover or paperback--and I shuddered in what was almost a spasm.

I use several blogs, as a notebook, as a way to show and tell my friends and family what I have seen, as a private, invisible Hyde Park, as a place to put book reviews and publicize my own book. A blog is a place where writers can chat, quickly, off-the-cuff, and without revision. There is little sweat involved, no blood and rarely tears--all of which are prodigally spent when a book is written.

This new enticement to people who blog makes a vanity press look good. At least finished manuscripts are submitted in varying degrees of competency to those who are paid to publish them--not a rapid outpouring of quick thoughts on a multiplicity of subjects served up in a few words.

I know there are books--and good books--that have been born from a blog, and that many good writers use blogs as a tool. I also know that before those books go out into the world, they have been written and rewritten and shaped and burnished and torn apart and put back together. This is what writers do--this is what writing is. Blogs are a valuable five-finger exercise but they in their raw form do not make a manuscript, and anyone who implies that they might should be locked in a room with only bound and printed blog posts to read for the rest of his or her natural life.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

美麗的事物是永恆的快樂,它的可愛日有增加,不會消逝而去..................................................

Tokyo Ern said...

Oh my, I've read some blogs that have become books and they were really, really bad.

janet brown said...

Google translated Anonymous's comment as "Beautiful things are eternal happiness, it's lovely and Japan have increased, will not fade away"--very pretty even if the relevance is a bit shaky.

Tokyo Ern said...

The only reason I didn't translate it is because it's written in Chinese.

janet brown said...

Yes that's what I used in Google and was charmed to see it was about Japan.

Kim said...

In response to Ernie's comment, Julie & Julia is a perfect example of a decent blog becoming a bad book!

janet brown said...

Good point, but its financial success is hardly going to deter blogs from becoming books.

mlaiwong said...

Sorry that I just started to roam on your blog today. found these comment about Google's translation. It was way off that it even mentioned Japan. Dear Janet, the meaning has nothing to do with Japan. The translation should be "Beautiful things are eternal happiness, it's lovely and increase day by day, never fade away"

Janet Brown said...

That's really lovely, Michelle. How did Google get Japan in there I wonder?