Monday, November 2, 2009

Away for three months, to restore myself

My dear family, students, friends and colleagues,

You who follow my blog may have noticed that I have not been posting every Sunday, as I promised. For example, my last post was on 4 October, that is, four weeks ago.

A few of you have called or emailed to find out if I have been unwell. Thank you for your concern. I have not been posting regularly, because I have been pre-occupied with a personal assignment that takes a lot of my thinking time and energy.

Writing is strenuous. Moreover, since I expect that my own work be an example of what I preach and teach in class -– writing with nouns and verbs, NOT with adjectives and adverbs –- writing drains me.

But life in the blogosphere is even more tiring. When I started blogging on 2 October 2008, I found the Blogger software convenient. The template was easy to learn and use. And so I enjoyed myself. I still do.

But gradually, I got sucked into mediocre junk, the way children get seduced by fast food.


In his 1959 revision of William Strunk’s Elements of Style, E.B. White added a Chapter V, “An Approach to Style” (with a list of 21 reminders). Reminder 9 says, “Do not affect a breezy manner.” Here, White refers to a poem, “Spontaneous me”, and argues that “in his innocence”, Walt Whitman, “let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers” with their “uninhibited prose”.

When I read newspapers today, there is so much of breeze, wind and hot air, printed on their pages! No need to comment about the fluff and hype on TV.

For me, writing and reading as well as speaking and listening are two sides of the same coin: thinking. So blogging is not only about writing “Against the Tide”, but also about reading other blogs. And that seems to have taken a severe toll of my senses.

In my early exuberance, I read all the blogs as I strolled along, the way a child grabs at any toy within its ken. But I have realised I was straying into mediocre junk.

Sadder but wiser over the last year, I have decided to halt by the wayside. And slow down for the next three months. While I restore myself – with a personal assignment.

I shall, however, respond to ALL emails and messages on facebook. And like a street rag-picker, I shall scrounge through a few of your careful blogs, searching for …??? And when the urge takes hold of me, I shall post – but rarely.

Keep in touch. Resist the tide. Take care.

Your support is my strength.
- Joe.

Pune, India, Monday, 2 November 2009.