What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking through them.
Easter Sunday, April 20, 1919
Virginia Woolf again? Don’t worry—I’m not pulling a “Julie and Julia” and my name doesn’t start with “V.” In wondering what this blog will contain, though, I can’t help but include this quote because, in her inimitable style, Woolf has encompassed so much about personal writing in so few words.
Woolf imagined her diary as “loose knit” but not “slovenly.” By “slovenly” did Woolf mean “written in haste without sufficient editing” or perhaps “written without proper attention to detail, without providing enough depth to create a coherent meaning”? Both of these shortcomings are found in journalism today, yet when information comes in such short forms, like blogs, such problems are hard to avoid.
I’m blogging in part because I want to experience what blogging can be as a form and a genre. Unlike blogs, most diaries aren’t written for someone else to read (see Louise Erdrich’s latest novel Shadow Tag for a plot that hinges on deceptive diary keeping and peeping). I’ve been journaling simultaneously in multiple journals for years but never for pubic consumption. How will (hopefully) having readers change how and about what topics I write?
“Capacious hold-all” is my favorite phrase for personal writing like journals, diaries, and blogs that are consecutively and consistently written. I see this blog as a “hold-all” for my ideas about women’s writing and my experiences as a women in her 50s who writes, reads, farms, teaches, cooks, knits, and organizes community in various ways, a woman who is transitioning from one career to many interesting and satisfying occupations, as in “things that occupy my time,” including pearlmoonplenty.