This week marked the fourth anniversary of Writing Privacy. Time for a long-overdue makeover, I thought. And perhaps more importantly, time for a change.
Believe it or not, it matters a great deal to me that I’ve written so little here this year. But I remain hopeful that scarcity might bring its own rewards and that when there is something worthwhile to say, it might be absorbed and appreciated.
It feels like the final chapter of my thesis, on Andrew Marvell’s ‘Poetics of Privacy’, has been a traumatic experience. Not simply because writing by day and by night on different subjects is gruelling, but because the private internal negotiations that Marvell constantly faced and the impossibility of choice he so often found himself with leave a man permanently trapped in a life that offers so little solace and almost nothing except a desperate rush towards the end.
Ideally, we want our lives to lead upwards trajectories. When somebody hits particular heights for themselves, they struggle to contemplate living within or below that potential. That’s the intricate psychology of accomplishment.
One of the most eye-catching details about Andrew Marvell was his lack of friends. On the one hand, who could blame all those who knew him? He was (or became) a private, suspicious man, angry and fractious at times. On the other hand, who could blame him? A few concerned observations on what media revolutions in the 1640s and 2000s mean for ‘friendship’.
Regular users of social media networks will no doubt have noticed – if their friends lists are anything like mine – that politics is again becoming a very public sport. Yesterday, a referendum was held on whether to adopt the ‘Alternative Vote’ system, turning social networking sites into moral and ideological crusades.
Last autumn, I wrote an article on blogging for everywoman, but it’s always easier to preach than to practice. Perhaps I can write convincingly on what makes a good blog, but can I practice it? Silent observations have made me think about what it takes to improve a quiet cornerstone like this page.
Timing is everything. I recently completed my first ever assignment as a freelance copywriter. As happy coincidences go, the same day saw a long overdue catch-up with expert of the trade, London based copywriter, Al Allday. Such meetings, I cannot deny, offer me a mixture of encouragement and trepidation. Our career paths lie roughly in …
J.W. Saunders’ study ‘The Stigma of Print’ (1951) touched an important nerve on the subject of publication. Despite claims that it became ‘unfashionable’ by the mid-seventeenth century, few demonstrate this ‘stigma’ more than Andrew Marvell in the early-modern period.