CTools is down, and with it access to the articles. CTools was up, about two hours ago, during which I had the retrospectively-fortunate opportunity to read “Why I Write,” “Why I Write,” and “Why I Blog,” by George Orwell, Joan Didion, and Andrew Sullivan, respectively.
I suppose in some respects this is a good thing, as I can now focus on my overall impressions of the writings, rather than feeling obliged to go back to each and pick out a quote from there to fill up space here.
In my view, Sullivan’s piece stood above the others in quality as much as it did in length. I appreciated his introduction–complete with personal anecdotes–in which he provided a history of blogging as well as its revolutionary impact on the world of writing. Also interesting were his observations on the differences between the blog writer and the traditional media writer: how the former is less insulated from his readers, and therefore more accountable, than the latter; how ability for instant publication brings out the personality of the former while the lack thereof can stifle that of the latter; how the inevitable spirit of competition among those of the latter corresponds, remarkably, to an equally-necessary spirit of community among those of the former; and how, precisely because of these differences, the former can never replace the latter, and vice versa. Perhaps initially counter-intuitive, Sullivan’s explications of these surprising statements eventually make their veracity obvious, and with it, the answer to the question in his title.
In contrast, neither “Why I Write” essays approached this fundamental question with the same directness as did Sullivan’s “Why I Blog.” Joan Didion’s ending, admittedly, was very clever and the personal background in George Orwell’s introduction very eye-opening. Nevertheless, I think my relative dislike for these pieces when compared to Sullivan’s piece stems from my personal bias as a writer away from wandering personal narratives in freestyle form and toward direct arguments in parallel sentence structure.
We’ll see if that changes as the semester progresses…