28th May, 3pm-4pm, Melbourne Town Hall.
“Blogging” panel, “In Conversation” with Jessica Au and Philip Thiel.
Philip Thiel leans back in his chair, sinking his teeth into the pork terrine he made after the i ching told him to “make a pork cake”. He clearly enjoys it – he doesn’t look like a man who over-indulges in a good terrine, and I wonder how big the whole dish was and what percentage of it he ate. Whether the i ching told him that, or if it was just a question of his own will-power.
My own will-power has told me not to indulge in the pork terrine – it’s tied up with what I had for breakfast. I had a $1 coffee from 7Eleven, which I still don’t think tastes as bad as $1 says it should, and I had a muesli bar with lots of nuts in it, and my body should take a long time to burn that off. And even though I’m taking the stairs, I doubt they provide the equivalent to “a workout”. And this is why I say “no thanks” to Philip Thiel’s pork terrine, despite how amazing it looks. Because, you know, that’s a valid thing to blog about.
The panel raises questions about self-censorship, and the encouraging consensus seems to be that while social networking and blogging are mediums rife with over-sharing, this is actually what we enjoy reading. Someone mentions that they read fourfour because they like the guy’s cat. In extremely weird circumstances someone mentions my blog without knowing I’m in the room – I wonder whether there’s some sort of personal thing here, equivalent to fourfour’s cat, which keeps her coming back?
I’ve recently discovered that personal non-fiction is enjoyable. Writing and reading. Pulling what you enjoy out of reading and putting it into your writing isn’t easy – why would anyone want to hear about what I had for breakfast? Sure, we care about fourfour’s cat, but if I had a cat it’d be boring. Right?
Nah. I recently wrote a piece about my brother and how I felt eating food he’d cooked for me. Turns out it’s one of the loveliest pieces I’ve ever written, and that’s because I allowed myself to think that interiority and my personal life is interesting.
Things carry some sort of heft when they’ve got the personal attached to them. And on blogs, this is super-important – it’s the personal stuff which helps make your voice your voice. It’s a medium where people actually come for that kind of content. And it’s incredibly enjoyable to write. It feels less starchy.
And so in writing a “review” or “wrap up” post for my day at the Emerging Writers’ Festival, I decided to blog about the thing I heard that made the deepest impression on me. Plenty of people could write any of the “And then he said…and she said…the next panel…” wrap-up posts I’m capable of writing, but the truth is they’re a bit boring. They’re dry. So here’s a post which includes what I had for breakfast yesterday. This morning, I just had blog for breakfast.