Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Samuel Pepys

The Patron Saint of us web-loggers...

Pronounce after me: "Peeps".. That's right.. "Peeps"
After what I have brainloaded these last weeks on "Restoration" I felt comfortable enough to go to my bookshelves looking for the biography on Samuel Pepys (pronounce "peeps") I knew I had bought sometime ago. Not only I found Claire Tomalin's "Samuel Pepys - The unequalled self" delicious reading but I wrote a quite nice blogtext about it. Suddenly, catastrophe! At the very last turn of the publishing process, with checkspelling completed and last editing touches firmly behind me , I had the terror-inducing "system failure" message on the screen.
The text went AWOL, un-saved, in the electronic ether. No matter how many hacker-like techniques I tried to retrieve the bloody text (if the Right Honourable Reader can pardon my French) I failed to resuscitate those eloquent and elegant paragraphs. Joder! I had tried to establish the Doctrine of Diaries-Writing, the Methodology on Private Journals, the ToolBox on Web-Log Memorializing. All that is lost forever. I'm afraid I don't have either the moral stamina or the Alzheymer-free memory brain-cells of my Youth to attempt at writing it again, all over again.
My point was - that at least I can recall - that Pepys cannot be taken as a avant-la-lettre blogger, as some are claiming. Let us not forget that he wanted to be able to write down whatever crossed his mind (including exactly how his mano (sic) and a certain female friend's chose (sic) were establishing contact). He might have liked posterity to acknowledge his literary tour de force but he was careful in preventing his activity as a diarist to be known. His was a secret Journal, not a Rich&Famous diary for a glossy magazine. Nor a writer's Journal for future use (like in Evelyn Waught's technique to start a new novel, for example). And he lacked the social self-assurance and the enormous ego of the former British Cabinet Minister Alan Clark to contemplate a "publish and be damned"-attitude to his personal diaries.
World-wide-webbing one's daily whereabouts requires near-exhibitionist's skills.. I am quite sure Pepys would not have fitted in that mould. He was no blogger then, but rather a highly remarkable specimen of a very close species...

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