Monday, June 11, 2007

My Blog Goes Broadsheet

What an odd thing to open up the Sunday Age and find myself in it yesterday! Not that it was a surprise, of course, but it did still feel odd.

Amanda had asked me to write something about having breast cancer, and I decided to write about the Humanities Researcher blog. I can link to the online text here but unfortunately this is a garbled version. Several paragraphs and parts of paragraphs in the middle have been jumbled around, and various parts are in roman type that should be in italics. I'll see what I can do about getting this sorted out, or arranging some other kind of e-print access over the next few days.

Once I had written the essay, it was then time for the hilarious one-hour session with the photographer on Wednesday. I said come to the house, thinking a garden shot would be the thing, but he spent most of the time in my study (because that's where a blogger writes, of course), trying to balance the interior and exterior light on a Melbourne winter's day. In the end, they have used one of the very first shots he took, while I thought he was still taking light readings, and before we thought about rolling out the rug that is rolled up to protect it from the dust and grit of the building going on in the roof (note the scaffolding outside the window). In the paper the photograph has a rather nice sepia effect, but it still looks a bit odd to me. Oh well. I can count on the fingers of one hand the photographs of myself I like.

It's been fantastic, yesterday and today, to hear from people in the comments box and by email and by phone. Lovely voices from the past; colleagues and students; other cancer patients and carers.

We've also had a fairly sociable Queen's birthday weekend, which has meant talking about blogging with people who don't normally read or write them. At one point Geoff and I were discussing the difference between blogging and diaries. I like Maria's explanation ('like a journal... but public... on the internet...no, not a person! etc), but what an odd space a blog occupies, somewhere in between private and public. Writing about blogging in a newspaper, and quoting from the blog, was something else again, and represents yet another shift of space. I feel very protective of the blog entries that I quoted as part of the article (and perhaps this is one reason why it disturbs me that the typographic distinction between blog entry and essay isn't always clear in the online version). And now that I have blogged about publishing about blogging, have I closed the self-referential loop, or just started a spiral?

11 comments:

genevieve said...

Definitely a spiral, upwards and out.
And my goodness, what a hash they have made of that online - having read it first in the paper, I didn't reread it through after I found the link, I just sent it straight over to Kerryn without checking. One assumes these newspapers publish the same thing wherever they are, doesn't one?
They should fix that up for you pronto, it's not a very good job at all.

In spite of this, your article is magnificent, Stephanie, easily one of the best I've seen, and in its full version definitely showcasing the very best blogging can offer as life writing. Really beautiful, and so wonderful to know you have had a reasonably happy ending to your treatment, too.

whitebait said...

Whitebait has become a bit erratic in his newspaper reading habits lately, Stephanie, so it was a delight to randomly buy Sunday's Age and find your terrific piece in there.

In fact Whitebait was almost as rapped by the article as he was on discovering a couple of posts ago that you are a Bombers supporter :-) The excellent things you learn via those incidental blog digressions indeed.

WhatLadder said...

Just adding my two cents about the article and your blog (but mainly your blog) being the awesomesauce. It's a pity about the formatting, but forewarned it isn't impossible to work out.

meli said...

Great article, Stephanie, even if they did manage to mix it up a bit. The Bronti sisters seem to have created quite a stir.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks, all.

"Awesomesauce"!! how come I can never think up great words like this?

And yes, Whitebait, looks like an interesting season for once. Must try and get to one more game this year to bid a fond farewell to the beautiful Sir James. (Still remember Sheedy describing him once as a Braveheart!)

Lisa said...

Reading your article and then coming here to your blog probably makes me a hundred times more likely to think about breast cancer and empathise than seeing springwater with pink caps for sale or buying a pink ribbon on whatever day they get sold.

Admire the way you have turned your story of something in itself negative into something positive that readers can learn from and contribute to!!

WhatLadder said...

Just so you know, the opposite of awesomesauce is weaksauce.

Eileen Joy said...

Stephanie--I've just written a post at In The Middle, "Au Revoir Nos Vie Prive?", which relates to your various posts about "personalised blogging" and also plugs your blog as a whole in relation to a program that aired this week on National Public Radio on the supposed "end of the private self" [thanks, again supposedly] to Internet blogging, live-journaling, etc. Cheers, Eileen

Alan Heah said...

Hello Stephanie,

My younger brother Andy, who now
works in Hobart, gave me a link to
the Sunday Age's article, from
which, after a quick search, I came
to this blog.

I applaud this meaningful work in
words, that you do here. Our late
mother departed swiftly last year,
from fast brain cancer, but in our
coming to terms, grieving for her,
our surviving family, including my
wife and our little son, have found
new wellsprings of emotional and
spiritual richness.

May this always be true for those
fighting the good campaign against
all illness. :-)

Stephanie Trigg said...

Eileen, thanks for the alert. As you've seen, I've hopped in to the discussion at In the Middle, which is lively and fun, as always...

Alan, thank you for this. Your story reminds me once more that my own brush with ill-health has been so much less serious than many others'; but I do still agree that mortality -- our own, or that of those close to us -- does force us to think a little more carefully about how we live. I send warmest wishes for your family.

Sam Grumont said...

My wife and I read your article in the Sunday Age and I intended replying then but procrastination took over.

My wife, Pat, has had breast cancer and a masectomy and I knew that when she read your piece exactly which part would grab her; It was when you described your mother sewing the handkerchief which you took into surgery. I asked Pat what she thought of the article and she said, "I cried when I read the bit about her mother." When Pat was 22 her mother died and it's moments like the one you described that the sense of loss of love and sharing returns.

Thanks for the piece and it is the telling detail that is always so powerful in good writing.