We came, we saw, we blogged

Members of the Algonquin Round Table

Bet they would’ve made great bloggers! Left to right: Algonquin Round Table members Art Samuels, Charles McArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

By now, I’ve spent many hours in the blogosphere, writing my own posts as well as reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. It’s always interesting to see the multiple ways that others view blogging. One blogger said this week, “I blog, therefore I am.” It’s an interesting twist on the proverb “I think, therefore I am” by French philosopher René Descartes.

Another blogger I’ve read compared blogging to the book 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. In this book, New York writer Helene Hanff corresponded with Frank Doel over the course of 20 years. Frank Doel was the chief buyer for Marks and Company, a London bookshop that Helene Hanff used for finding obscure classic novels and British books not available in the U.S. (Amazon wasn’t around then, so people actually used — gasp! — snail mail.) Frank and Helene wrote witty letters back and forth, and Helene gradually became involved in the lives of Frank and the others who worked in the bookstore. Due to life events, Frank and Helene never got to meet in person, similar to us bloggers. (For movie lovers, the book was converted into a 1987 movie with Anne Bancroft as Helene Hanff and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Frank Doel. Oh, yeah.)

I have alternate views of the blogosphere. When I first started blogging, going into the blogosphere reminded me of the first time that I traveled abroad. You learn a foreign language (in this case, terms like pingback, trackback and Freshly Pressed) as well as the customs of the blogging culture. Once you’ve been there for a while, you adapt and it feels more comfortable. And when others ask you about the world of blogging, you translate the terms for them.

Going through the Reader is different. (For the non-bloggers reading this post, the Reader is a section of the WordPress website where you can read blog posts as they’re published. The Reader is organized into different categories such as Art, News, Books and so on.) When I explore the Reader, it’s as if I’m strolling along the main street of a small town, where there are shops offering their wares. Bloggers worldwide provide tempting blog posts to read as I wander down the virtual “street,” but I only stop at some of them due to time limitations. Write a comment or click on a “like” at somebody’s blog? Okay, I don’t mind if I do. And if I like the blog, I follow it to become a regular visitor.

Ultimately, I’d say that blogging is the ultimate version of the Algonquin Round Table to me. The Algonquin Round Table was a group of New York writers, journalists, actors, playwrights and other people who met daily for lunch and witticisms at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City between 1919 and 1929. The group included famous literary and theatrical people such as Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott and Harpo Marx.

I compare blogging to the Algonquin Round Table is that here in the blogosphere, it’s a similar situation. Each blogger has something to say and everybody interacts on an equal level, no matter what culture the blogger comes from or what age the blogger may be.

Most of all, I love the support that bloggers show one another by sharing information, educating each other or mentioning other bloggers on their own blogs. These helping hands from across the country and across the world inspire me.

Helping hands

The helping hands of other bloggers! Image courtesy of grietgriet, Morguefile.

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “We came, we saw, we blogged

  1. I completely agree. That has been the nicest surprise since I started blogging. It makes it so fun!!

  2. Blogging is a gigantic tiny community, isn’t it?

    I ate dinner next to the Algonquin Round Table once. I could feel the ghosts. Gave me a little thrill. They would have been great bloggers. I’d follow them!

  3. I’m in raptures thinking about the Algonquin Round Table blogging, and it seems Alexander Woolcott is with me in spirit today. I’ve been culling through my library in an attempt to conquer the pile and realized I owned three copies of Shouts and Murmurs.

    And thank you for your kind remarks about my recent hiatus and all of your other remarks on my blog. It’s been fun and feedback can be such a high.

    Now I need to re-read Shouts and Murmurs to get back into snark mode.

  4. Great post, I really enjoyed it. Bloggers have taken over from letter writers. We are the new historians. Writing about everyday life from different perspectives. 🙂

  5. Hey, I really like this here nifty blog. Thanks!

  6. Great post. I didn’t even know how to send an e-mail when I started writing a blog (I didn’t know what a blog was) so I got a young friend to set me up and I just sat and clicked things until I worked out what to do. Now I love it and don’t know what I did before. I like the way it makes me more observant when I travel or just walk around my own area, but most of all I like the people I have met along the way.

  7. I’ve been surprised at how fun blogging is; it is its own virtual world.

  8. Can I be your Dorothy Parker — though I am not half so clever or daring or smart — okay, I will be Toto the dog, a new addition to the Al Table.

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog, and very nice post!

  10. I love being part of this blogging community that transcends geographical boundaries!

  11. lectorconstans

    I can’t agree with the comparison of blogging with “84 Charing Cross” (which I read and enjoyed immensely a few decades ago). “84” is a correspondence between two people and there are many such — I just read Conan Doyle’s “Letters” (to lots of people, mainly friends and relatives).

    The blogging model is: one writer, in a more-or-less public forum, with many respondents, and discussions starting with the writer’s topic and usually spreading far afield.

    As an aside, Mel Brooks so liked the book that he bought it for his wife, Anne Bancroft. Not just the book, the rights to the book, which led to the movie, starring (no surprise) Bancroft and Hopkins — probably as close to the real Doel as possible.

    As for the Algonquin Round Table analogy, I’d say that’s spot-on. I knew about Parker, Benchley, & etc., but Harpo is a surprise. Evidently, he really did talk in real life.

    And that was the era when famous writers lived in hotels. Evidently hotels were a bit cheaper in those days, and maybe the writers were too poor to buy houses…..

    • I take your point. I’m of the opinion that the blogger I quoted was referring to the fact that Helene Hanff and Frank Doel never met in person, although Helene did get to meet Frank’s wife (at least in the movie; I don’t remember if it happens in the book because it’s been so long since I read it). It is definitely one thing to trade opinions with other bloggers you may never meet and another to do so in person, to my mind. Perhaps we feel a bit less self-conscious behind our keyboards?

      I didn’t know about Mel Brooks getting the rights to the book, but that’s a great anecdote. Thanks for that tidbit.

  12. Brilliant post. 🙂

  13. Enjoyed reading this post, Editor. I have not used the Reader very much, but liked your analogy of strolling down the Main Street of a town. Those helping hands are so inspirational. What would we do without our blogging community?

    • Good question, Kathy. If a blogging community did not exist, I’m thinking we would all find somewhere else to hang out. Me, I’d be hanging out with my literary-minded friends at places like Starbucks or by the sides of lakes, sipping hot drinks, munching on nibbles and pondering between ourselves about who is the best literary hero — Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester or Henry Tilney.

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