Monday, 8 January 2007

The Blog Archipelago

An Archipelago:
That's what we are, tiny islands adrift in the great ocean of the web's wide world.
Although I'm new to the business of bloggery, I'm not new to blogs. I've been wandering, watching, reading, enthralled, for a longer time than I remember.
Long ago, I ditched my television, because there were just too many channels not worth watching.
There were some good things too, but generally I don't miss it.
I find the written word has better pictures, anyway.

I sail alone upon this imaginary ocean, I could be like Captain Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail, single handed around the earth. -In a boat he built for himself, felling the trees, forging the fittings.

I sail, making landfall at enticing islands, I stay, linger, read, sample the produce, make a new friend, perhaps, and then I row back out to my sturdy ship, hoist the anchor, set the sail.
Sometimes, at an island, I find recommendations for other islands to visit, and I mark my chart accordingly, at other times I'll sail beneath the stars, listening for surf. One day I might find your island. I'll admire your grass hut, try that hammock by the beach, read your words.
Perhaps I'll swim to my boat for ink and a quill, on your beach I'll peel a strip from the paperbark tree and write my little message. Perhaps I'll still be in the lagoon when you return, and we'll chat, become friends before the tide draws me away.
Along the way, I consign my scribbles to the waves, tight-corked in bobbing bottles. Who knows where they will find landfall, who knows what waifs or beachcombers will open and read.
In the night, my ship comes oft to my own island, or maybe my island follows. I sit at my own driftwood fire, writing my thoughts, for anyone and nobody to read. I pin them to the side of my hut, and, hearing the call of the whales, return to the sea.
When I come again to my island, I remark, with glee, your footprints in the sand. I hope you found fruit and food aplenty, refilled your casks with sweet water, rested in the hammock, sampled the wine, picked through my book-case, I hope the lamps were lit, and you left refreshed.
Perhaps you read my words, and found the pens and paper, on the table, and perhaps you left your thoughts, pinned there. Maybe you scratched graffiti on my wall. Or took a trinket. Maybe you just moved a chessman, and smiled.
I'm not sure why I am voyaging, except for the idea that there's always something to be discovered beyond the next horizon.
How about you? What calls you to the keyboard? to the little glowing box, the window into these myriad worlds? Do tell, I really really do want to know.
I'm not sure why I am here, but on my travels I've met some good friends. People who I'll never touch, but friends all the same, I've been shown new music, art, poetry, and I've read things that make me laugh, things that make tears spring in my eyes. Just as if I were truly travelling.

John Donne wrote:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

We bloggers are not the islands, we inhabit them; also we roam, befriending some, shunning others. We are travellers in the web, interlinked, interwoven, in designs more complex than we can grasp. We can come together, on one beach, and party as a group of friends, or retire to our own island, solitary, perhaps, but never alone, for out there, we can see the twinkling lights of each other's fires, the glows of the lamps beneath which we all write.

Leave a few words, traveller, I thank you for visiting.

Update. May 30th, 2007:

In my imagined world of the blog archipelago, the lights on a friendly island have winked out. A patch of darkness, a sense of loss."

The death of a blogger.
'Dodderyoldfart' of
When I wrote the post above, I never imagined this.

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