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Helena Pérez García, Bartleby

Penny designs all our web-related projects and we have recurring conversations—arguments would be too strong—about suitable analogies in thinking about blogs. These conversations arise, I freely admit, because I experience bouts of resistance, distaste, impulses to run the other way, whenever the formal requirements of the web-as-medium threaten to impinge, to control, to divert, to govern. At some deep level I refuse the logic of the medium. So, when confronted with the need to think about, and apply, categories, tags, key words, and the like, I am likely to say, with Bartleby the scrivener, I would prefer not to.

At which point Penny adduces the analogy of the library. What sort of library would it be, she will say, for which there are no search tools, no indexes, no cross-references? I think about this, or make a show of thinking about it, and reply that the library is the wrong analogy. The blog—my blog, that is to say—is not like a library at all. One should think of it instead as a collection of essays in a book.

What I have in mind, of course, is a battered Penguin picked up in a charity shop, by an author one has never heard of, with no more in the way of search tools than a table of contents, which one anyway ignores in favour of turning over pages until arrested by a turn of phrase or a reference to something interesting. I am saying that this is how I want readers to stumble on my blog. As I warm to the subject I will ask who anyway wonders what S.K.Johannesen might have to say about Scorsese’s films, say, or Norwegian Pentecostals. Nobody. That’s not how it works. No, my blog is a slim paperback, left behind in a bus shelter, as it were, picked up and handed around as a find, in a small circle of readers, a select company it goes without saying.

But this is all bluster, as Penny perfectly well knows. She does what needs to be done, with grace and efficiency. I am more grateful than I can say.