Australian LitBlog Snapshot #3 - Matt

Matt writes the Happy Antipodean weblog out of Sydney, and has been known to post comments on this weblog from time to time. He doesn't restrict himself to one genre or another; recent posts have covered Chinese pornography, readings from Paradise Lost, and works by Freud and Orwell. He's idiosyscratic and opinionated - the way all good bloggers should be. You don't have to agree with all of it, and Matt probably wouldn't like it if you did.

1. How would you describe your weblog to someone who wasn't at all sure what this blogging business is about?

Not all bloggers are the same. Which is a blessing because otherwise the web would be a boring place.

Not all bloggers are different. God knows there are enough geniuses in the world. But there are definitely too many careful bloggers.

Good luck to them, I say.

My blog started at a time of calm. It started at the same time as postgraduate study and continued past the award of my masters.

I love to criticise. I love to praise.

At the time I thought it would be fun to participate in a world of ideas. It seemed that the paradigm of the editorial god and the adoring addicts could be broken like a sappy twig.

But sometimes it just bends. Full participation in the public sphere demands active participants.

I mostly blog about books. After reading one I sit down at the keyboard and tap
out a post.

It's part of the reading process now. I certainly express an opinion but I take pride in always retailing in each book's merits.

People are lazy and companies exploit the stickiness of predictability. The most interesting blogs are not necessarily the most popular.

Publishers quickly understood this and most bloggers can relish the opportunity to do nothing else. Greed is an uneasy housemate in the mind's mansion, though - to be sure - not all can afford a residence as ample as Strawberry Field.

Blogging is mainly about writing. Don't blog if you're not into writing. Most important - what I go for - is being happy with your own results.

The apt phrase, the concision of afterthought, the dynamics generated by dissimilar posts on consecutive days - these are my pleasures.

A torment is the lack of a spell checker in the Blogger interface. I often repost a dozen times in order to complete a single day's post. Two hundred words can easily take an hour to get up.

I stick to opinion - a baseline requirement. Since everyone has one, you'd say anyone can blog.

Writing is another thing entirely, however. Some have no aptitude, others less interest. Those in the latter category usually give up.

Those with interest but little aptitude can improve over time. But put simply: if you don't enjoy writing, don't blog. Build a vegie patch on the nature strip. Buy some chickens and throw up a coop on the veranda.

Esse quam videri.

2. Have there been any major changes in your weblog's direction, theme or subject since you started?

My first post was some rubbish but I soon moved into book reviews and I've stayed there since. I avoid a system and follow my reading, which is eclectic.

I have more Australian books as a percentage of the total than I did a year ago.

This choice is a sign of a contrary nature and not a penance or even a hobbyhorse. Admittedly some comments I made about being non partisan helped in questioning a lack of Oz lit knowledge.

I now have more Australian books - by my LibraryThing account ("Antipodean") - than American ones. I still have more British ones but this is an index of maturity.

Of course, you could say that ours - also - began in the late Renaissance. A book by Joseph Furphy is as thickly studded with quotes from Cowper and Scott as a book by George Eliot.

Australian literature is somewhat less than adequately lauded. A great many of 'our' writers are ignored by the countrymen and -women.

This is a shame. Miles Franklin is as great a writer as Somerset Maugham or Henry James. Native conservatism made her modify her talent and write fairly conventional stories.

She may be less flamboyant, but this is a stamp of the nation rather than an indication of a soft mind or a limp will.

She is as great a writer but not as great a stylist, an innovator. But peer into the water, past the pond's calm surface, and you see a welter of life.

Xenophobia is an issue with dead Australian writers. The stain of native anti-Semitism - just one, relatively visible, aspect of a still inhering xenophobia - cannot be removed until its extent is realised.

Exposure to the blogging world has changed my reading habits.

3. Do you have more books in your house than you can possibly read? If so, why?

Yes. I love books and always have. Well, not always. I started reading for pleasure quite late - at about 12 years of age.

4. If there were three things you'd like to include in your weblog if you had more time/money, what would they be?

Better writing. It takes time to write small and, unfortunately, I've only got so many hours in the day. I work full time and I need time just to fuck around a bit, even before blogging.

A certain slackness around the edges of a blog post is a virtue.

5. How would you eat an elephant?

I'd first shoot it like my grandfather's brothers did. He left Africa in his twenties and settled in Melbourne. A year later - in 1925 - he married Phyllis Elsie Pearl Caldecott.

My maternal grandmother loved elephants. She filled a display case made for our Sydney house, into which she had moved after abandoning her husband to his twin pleasures: the Carlton Football Club and a number of other - no doubt younger - women.

When granny died I was overseas but I returned briefly for the funeral. I wept because it was granny's bed we resorted to when, as children, we had nightmares.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 4, 2008 9:03 AM.

Australian Litblog Snapshot #2 - Karen Chisholm was the previous entry in this blog.

Review: Crooked by Camilla Nelson is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en