I've always enjoyed reading collections of random writings;
"A Bee in the Kitchen" by H F Ellis (find out about him here) was one of my first introductions to the joys of the short well-constructed, piece of prose.
Bernard Levin' collected articles "Speaking Out" and so on - always brought a deeper level of understanding of the implications under the surface of the incident (Oh, how I miss that television programme, "Face the Music" with Joseph Cooper, Robin Ray, Joyce Grenfell Richard Baker and Bernard Levin. I miss it, miss it, miss it. Memo to self; can one buy recordings?)
Alison Utterly (an almost exact contemporary of my grandmother, I discovered from this) "Recipes from a Country Kitchen" and "A Country Child"
Garrison Keillor "Lake Woebegon Days"
Clive James "Cultural Amnesia", which I am reading now, and is in a different class to other collections of bits and pieces as it is so intense, so FULL of meanings, that a couple of pages blows my brain.
It's not quite the same as reading a diary (Kilvert, Edwardian Lady, Adrian Mole) although these too, at their best, are short, snapshot, vivid writings.
I find I can only read these collections in short bursts.
It is like reading poetry; you should really only read one or two poems at a time in order to find the inner lines, the cunning construction, the real purpose of the words.
It is like eating something strongly flavoured, or intensely sweet, or darkly chocolated, or delicately spiced.
It is like listening to "real" music, composed with intelligence and passion, played with articulation and communication and care.
It is like properly looking at a picture, following the lines, absorbing the colours and shapes, delving into the meaning.
Skim-reading, background music, food-for-refuelling all have their place in this world, I suppose, but their are wasteful ways to consume true art.
PS by "real" music, I don't mean exclusively "classical"!
What has this to do with blogs?
I was just wondering, at the start of all this rattling through the keys, if the best blogs were not a natural successor to the essays, diaries, collected articles, that were published in books and papers and periodicals, before this blogging revolution got underway.
You have to kiss an awful lot of frogs to find your prince, they say (I think I found mine after just one or two, so I struck lucky. Prince, that is). What would be the same kind of phrase with regard to blogs, I wonder.
PPSS And what is the equivalent phrase for princesses? I'll ask twitter.