As I browsed the last bookstore after the last author event, of the
Belfast Book Festival, I happened on a book about the photography of Stanley Rosenfeld, the premier yacht photographer of his day. Inside the jacket was an inscription that spoke to the notion that the camera’s lens looks in two directions. The photographer produces an image, and the image tells us something of the photographer.
Viewers study the image for its originality, then for its artistry and for its effect on the apses and naves of the brain. And, later, for what the subject reveals about the photographer, who chose the topic and treatment.
This prompted me to realize the essayist’s keyboard is the analogue of the camera. The content he writes stirs, reveals, provokes, engages, and baits the reader to new places in his mind. Equally, the selection of the subject and the slant of the sentences uncloaks the anonymity of the author.
I remember reading that William Faulkner said of himself that he was a shy person and so began to write books to people. A printed book has a one-direction quality to it, separating the minds of the reader and the writer.
Bloggers, esp those who invite dialogue have democratized the art of the essay.
The comment feature of blogs has blurred the line of authorship of the blog.
Commenters add substance to the blog and thereby enrich it. Commenters come out from undercover and disclose their personalities, characters, points-of-view and prejudices by which topics spur them to response and by what they have to say.
As a writer who parts with anonymity reluctantly, I find it more than a fair trade for the insights my readers, whether friends of long standing, recently acquired, or unknown to me altogether.
I follow and comment on a couple of dozen blogs. I have enjoyed learning of another dimension of the folks who write them. Three of the four listed below are written by personal friends.
Alon Shalev blogs about social justice at (http://leftcoastvoices.wordpress.com/author/leftcoastvoices/)
Pat Bean blogs about RV Travel, Nature, and birding at (http://patbean.wordpress.com)
Thomas Burchfield—prize-winning horror novelist– shares his literary perspectives (http://tbdeluxe.blogspot.com/)
Tanya Grove whose a light-heart blog touches on whatever is amusing her at the moment. (http://tanyagrove.wordpress.com/)