Samuel Pepys: Blogfather or patron saint?

Reading today’s Pepys diary entry, a thought occurs to me: is Pepys the patron saint of blogging? Is he the spiritual father? Or is he just my spiritual father?

A great while at my vial and voice, learning to sing “Fly boy, fly boy,” without book. So to my office, where little to do…and I to Mr. Wotton’s, and with him to an alehouse and drank while he told me a great many stories of comedies that he had formerly seen acted, and the names of the principal actors, and gave me a very good account of it.

Wintering—a novel (of/on/exploiting) Sylvia Plath

Kate Moses’s novel Wintering: A Life of Sylvia Plath uses Sylvia’s calendar, journal notes, and poems—especially poems—to novelize Sylvia’s life. According to the Salon interview.

How do I feel about this?

Let’s examine the last page of the excerpt published in Salon, specifically the last paragraph:

In the eye blink of a god, in a heartbeat, all that she clung to rises up with her like smoke, like ash, into the charged, dead air: The cakes of soap. Her wedding ring. His gold filling.

Hmm. Remind you of anything?

On the one hand, it’s really nice that someone is attempting to illuminate the interior chamber of Sylvia’s life. On the other hand, it’s a bit creepy, and more than a bit sad, that the best writing in the whole excerpt is a direct repurpose from her most strident poem. And that Moses had to work so hard to set up the “gold filling” part.

(On the other other hand, I think I need a “Books” category.)

Keiretsu check-in

Updates around my personal blogosphere:

Apophenia in our time

William Gibson’s book Pattern Recognition is still stirring my mind up. Perhaps in different ways than the author intended (warning: spoilers ahead). For instance, the book shows the recurrence of a theme in which the creator of art is profoundly disabled (cf. the pathologically mute Cornell box building artist-machine in Count Zero, and, if you stretch it, the AIs in Neuromancer who are really the only creative force in the book). Only the creator in PR doesn’t even finish her works; they’re completed, “rendered,” by prison labor after she lays out the initial strokes. This is almost certainly made necessary by the nature of the artist’s disability, but one wonders whether this reflects some sort of deepening cynicism of Gibson’s view of creativity: from the artist as black-box crazy robot to the artist as profoundly disabled savant who requires hordes of assistants to finish the task.

Okay, that was a little bleaker than I meant to make it, but I still wonder.

Anyway. For more speculation on PR’s themes, motifs, etc., check out the ‘PR’-otaku that Joe Clark (of Building Accessible Websites fame) is putting together. Also, be sure to keep checking Gibson’s own blog (and its attendant discussion forum, in which a listing of discussions of Gibson’s readings has sent me a bit of traffic recently).


  1. This was written earlier this morning but unpublished due to problems with my website’s back end.
  2. Apophenia means finding patterns that aren’t there.
  3. After writing this, I read the Gibson book discussion a little more deeply and found a thread in which someone made the same observation. If I’m seeing things that aren’t there, I’m not alone.