Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Getting better

What is it about a brush with mortality and a few days of submergence in the weird underworld of hospitals, doctors and industrial-strength drugs that brings out the very best in bloggers? First there was this classic Barista post, and now my friend Stephanie, in much the same newly-convalescent condition, reflects over at Humanities Researcher on her own experiences.

I remember from my academic days someone giving a research seminar on pathographies -- 'narratives of illness and cure'. Maybe one reason such writing tends to the dramatically good is that narrative and illness have similar trajectories: up or down, depending on genre, and punctuated by what the writing dudes call plot points, the moments of crisis where things will turn one way or the other. The very nature of the experience gives the writing a natural shape.

Maybe blogging is a particularly good mode for such experience; bloggers can write it and readers can read it almost in real time, recording and following the trajectory of the experience as it happens, and very likely even in an interactive way -- so that the act of blogging itself is therapeutic, and the responses from concerned and attentive readers maybe even more so.


Zoe said...

I agree completely about the quality of the writing. It's their clarity and ability to distill their thoughts so precisely, combined with the great talent they started with.

And you know, I have been avidly watching for Stephanie to post again, but felt awkward commenting, that same awkwardness of illness, but because I don't know her, and she writes so intimately. It's weird isn't it? I shall go and comment immediately!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you have both said, and I also think we can and should honour the decisions of seriously ill people who don't blog about their illnesses. Even though by definition we won't know who those people are.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hell yes. I mean, hell no.

Blogging seems to me to be very personality-specific -- good for some, no good (maybe even bad) for others. This would go double for illness/cure blogging, I should think.

Lucy Sussex said...

OK what's my current project then--seaographies? Can't use oceanography, it's taken.

Lucy Sussex

Pavlov's Cat said...

Thalassographies? Steeragographies? Marine Life Writing?

I think you should write a guest post for Sars about this project. Let me know and I'll book you in for a Tuesday.

Anonymous said...