Blogging under the unlikely mentorship of Fanny Howe and Dag Hammarskjöld

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You may have noticed that I’m now using “Markings” as part of this blog’s URL and the tagline under my name. This blog used to be called "Just Thinking," named after my first book, and some of you reading now read it then - and I thank you for that. After my blog break in 2013 I removed that title and instead have been using only my name with the tagline: blog • notes • markings. I like this more open approach.

In Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation, Fanny Howe wrote, “The prose notebook is something else entirely, without repetition or revision included. It is antimemoir, a response to a day, and all the day produces by chance. It is in many ways the most radical form: a chronicle without a rhythm or a beat. Pure reflection, transparency. ... It is inherently anarchist." I think of this blog that way, as a prose notebook. I hope to be increasingly "anarchist" in respect to the prevailing wisdom of platform-oriented blogging. Unlike so many bloggers now, I don’t want to write about only one thing, or have a strict editorial calendar perfectly designed to execute main messages, or choose what I write or how many words I write per post to satisfy search engines. Google Analytics is not the reason I write on this page.

I also aspire for this blog to be in the spirit of (although it falls far far short of, particularly when I bring up my book news) the book Markings by Dag Hammarskjöld, a Swedish statesman who served as the secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, when we was killed in a plane crash. Markings was Hammarskjöld’s diary, which he described “as a sort of white book concerning my negotiations with myself – and with God.” The entries are short and unplanned, sometimes factual or narrative, sometimes pondering and abstract. Exactly the prose notebook described by Howe. Look in the side margin of this blog or, if you’re on a small screen, the bottom of the page for an excerpt from Markings. My husband and I also had an entry from Markings on the cover of our wedding program (35 years ago).

And as “coincidence” would have it, in between my writing of that last paragraph and this sentence you’re now reading, my husband, having no idea I was at that moment writing about Dag Hammarskjöld, just read this to me from today’s reading in Celtic Prayer Book: “May everything in this my being be directed to Thy glory / and may I never despair. / For I am under Thy hand, / and in Thee is all power and goodness.” –Dag Hammarskjöld.


[Photo: taken of a wall I passed while on a walk this spring; it looks like a fall image, though, doesn't it?]