It’s my 300th post on this blog. Many of those posts came in the early years after I started the blog in 2007. There was a stage I dried up altogether, and I felt I didn’t have anything more to say here. But that seems a stage many long term blogs go through, and I’ve come out the other end this year with some more things to say. (These days it’s my theology blog which lies fallow.)

The occasion has me reflecting on blogging itself. I like the way it’s instantaneous, instead of that great time lag (newspapers aside) between writing and being published in print. I like the interaction, the evidence that someone is reading when they comment – thank you so much to those who have, over the years. It’s easier not to, and yet it’s a good thing to join in the conversation. I like the strange genre of blogging, the mini-essay, with looser rules than more formal writing, and many possibilities. All that said, blogging’s strengths are its weakness, and most posts would benefit from the long gestation that writing for print has normally entailed.

I’m not altogether comfortable with the blog blaring out my name at all times. It started that way to replace the previous blog (2003-2006); my novel was still a recent memory then, and the site was the place to promote it. I changed the name, quietly, to ‘The Annotations of…’ earlier this year, because I wanted to give a better taste of what this blog was about. ‘Annotations’ seemed to capture it, words scribbled in the margins of other texts, notes on what’s going on. ‘Book reviews’ have been the most common category I’ve written in, followed by ‘film reviews’. These are never my favourite posts; I don’t get to writing what I intend to write in here often enough. I would like to be inspired to write more autobiographical posts, mini-memoirs like the one about the bus station and the houses I used to live in. I thought of some alternative names for this blog, but they didn’t sound quite right – ‘The Unlit World of Old’ (from the Morphine song) and ‘Messages in Bottles’.

I look back and see I was writing in quite a different voice for this blog in 2007, more informally, and more concerned to write about politics and religion. I can’t imagine what I might sound like in 2021, and what I might be caring to write about. Well, actually, let’s face it – it could be much the same as now.