I have two memories of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, a novel I read over twenty years ago. One: it went on forever. Two: The narrator, Anna Wulf, had four notebooks, each one a different color. Obviously, she was a woman who believed in keeping things separate.
In case you’re curious, one notebook was for politics, one was for a novel she was writing, one was for her life as a mother — and one might have been for sex. I can’t remember now. If there had been a notebook just for sex, it was probably the kind of sex that involved tiresome partners and frustrating interactions — or else I’d remember it better.
The point at which I stood up and cheered was when Anna Wulf threw away her four notebooks — signalling her decision to integrate all the parts of her life. Hence, the title, which refers to the single notebook she ended up with. It was the Golden Notebook, of course. You can tell from the title of the novel and the color she chose for the final noteboook, that Lessing thinks compartmentalizing things is a bad idea.
Which brings me to the advice that you should write about only one thing in a blog. That probably is good advice — people like to know that when they look you up they’ll find a recipe, or a picture of food, or a book review, or a joke. I do enjoy that myself. But I don’t always want that. Sometimes, I’d rather hear a variety of things: what’s being planted in the garden, cooked for dinner, waiting to be read. Often, the people I’d most like to be sitting next to at dinner are the people who can talk about a wide variety of subjects, both things I’m interested in and things I don’t know much about.
There’s no reason a blog can’t be like that. It seems to me that the things I love, the things that give pleasure, make up the texture of one life, and they should all be in one place. Except my weird obsession with packaging food. That’s got its own home.
Let me know what you think.