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Dear Friends,

Last night I wrote my first entry and how I meant to use this space for spontaneous thoughts as they come to me (to save them) and as a record of my doings (to remember).  I didn't say how I came to decided to write here, and divide my writing on the Net into a blog for informal essays on my interests (which you see up in the corner) and journal of my personal life.

Here is what happened and why I've chosen to do what I've done:

Thanks to Fran (a good friend on WWTTA), the Admiral and I discovered a virus had infected one of the 3 servers Jim has set up beyond our Chicago network “solution” to keep extra copies of all he, I, and Yvette do. It turns out that she didn’t avail herself of server4 nor emacs (a way of putting things on our website) so she will not have to change her presence on the Net at all (she posts to the net much fiction and poetry as well as having a blog). The alert was the new photo I put onto my first page of my website: it contained a script which this virus on the server was sending out.

Luckily (we all try to see a bright side, even me), the virus seems to have infected the server in early May, and the script could only be sent out to those parts of my website I updated since around May 1st. Very very few in comparison to what’s there. In fact I have stopped adding to my website much; I write mostly on this blog. But I had revamped and changed the Clary material (though much that I did I did before May 1st); had been evaluated so changed my CV, and for teaching I was updating regularly a few pages. Anway we cleaned out all this on the website entirely. It took hours. The website need not change at all as it is recorded or kept (or whatever is the appropriate word) in our domaine at Chicago (Network Solutions, jimandellen.org).

But if anyone should get any message about my website that there is something risky there, please to let me know and he and I will go after the particular script that escaped our notice.

The malice of this ought to astonish us. Server4 is a lost case. Jim says the virus is made out of a Java script in such a way that he cannot reach or dig it out; it has destroyed everything in server4. Think of someone dying of small pox covered in those hideous sores.

So we have shut down server4. The problem was "Ellen and Jim have a blog, too". While everything we do is on our JimandEllen.org account at a Chicago site (not infected, a major commercial place), the blog is not. It’s been just on server4. So now we had to find a way to reinstate this blog up to today and move elsewhere to continue. The reinstatement would not have been a real blog but only a record of what was that appears the same :). So we decided against that as it was so hard to do anyway.

We then did something I know we should have done months ago. I had separated out all the postings I wrote on Austen, women’s novels, memoirs, poetry and films; on Trollope and the 19th century; on the 18th century; reports of conferences I’ve been to; blogs on costume dramas, film adaptations and contemporary art films Yvette and I go to. He’s written a script and I will put these separately on single pages in the different sections of my webiste (I have sections on Austen, Trollope, conference papers, women’s poetry, and the films will go with the part of the website called “Writing on the Net”).

The blog at wordpress will not have diaries entries and only be situtational: I will situate with a minimal autobiography of how Yvette and I or he and I or all three came to go to this play or that museum, and then proceed to the matter.

This blog will be a separate blog as a journal of my life.

I do know that Ellen and Jim have a blog two will be the less without the deep personal musing, and this one won't have the extensive talk about books, plays, movies, pictures &c.  But as many people know who practice of keeping the personal to a minimum when you talk about literature or art, the average person and certainly editors do not feel this way. 

Literature and art is therefore the lesser. I got bitter attacks on the first Trollope list when I first started to post there for telling of the origins of my reading perceptions. I don't get invited to most big literary blogs because I've persisted in this.  I will -- as I cannot but -- tell something, but not as much, partly because it does take strong energy.

The sicknesses of viruses are the sicknesses of human nature. I read in a column by Katha Pollitt how a respected organization of peopel who call themselves the National Alliance for mental illness calls the US way of treating such illness “disastrous” and gives it a D, this quite apart from the slashing of services (very bad for you if you can keep away) in recent decades. Not that the malice which makes this kind of virus seeks mental help: no rather probably the kind of people who do this do perfectly well in society, thrive, like Rigaud in Dickens’s Little Dorrit.

A further problem: The scheme Jim concocted to transfer the UK videotapes Judy sent me won’t work because it’s dependent on using my old computer. After all he didn’t quite believe it was as gone as I claimed; now he has his proof. We still are unable to watch the videocassettes sent from the UK & we can’t transfer them to MP2 into a external hard drive because the old machine insists the hard drive is full when it’s nearly empty. Jim says someone is trying to invent something we could use, so our problem is shared by others. We may hope we may eventually or sooner than that be able to transfer the tapes to MP2s.

Miss Drake



May. 21st, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
Your new blog
Happy trails, mazeltov, and good wishes to your new journal. I don't know how you can separate the personal from the literary - it feels like splitting one's head in half! But it's worth a try, and I hope it all works out as you project. I guess I'm one who feels most comfortable mixing the personal and the professional; I like blogs that do that - such as Stuck-in-a-Book, or Harriet Devine, or Cornflower. However, I don't feel comfortable putting in things that are *very* personal; my blog does tell things about me (and my cats!) but nothing that I wouldn't put in, say, a published magazine article. When I have private things to say I do it in e-mail (mostly to you, grin). I do like a blog that tells *something* about its owner - the way Dove Grey Reader puts pictures of her Devonshire home is a lovely example. Or I have two friends on Armchair Traveling who write paeans to their Norwegian and Hampshire homes, respectively. I find that charming and illuminating, though I can hardly create such an enchanting rural atmosphere from Santa Monica! Showing glimpses of a person's world adds to what they writes about books. But I don't want to read a personal diary with dirty laundry and struggling with problems, unless it has literary merit or interest. So these are all personal matters for every writer to work out for herself: how you handle and present your internet presence. We are still in such a state of flux and experimentation on the internet; I'm sure future generations will look back and think it was a most exciting time!

Diana Birchall

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