20 March 2007

Chekhov on Blogging

I read all of Chekhov's short stories in a single lonely weekend during my first term at university. That was almost twenty-five years ago and I have since remained an avid fan, although naturally I have forgotten every word. I do remember a Kiss.

I have been a fan of Christopher Hampton, mind, even longer: ever since I adored Mrs Botogol (as she wasn't then) bring the house down with a perfect performance as Araminta in the Philanthropist. That was very probably in 1981.

So all in all I was excited on Friday to go to The Seagull at the Royal Court [well, silly, because it's a play by Chekhov... in a new version by Hampton] But not excited enough to stay awake during all of the second half, mind, but in my defence I have to point out that the play was two hours and fifty minutes long. That's too long. But the first half was excellent and one bit really caught my attention; so much so, I sadly bought a script, so that I could copy it out in my blog.

Background: Trigorin is a famous blogger, who has recently got a book deal, and Nina accuses him of having a wonderful life. He replies
I don't see what's so special about it [...] All right then, let's talk, let's talk about my wonderful glittering life... (he thinks for a moment)

There's such a thing as obsession, when for example a man thinks all day and night about nothing but the moon, and I have my own moon. All day and all night I am haunted by a single obsessive thought: I have to blog, I have to blog, I have to blog.... No sooner have I finished one post when for some reason or another I have to write a second post, and then a third, and, after the third, a fourth.... I write non-stop at breakneck speed, and I can't seem to do it any other way. Now what's so wonderful and glittering about that, may I ask? Ach... it's a preposterous life! I'm here with you getting steamed up, but at the same time I can't forget for a moment that there's an post saved as draft waiting for me.

There's a cloud, see? which looks like a grand piano. I think to myself: must fit in to my blog somewhere that a cloud floated by. looking like a grand piano [...] I keep fixing on every phrase, on every word that you an I utter, and I can't wait to add all these phrases and words as soon as I can to my literary stockpile: never know when they might come in handy.
And I am sitting there, in Row K of the stalls, (just behind that scottish bloke from Sea of Souls, actually) in the heart of metropolitan London, watching Chekhov, in a version by Hampton, and I am thinking to myself:
  • that's good, I could blog that
  • it reminds me of a post by Wife in The North
  • I haven't posted anything on my blog for three days. I'm not a real blogger
We bought the script in the interval, and when we had finished our obligatory glass of theatre-Pinot-Grigio we went back to our seats. While I waited for the play to resume I tried to look up the quote, but in the dim light I couldn't read it and I had forgotten my brand-new old-man glasses.


Anonymous said...

But the qualiy of the posts Trigorin left would be debatable - if he blogged everything in his life (which he would have to do if he was constantly blogging) it would eventually lead to a boring blog full of trivial everyday facts. No what makes a real blogger is knowing what everyday things to put in, and to write them in such a way that they are no longer trivial. In short being able to make ones own life seem extraordinary rather than the boring life it is.

Gone said...

We seem to have a bit of a theme going, please check out my latest post. It was written before I read your post (honest guv). Anyway I didn't know that the little Russian guy from Star Trek wrote plays, multi talented eh.

Anonymous said...

grocer: no, I'm a great fan of wifey's; and I wish I had a book deal [would blog for money]

anonymous: indeed yes. the skill of a blogger is not just what you write about, but also what you leave out, and that's given me an idea for another post... watch this space.