Making the mundane-seeming and quotidian interesting – or at least readable

My first post, after getting through the number of steps to register myself as a legitimate blogger. I’m almost winded already having reached this point.

But I’m not going to begin to talk about myself, nor about my daily activities – getting up, going to the toilet, making breakfast, getting dress, buttoning up my shirt . . . – getting bored already? You should be if I keep on with it.

So, I’m not going to. Instead I’ll talk about this American writer Nicholson Baker. His last book A Box of Matches came out a few years ago, in 2003. Every chapter reads as if it could be have been first written in a blog like this, and then transported over into a book of over 140 pages.

The first page begins with the narrator waking up in the small hours of the day, exactly at 4:17 am, and he’s just “going to sit there in the dark. . . . in the living room in my blue bathrobe, with an armchair pulled up to the fireplace.” He goes on in this vein, talking about the flame, the dark. He then devotes the entire next paragraph to describing a toe-hole in his socks and the coolness of the sheets on the exposed toes.

In the second chapter he wakes up a little earlier, at 3:57 am. And, now, you learn a little bit more about him and his work. In every subsequent chapter, he always starts with a “Good morning, its 6:25 am … “ or whatever the new time he manages to wake up in.

Baker is the ultimate master of quotidian prose. He can write about events happening around him, happening within a confined area of space – his bedroom, his kitchen, his living quarters generally – and still make them readable, and more importantly, very interesting.

I don’t know if another writer Ian McEwan actually took a leaf out of Baker’s book – an expression but a good pun, don’t you think? - when he wrote his latest Saturday, in which Ian describes the events happening to his chief protagonist Henry Perowne on one particularly Saturday – another riveting read.

I know, this posting is short, but that’s all for this first post. I might write about myself next time. Or not.

5 comments:

  1. XMOCHA! says

    hi Leon, well done, will make this my daily read!!
    Cheers, SM


    bibliobibuli says

    Thrilled to find you here, Leon. I know I'm going to really enjoy your blog and know that you are bound to make the quotidian extraordinary.


    Leon Wing says

    What a great start to my first blog - so very, very kind comments from my first two readers! Thanks so much!

    Talking of which - kind comments, ie - I just had an email from Toby Litt. I wish it could have been sent as a letter, with his actual signature on it, written on some paper which I could later frame up.


    Anonymous says

    hi leon
    glad to meet you online. came by because of a recommendation. ;-) Maya


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