Thursday, 2 June 2011

No More Echoes...

I enjoy dancing in and out of other people's blogs, and to most observers I've probably gathered an absurdly high number of blog writers to 'follow'. Hell I even follow someone because they dislike 'cheap doors'. I follow each one for a very good reason however and it's a reason which unites them all.
Is it the skill of the writer I hear you ask?
'Can be, but not necessarily'  Is my reply.
Is it the content then?
Given that I follow blogs with content as diverse as 'girlie haircuts' and the latest in ladies underwear to 'Let's have a violent revolution and change the world', it's not necessarily the content either.
So what is it?
Well for that to be made clear, we need to go back to a man of whom I was reminded of this very week - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I like Emerson, always have done. More so because at times he infuriates me with his choppy, disjointed, fragmented and downright clumsy sentences, then just as you're about to toss his work to one side - out he comes with a revelation so startlingly simple, so glaringly true, so exquisitely moving, that any prior literary sins are forgiven.

I also like him, because he visited Scotland. Bias I know, but there you are - there's no such thing as true objectivity.

When Emerson set foot on Scottish soil it was to come and pay homage to a man tucked away in a wee cottage known as Craigenputtock Cottage (See below) - Thomas Carlyle.

Emerson was unknown in Britain when he 'popped in' to say hello to Carlyle - but by all accounts he caused quite a stir causing Carlyle to later write;

"Our third happiness was the arrival of a certain young unknown friend named Emerson, from Boston, in the United States, who turned aside so far from his British, French, and Italian travels to see me here! He had an introduction from Mill and a Frenchman (Baron d'Eichthal's nephew) whom John knew at Rome. Of course, we could do no other than welcome him; the rather as he seemed to be one of the most lovable creatures in himself we had ever looked on. He stayed till next day with us, and talked and heard to his heart's content, and left us all really sad to part with him."

'BUT WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH FOLLOWING BLOGGERS?' You are no doubt now screaming...

Well, it's got everything to do with something Carlyle wrote as a consequence of being introduced to Emerson. In 1841 Carlyle wrote to a friend...

"I love Emerson's book, not for its detached opinions, not even for the scheme of the general world he has framed for himself, or any eminence of talent he has expressed that with, but simply because it is his own book; because there is a tone of veracity, an unmistakable air of its being his, and a real utterance of a human soul, not a mere echo of such. I consider it, in that sense, highly remarkable, rare, very rare, in these days of ours. Ach Gott! It is frightful to live among echoes. The few that read the book, I imagine, will get benefit of it. To America, I sometimes say that Emerson, such as he is, seems to me like a kind of New Era."

And there you have it...Every blog I follow, I do so because there are few or no echoes in it. It's really you talking - it's a 'real utterance of  a human soul, not a mere echo of such.'


  1. Rory... Thank you for taking the time to visit all of our blogs, showing interest and leaving lovely comments. Your ability to see past all our senseless bantering and right to our humanity makes it all worth while. :)

  2. Thank you for visiting. I believe all of your followers feel the same way. Your rarity stems from a love and devotion to not only writing, but all things that make us all who we are. I salute you!

  3. Hi Rory--
    Found you over at Thumbin' My Way's blog. I love all things Celtic/Scottish, and Ralph Waldo Emerson is a literary hero of mine. Look forward to more great posts from you.

  4. I should be saluting you guys!
    Really, the internet can be nothing but echoes, echoes, echoes - I love it when I find something new, something which says 'I'm here and I have an opinion' - even if I don't agree with the opinion, I love listening as well as talking and you all give me so much to think about!

    But as someone pointed out - there's a humanity in each and every blog writer I follow, which I'm delighted to be associated with.

  5. I find it hard to increase the number of blogs I follow. I just counted. It's twenty-four, but a few of those have 'expired' for unidentified reasons, so the true figure is 20. I haven't deleted those who've given up because I quite like being reminded of them.
    The thing is, because I feel compelled to read all of them, I hesitate to add more. The work load could get intolerable! You are my most recent. So far you're working out okay. I'm keeping up, with relatively little difficulty. It helps that your style is discursive and easy. I'm not saying you are the blogosphere's equivalent of easy listening :o) There's a Pakistani philosopher I follow. He's the hardest. His thinking makes my brain hurt. I was seduced into following him because he's very beautiful. Now I'm locked in! So adding to the number of blogs I follow is related primarily to how much work they make for me, with the occasional deviation because I like the look of the blogger. From the work point of view, if I ditched the philosopher I could take on eight more I reckon, but then I'd feel I'd given in somehow. Love, Alec

  6. Alec - I know precisely what you mean.

    I can't pretend that I read every post everyone makes - but I do scroll through their latest posts in the update feed in the dashboard and grab the synopsis. If it sounds good that day then I head off there.

    I made the mistake of following some really, really interesting blogs when I first started a few weeks ago - but I did so without checking the date of their last post. Unfortunately some of them went back to 2008 since their last post.

    So a little spring cleaning might be in order.

    So far I'm pleased to announce that I've only been shut out of one blog - I think someone was merrily posting away with no followers and when they realised they had one - panicked and locked me out. Ah well.

    You take care - all the best!


  7. Absolutely love this post!

  8. rory
    I came across your blog by accident and have enjoyed the eclectic , relaxed feel of it....
    very enjoyable

  9. Laura Thank you! Much appreciated!

    John very kind comment and deeply appreciated! Welcome aboard lol!


  10. This is just a comfortable place to be Rory. I'm so glad I found you.

  11. Well, I haven't blogged in a while; have realized I'm more of a reader than a writer. I'm enjoying reading all these new blogs which I've recently discovered through reading 'The Scottish Scribbler'. So, thank you, Rory, you've opened up a whole new world for me - might even get back to blogging myself!

  12. Thanks Annie - That actually means the world to me, right there in your comment. And mybabyjohn - I don't comment much on your blog I know, but rest assured I read it and I read it often.

    It's going to be a long night tonight Annie :(
    I got a phone call from my wee sister in Kirkintilloch about an hour ago - the family have been asked to descend on Gartnavel General - unfortunately my Mum isn't expected to make it through today. She's fought a long hard battle this year - but even the hardiest warrior meets their match eventually. I'm going to take a couple of sedatives and a phone and head for bed shortly. It's all I can do.

    I have a feeling the world's going to be a very different place when I wake up tomorrow.

    Please take care everyone!

    Love to you all.

    Love you Mum!


  13. Lovely post. You made me feel that someone appreciates the art I'm into :) So glad that I have found your blog to be able to connect people outside the boundaries

  14. So sorry to hear of your moms struggles Rory. My thoughts will be with you and your family as you keep your vigil.

  15. Rory, every time I read one of your posts, it's like uncovering a little treasure - there's always that little glimmer beneath that wonderful "I'm sitting right here with you" voice. Your work reminds me that it's not just okay to be mortal, but if you're open enough, you'll find there's a lot of extraordinary in the, nothing's really ordinary, is it?

    Thank you so much for shining!

    You rock!

  16. Rory!!!! Thank you! That is the most delicious compliment ever!!!! And thanks for including ME!!!! Mare/Perpetuawhimsica

  17. I'd like to thank everyone - especially as times are so hard currently. In a way all of you give me something to smile about when otherwise all would be miserable.

    I must admit that those of you I follow - It usually starts out with 'something' which caught my eye and just that in itself says so much about the person.

    Perpetuawhimsica - I can recall what it was about you which drew me to your blog - It was five words - and of course from there I got even more fascinated as I went through your blog - the five words?

    Three Days of The Condor.


  18. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on fencers.

    My weblog order quantrim