Before the internet, if you wanted to commit yourself to a transcendental pursuit, you would need to go and stand on a pillar in a desert for a clearly circumscribed period of time, or wall yourself into an anchorage, built against a church like a seraphic-aspiring lipoma. Now, whatever your soulwork be, you can organise its unfolding through the means of a blog.
Through overuse and a certain kind of misuse, the term itself now reads tarnishedly. Blog to some ears, even mine, semantically rhymes with fog, slog, or just plain narcissistic glob.
Of the zillion blogs floating around cyberspace, most of them are misdirected pixels, but thousands are wholly unique in their focus and ardour, and of a quality that consistently outpaces much print media.
Ann Morgan has the knack of creating these uniquely conceptual (but heart-led) blogs. For that’s how I read them: part writing-platform, part spiritual/artistic quest. They seem to inhabit a space between committed, self-disciplined reading, principled advocacy, creative and social interaction with people and books. Her A Year of Reading Women and A Year of Reading The World are not just repositories for excellent book reviews, but rather fully-developed gesamkunstwerk.
Almost as much as I enjoy reading each report from the World-Lit-Frontier, I also love, and often pore over the almost identical photo of her ever-accumulating AYORTW bookshelf, occasionally supplemented with small reminders of the unread life (an easter egg, a postcard, a cat, daffodils dancing then wilting).
In this episode of RMSYL, she reads to me from Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s An African in Greenland, an uncategorisable gem of book, lying somewhere between memoir and science fiction (as we discover). There is a lovely criss cross here between Kpomassie’s quest, and Morgan’s. Which is why, as she says on her blog (three cheers for blog) he’s also the writer she’d most like to meet.
If you’d like to keep in touch with Ann and her quest, there’s her blog of course, but she’s also on Twitter @annmorgan30, and there’s now a dedicated A Year of Reading the World page (like it and you’ll make her day).