Jonathan: To blog, or not to blog: that is the question that’s been nagging away at me since a fellow island blogger recently announced that she was giving up her personal blog. Never really felt comfortable with that kind of writing, she says. For me, the problem blogging – personal or otherwise – is more that I really have too many more necessary and urgent things to do. So why do I do keep at it? Is it that my blog is a different kind of writing to hers, or that I’m a different kind of person, or that my audience has different expectations? I’m not sure it’s any of those things. My blogs are different to many (perhaps most) in that I don’t invite or publish comment; I don’t view or publish viewing statistics or ‘likes’ and when I write I certainly never give a thought to what would attract and retain readers. I do not need or want these things. To publish means to make public, and thus to expose to opionion, criticism and response of others: if someone wants to take the trouble to get in touch with me, there’s no difficulty in finding me – just google Jonathan Bridge and there I am. It seems that even the mere theoretical possibility of my writing being scrutinized is enough to motivate me, to drive me to hone my writing skills so as to tell my own unique story, accurately expressing my own circumstances and experiences – my own personality. Hopefully some readers may relate to or react to my writing, but whether that be with interest, amusement, delight or annoyance – or even complete indifference! – is up to them. It’s been a long break since my last blog, and that has partly been due to the immense burden of work of every description on both Denise and I at this time. During the interlude of almost four weeks there’s been many a time that I’ve come close to formalising the silence by announcing (if only to myself!) that the blog is suspended ‘for the time being’ due to pressure of work; or for a year; or that ‘nothing is forever’ and to archive the blog along with the many other tokens of past times. With each passing day, such thoughts might well have got stronger: yet this morning I came back from my morning rounds keen and ready to complete this blog – which has lain unformed and unfinished for more than three weeks. During that time I’ve been thinking about what makes a personal journal or blog different from other forms of writing. One thing is clear: it doesn’t need to faithfully record everything from the momentous to the minutae. A sample is sufficient, reflecting the diversity and detail that are characteristic of the writer. It does not need to be ‘searingly honest’; it is often sufficient (and prudent!) that underlying causes and likely consequences may be implied or inferred; and that a true picture of the writer’s life, its predicaments and possibilities should rely on the reader’s imagination and empathy – in short the reader’s own life story. But isn’t this as true for other forms of writing – and surely so of novels? If so, what then is it that makes personal journal, blog – or biography – different from everything else? A novel without a plot: perhaps – like a Virginia Wolf or Catherine Mansfield (stream-of-consciousness writing)? Perhaps: though their writings are understood to be works of fiction, and are frequently imitated. Surely, is it not the perceived uniqueness and believability that distinguish the personal journal or autobiography from other writing? There’s any number of people who can write fluently and persuasively on almost any subject you care to consider, as the booksellers shelves amply demonstrate. But there’s only one person who’s in a position to observe and remark on the world as I see and experience it, and that’s me.