I'm doing some work for a great business called Newspaper Club and I've decided to use them to produce a newspaper from this blog. It's a collection of posts I've written about me and my family, which together form a sort of memoir.
It's probably worth recounting how they came to be written, starting last summer. I'd been ill for a year and had been mostly confined to the sofa. I'd begun blogging to amuse myself and then, as I received some approbation from commenters, to amuse others as well. As my illness wore on, and being firmly in my forties, feelings of mortality made me think that I should record something about myself and where I came from. If anything bad should happen (not that it should - I was seriously and chronically ill but not fatally and with every hope of being cured) I would have left some sort of personal account. This seemed particularly worth doing as I'm the father of two little boys, who, if they're like their parents, will have a great deal of curiosity about their family background.
As in most families, there are a number of stories that have been told again and again over the years. I'd always thought a few of them remarkable in a way. Some also struck me as being very funny despite occasionally possessing a tragic, even disturbing element. I posted on these and other stories or incidents as they occurred to me, as events and references triggered memories. I didn't set out to write anything complete, comprehensive or consistent. I did consider recasting the various posts to create a more conventionally arranged memoir but decided that the material as it stood wasn't suited to being stitched together into a single piece of prose. I guess that's the nature of material written for a blog.
So why produce a newspaper from them? Well, I believe some of my blog readers would enjoy reading these posts collected and end-to-end, and they wouldn't be easy to lay out or to read comfortably online. I also have in mind some relations and friends who are only likely to read these pieces if they can hold them in their hands, printed on paper, but who would enjoy them nonetheless.
Set down on the page they read rather like a collection of letters but with only one side of the correspondence present. Posts are very often provoked by something else written online, by a fellow blogger, a journalist, an academic or a commenter. That element of dialogue, that dynamism, is one of the joys of blogging. It's obviously not available in the newspaper format. However, when you read it through you're not missing any necessary information as a consequence; it's sufficiently self-contained to be understandable.
Which leads me to thank those many and varied interlocutors - my correspondents, in a way - who helped provoke these pieces, particularly those kind commenters who were motivated to encourage me to write and to compliment me when they thought I'd done it well.
I'm doing this for a bit of fun and not seeking to make any money from it. I'm thinking of charging £2 a copy, which should cover production, packing and postage, with a £1.50 surcharge for overseas deliveries. I'm taking a cheap and cheerful printing option that also allows you to do a small print run very economically and as a consequence the print quality won't be brilliant. But then it's a newspaper - as long as it's legible and has a bit of colour it should be fine.
Once I've got the things printed I'll put up a PayPal button and we can take it from there. It's called 'Illuminating a Small Field'.