Monday, 26 July 2010

Ragbag newspaper

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'.

12 comments:

worm said...

cool! sign me up!

Tom said...

Yes please!

Barendina Smedley said...

Excellent - I'm very much looking forward to this.

worm said...

woah! new look too! like it!

malty said...

Well done, we are proud of you, keep taking the tablets.
PS, any chance of some juicy stuff?

Brit said...

Count me in, it's got to be better than The Independent anyway.

zmkc said...

How are you now? I have a relative with a chronic illness and it is a long lonely business. You have my sympathy, for what it is worth.

Gaw said...

Thanks all for your interest.

z, I should be fixed by October but I have a few hurdles to overcome. It's been an interesting experience, which I'll probably write about once it's become something that's happened to me.

Tharheeb said...

Excellent!!
But in a world, where everything is getting minimized.. I guess you shud hav a look at PaperNow!!

What an application that helps all Print Media!!

www.papernow.net

zmkc said...

Oh glad to hear it - and, if it is anything remotely to do with rheumatology, I cannot recommend Dr Andrew Keat highly enough. He saved my relative's life and is a god in our family (plus being an exceptionally nice man). He used to be at Charing Cross Hospital but I think is now in a hospital in North London somewhere. He is a genius and I love him.

Barendina Smedley said...

I do like the redesign by the way - it's very clear and bright and easy to use - even if I am not quite sure about the title coexisting in the same field as that nice sheep. (Within a week, though, once I'm used to it being like that, of course I'd be distraught if you ever change it again ...)

Gaw said...

z: That's not my area. But I shall make a mental note...

Barendina: Thanks! Thought I ought to 'get with it' as the young folk say nowadays.

BTW the title was always superimposed on the sheep. It just happened that way and continued to happen with the new layout. I don't have the technical wherewithal to do otherwise.