10

by Steve

Forum Romanum, for Mr Soane’s Museum

What they say of troubles, that they never come alone, might also be said of the passions. They arrive together, like the Muses or the Furies.

François-René de Chateaubriand, Memoirs from Beyond the Grave

I recently made my way around Sir John Soane’s Museum, the house of the 19th century architect, left untouched since his death. Rather than the curation you would see in a normal museum, I encountered the curation of a home, of a man. Soane was a collector, of art, artefacts, the esoteric. He was also a creator, and so the home is full of his follies and innovations, architecturally and thematically.

Photography is not permitted. As such I took away the idea of the place rather than the specifics. I think that is a good thing, or an interesting thing at least. We all collect, be it things, stuff, thoughts, memories. And over time all of those things are in some way shaped by our (mis)perceptions, biases, blind spots. Even our good points, sometimes.

I suppose we all curate too, although I feel that word is used so loosely as to lose all meaning. Rather than just exist, we gather, we experience, we try, and fail, to make sense of all that we collect on our way.

The museum felt more symbolic than actual. Or maybe I’m just no good at remembering the detail.

If we’re all collectors, in some fashion, then writing is an act of sharing those collections – of things, thoughts, ideas. And the deeply unfashionable medium of blogging is just one way of collecting. And I suppose a blog reflects its author in much the same way a house reflects its occupant. I think that is why I still enjoy reading and writing blog posts – at their best they are the most genuine, human spaces on the internet.

I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing that blogging as a medium is now pretty much ignored. The best blogs see their authors reach out for the sake of reaching out – not for *insert meaningless web metric/symbol of instant gratification here*, but to just say what they want to say, and to hopefully say something helpful, interesting, or of consolation to another human being.

Ten years and a day ago I published a post for the first time here. I suspect, and hope, I’ll still be posting in another ten years. The publishing schedule will remain sporadic, the subject matter all over the place, the quality questionable, but the urge to write, and reach out in some vague way, will remain.

Very many thanks to those of you who have read my ramblings, and to those who have commented.

Image credit: Forum Romanum, for Mr Soane’s Museum by JMW Turner (1862), © Tate CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)

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