So are you following the Orwell diary? Me, I was in a state of near-sexual excitement when I heard they were posting George Orwell’s 1938-1942 diaries online, seventy years after he wrote them. But that’s a whole other story; back to Orwell. Imagine! A peek at the intimate thoughts of one of the 20th Century’s literary giants: a man whose searing intelligence produced works of majestic satire, whose vision seems to only grow more relevant.
What crackling intellectual thunderstorms, I wondered, raged inside this man’s head? In 1938, with a world war a mere twelve months away, what socio-political clouds did he see brewing? I signed up to the live feed right away. Orwell blogging: was there anything the man didn’t anticipate?
First entry, August 9: Orwell relates how he caught a snake. I wondered briefly whether this was a reference to the Munich Agreement—the snake could be Chamberlain or Hitler, maybe, even Daladier. But no. He was talking about an actual snake. Well, okay: I guess if I caught a snake, that would be exciting. I’m not sure I’d blog about it. But still. I could see, I suppose, that even one of the world’s great thinkers might, upon encountering a snake, temporarily cease pondering the human condition to remark, “Ooh, snake.”
Next entry, then:
Drizzly. Dense mist in evening. Yellow moon.
That’s the whole thing. All right, so maybe my expectations were a little high. He wasn’t writing essays. He was writing for himself. And the important thing wasn’t the prose; it was the train of thought.
Hot. Dense ground-mist early this morning. Many blackberries now ripe, very large & fairly sweet. Also fair number of dew-berries. Walnuts now nearly full sized. Plenty of English apples in the shops.
Lots of apples, really? Well, that’s… good, I guess. You need apples. The more the better. Especially in shops.
Night before last an hour’s rain. Yesterday hot & overcast. Today ditto, with a few drops of rain in the afternoon. The hop-picking due to start in about a week.
Hops-picking. You can’t begin looking forward to that too soon. Got to love the delicious anticipation of looming hops-picking.
Overcast & chilly. Heavy rain last night. Dahlias now in full bloom.
This was when I decided to claw out my eyes to relieve the boredom. At least then something would be happening.
They say you should never meet your idols, because you’ll only be disappointed. Maybe you shouldn’t read their diaries, either.
(Or their web sites, ha ha, yes, very clever.)