Dorothy Day once described herself as “a journalist and a diarist pure and simple” as opposed to a writer of books. As a young girl, she kept a diary and later became a journalist to pay the bills. I would like to think, based on her approach to writing, that she would be a blogger if still alive today.
And what’s more, she would have some good advice for bloggers who have tragically reduced themselves to reviewers of books, or worse, evangelists for their own books. I have always seen writing, and by extension blogging, as a means to provide a voice for the voiceless and turn the eyes of the world away from the trivial towards the meaningful and the essential. There is a moral mandate in blogging that was evident when we started blogging over a decade ago, but has been drowned out.
Dorothy Day can help us writers regrasp that vision.
According to The Moral Vision of Dorothy Day: A Feminist Perspective by June O’Connor, which I am now reading, her purposes for writing were many. I have reformatted them for this blog post and also put a new slant on them with view to blogging:
Purposes in writing [and blogging] from Dorothy Day:
1. to make known the experiences of the inarticulate
2. to spotlight the cracks in the social system
3. to disclose human suffering so that action might be taken to prevent and alleviate it
4. to discuss and clarify ideas about how to improve the social order
5. to argue on behalf of the ideas of anarchism, voluntary poverty, and pacifism in contrast to prevailing social and cultural preferences for institutionalized expressions of power, materialism and militarism.
Hey bloggers, read this and fall in love with Dorothy Day:
“Recording happiness made it last longer, we felt, and recording sorrow dramatized it and took away its bitterness.; often we settled some problem which beset us even while we wrote about it.” Dorothy Day
“Because Day’s journalistic writings were intended to reflect and to serve direct action, the bulk of her works – including whole books – were written between activities, often as fragments, No attempt was made to cast her prose in elegant style, Yet she loved to write and mused in one entry that in light of all the pages given to ideas, theories, and efforts to understand, she found relief and relaxation in just writing about facts, in simply giving an account of the her day.” June O’Conner, The Moral Vision of Dorothy Day
Related on TSK: Revisiting the 1930’s and Dorothy Day