Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | December 27, 2007

Blogging as a Funereal Experience

I once attended the funeral of the old Pendragon of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, Vera Chapman, who died when she was in her nineties. She was a remarkable woman – one of the first to matriculate from Oxford once they realised the world order would not be threatened by women gaining degrees. She was a druid, a freemason, a member of the Kibbo Kift, supported the monetary reforms of the Social Credit movement and in her later years was a successful author. She wrote an Arthurian trilogy from a feminine perspective, one of which was turned into an awful Disney adaptation.

Her funeral was in a church by London zoo. A choir of women sang beautifully in the service, and afterwards we all went to a wake in the upstairs room of a pub by Primrose Hill – one of the most magical spots in London, where the Druid Revival was begun in England with Iolo Morganwg’s 1792 Eisteddfod. Anyone who has seen ‘101 Dalmatians’ will remember it – it was the small rounded hill that overlooks London with lamp-posts leading to the summit. From there the dogs sent out their barking message to alert all dogs to the dalmatians’ kidnapping.

The elves’ funeral lament from Lord of the Rings was sung at the wake by a young opera singer – to commemorate Vera’s founding of the Tolkien Society – another of her achievements.

One of the interesting experiences at this event was to notice the different groups of Vera’s friends meeting each other for the first time – and meeting members of her family. To us all it was a surprise to encounter such a diverse range of people that included literary agents, publishers, druids, Tolkien fans, women freemasons.

And I’ve come to realise that a blog can act rather like such a wake, in which relatives get to meet the weird and wonderful friends one has made over the years. Or, put another way, where one’s friends can get to meet the weird and wonderful relatives. Blogging gives one the chance to bring together the diverse interests and enthusiasms of one’s life in a way that could surprise those who knew only one facet of that life.

But why wait until you’ve died?

Some people like to compartmentalise their lives, so that their working life is kept separate from their family lives, for example. But for me, and I’m sure many people, the thought of bringing together the diverse strands of one’s life is appealing.

Some people find knitting or weaving enjoyable and creative. I’ve realised that I do too, but instead of knitting jumpers I’m knitting this blog.


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