It has been suggested to me that the lack of Comments on the blog, after four months, is an indication of the ‘maturity’ (i.e. 60-plus) of its visitors and followers. You prefer to email me than bruit your reactions to the whole world. Well, being ‘mature’ myself, I understand — and I have certainly received some interesting emails.

A professor wrote in August: ‘I fear I may become addicted. It’s a fascinating experiment in creative history.’ That was very gratifying, as my object always was to create the effect of George’s and others’ lives ‘happening now’, rather than bottled as ‘history’. An historian wrote at the same time: ‘I think it makes it very accessible when presented like this’. She meant, I think, the War, and that was much more the focus then, of course. I had hoped that the day-to-day approach to the War would be useful to students, educational websites and providers, but of course one cannot get away from the fact that the blog is principally about the life of this writer George Calderon of whom ‘nobody has heard’!

Times writer emailed me: ‘There is the drama of the war, the drama of Calderon’s life, and the drama of your feeling your way into your biography.’ Yes, hopefully, but I am aware that I can’t always achieve a balance between those three. This is the first time I have written a blog and it is harder and much more time-consuming than I thought… It has also had this very weird dissolvent effect on my writing the biography itself, which was 92% done when the War broke out (see post on 12 September, ‘A biographer bifurcates’). I hope to return to that problem in a post next week.

So, sincere thanks to everyone who has contacted me about the blog. Your comments have been without exception interesting and useful. Apologies to Michael Caines and Juliet Nicolson, whose names were crassly misspelt for a few hours after the particular posts first appeared. Thank you, too, to those who have pointed out typos or infelicities, which I have attempted promptly to correct. This is very important, as the blog will eventually become a permanent site. And a special thank you to the grandson of Violet and Evey Pym for converting me to the 21st century practice of putting a single space after a full stop, rather than a double one.

Next entry: 29 November 1914


About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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