Watch this Space 9 March 2016

Calderonia is an experiment in biography through a blog. It tells the story of George and Kittie Calderon’s lives from 30 July 1914 to 30 July 1915 from day to day as it happened, but exactly 100 years afterwards. It therefore feels like a biography in real time. When no facts were known for a particular day, the author posted on subjects ranging from the Edwardians, recently published biographies and his own problems as a biographer, to translating Chekhov and the Commemoration of World War I.

The blog-biography can be accessed in various ways. To read it from the beginning, go to the top of the column on the right and click the appropriate link. You can then read forward in time by clicking the link at the end of each post. If you wish to start at a particular month, scroll down the column on the right to Archive at the bottom. Posts can also be selected through Search Calderonia and the Tags on the right. An update on the complete biography of George Calderon always follows this introduction.

9/3/16. At the time of writing, I have revised exactly two thirds of my typescript of George Calderon: Edwardian Genius, which I finished writing on 25 January. This means I am x weeks behind schedule, whereis somewhere between one and three.

I don’t know the exact number of weeks I am behind, I could work it out, but I have something more important to do: revising chapter 12, ‘The Trouble with Trade Unionism’!

On the one hand, it is depressing that all through this blog I have had to record missing self-imposed deadlines by weeks and even months, but actually it isn’t, you just have to accept that this is how writing is. You have to set yourself deadlines — at least, I find that I need a deadline breathing down my neck in order to get on with it — but if I have to exceed the deadline because there is new material to go in, or re-focussing is needed, or there is far more to check, or basically I need to take more care than I was expecting, that has got to be a good thing. I long ago reached the point where if I easily met a deadline, I was suspicious about what I’d written; it couldn’t be good enough, could it?

A very experienced journalist rang me yesterday, asked me how the book was going, and when I told him I was exasperated by the slowness he mollified: ‘But there’s no real hurry, is there? You don’t have to get it out by a particular time.’ This was music to my ears, but it still surprised me, as he is as used to working to deadlines as I am, and of course I had always wanted to get the biography out for the centenary of George’s death at Gallipoli. My friend’s argument, however, was that the new material that has come to light since I started writing the book has to go in. He has got a point. I won’t have a second chance, and I assume there won’t be another biography of George for a while…

Meanwhile, my blogmaster is designing Calderonia‘s next metamorphosis. This will contain all the back-numbers of ‘Watch this Space’, most Comments will be archived but they will all be easily accessible, it will be made easier than ever to leave a Comment, the links will be updated, and a number of Categories — overarching general terms such as ‘Edwardian Character’, ‘Heroism’, ‘War Poets’, ‘Edwardian Marriage’ — will be introduced. The changeover will happen on 10 April.

This is the most recent ‘Watch this Space’ post. For the archive of ‘Watch this Space’, please click here.

About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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2 Responses to Watch this Space 9 March 2016

  1. jennyhands says:

    This isn’t a constructive comment as such, but I thought you may like to know that at least one of your readers (surely one of many!) has much enjoyed the whole blog-biography experience, and has found the visibility of the research, discovery and writing processes to be one of the excellent parts of this. Your latest remarks on deadlines remind me of the truism “you have to have a plan to be able to change it”, i.e. a big writing project needs some kind of a plan to make it doable. Looking forward to the book … when it’s ready S:)

  2. Thank you for such a kind comment — I do find it constructive!

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