Blogging, Cronicas-style

Hi everybody. I have been reading Selected Cronicas by Clarice Lispector, translated by Giovanni Pontiero. These were Sunday columns that this super-genius Brazilian novelist produced for Rio de Janeiro’s major newspaper, Jornal do Brasil, from 1967 to 1973. When you read these you will not believe they appeared in a regular newspaper.

They could also be really instructive for writers who are coming up and finding their voices as bloggers. The Cronicas have all the casual style of a blog but can then go ahead and get quite complicated and obscure. You can, as Lispector does, variously muse about the little girl from next door who comes over and murders her kids’ pet Easter chick in the kitchen or toss off a one liner like “A Challenge for Psychoanalysts — I dreamed that a fish was taking its clothes off and remained naked.”

In another column she basically asks “Hey guys, do you know what’s really interesting about Thoreau?” Where would you see that in today’s media landscape? (I never really liked Thoreau, and I found her angle persuasive.)

Bloggers, let’s use Clarice Lispector and her country’s weird newspaper genre as a call to arms. This is a short format, but it can hold anything we want. Narrow branding is so unappealing. We can be catty, familiar, obtuse, preachy, and write tiny little poems — and we can blame a magnificent woman who didn’t mind a little format surfing.

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