How does one start a “blog meme”?

I have no idea to the above question. One way is to nominate a number of bloggers, asking them to answer some questions and then to pass it on to others. But there are so many blogs I enjoy and so many bloggers I like, that it seems invidious to pick out merely a few. And in any case, I wouldn’t want to put pressure on anyone to write a specific kind of post. So, here’s the deal: If anyone out there is writing a literary blog, and you fancy taking part in this, why don’t you write a post about a passage from your reading that is of particular significance to you, and explain why it is significant?

Once again, please don’t feel obliged in any way, but I’d be fascinated to see what other bloggers pick, and why. The passage could be from a poem, a novel, a short story, an essay, a play … anything at all really. And the reason why this passage is significant could be … well, once again, it could be anything: that’s the fun of the thing.

I’ll kick this off with my next post.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Himadri,
    For me, the poem ‘Solitude’ by Alexander Pope was such an important reading to me, especially when upon rereading I saw a whole different meaning. It prompted me to write my thoughts down in a blog post:

    Hope this is the sort of response you’re looking for.


    • Hello Hans, that is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for – thank you very much for this. I had not known this poem, and had I read it without knowing the author, I would not have guessed it was Alexander Pope. The missed beat in the last line of each verse is particularly effective, (Romantic poets often did this – e.g. in the last verse of this poem by Byron – but I wouldn’t have associated this with Pope.)

      It’s a bit late now, and I had best get to bed, but I have bookmarked your blog, and will look through it at leisure when I am more awake!

      Thanks, and all the best,


  2. It’s a good idea. I’m thinking about writing one.


  3. Hi:

    Well, I have a passage that has stayed with me for many years from The Gulag Archipelago, but I’ve never posted about it, and feel that to do so would be ridiculous. That is, it seems perfectly self-explanatory. Here it is:

    And how can you bring it home to them? By an inspiration? By a vision? A dream? Brothers! People! Why has life been given you? In the deep, deaf stillness of midnight, the doors of the death cells are being swung open–and great-souled people are being dragged out to be shot. On all the railroads of the country this very minute, right now, people who have just been fed salt herrings are licking their dry lips with bitter tongues. They dream of the happiness of stretching out one’s legs and of the relief one feels after going to the toilet. In Orotukan the earth thaws only in summer and only to the depth of three feet—and only then can they bury the bones of those who died during the winter. And you have the right to arrange your own life under the blue sky and the hot sun, to get a drink of water, to stretch, to travel wherever you like without a convoy. So what’s this about unwiped feet? And what’s this about a mother-in-law? What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory—property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life—don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes see, and if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart—and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it might be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how your are imprinted in their memory!

    But the convoy guards stroke the black handles of the pistols in their pockets. And we sit there, three in a row, sober fellows, quiet friends.

    The Gulag Archipelago, vol. I


  4. But I’m sure you’ll agree, it has lessons for us all.


    • Indeed. But whether one can take such lessons to heart is another matter. I fully agree with what Solzhenitsyn says, and know I would be a better person if I could adopt them. But even with this knowledge, I can’t help but get annoyed when the morning train is delayed, and I am left in the freezing cold of the railway platform. The gap between what the wisest of minds exhorts me to be, and what I know I am, is embarrassingly large.


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