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Journals – A Brief Thought

June 24, 2012

"thoughts from the corner"

Experienced Tutors would like to welcome back Professor Serendip for this post. As a home English tutor I am able to choose from pieces of writing to use in lessons. One type of writing that seems somewhat out of vogue is that of the journal.

I recently came across a blog – that described that particular art in an incredibly beautiful manner. One very perceptive part of it went as follows:

“So, what in the world do we need journals for? Well, if you ask me, sometimes there are thoughts that are better kept in private. Maybe you can share them with the world, if you are a little obsessed with immortalizing yourself through your writing, but we shouldn’t always feel compelled to post everything on Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, or even WordPress. Though there is a welcoming world within these spheres too, we should leave something for ourselves. No, I am not against sharing everything to the world, but I am for leaving something that is solely for the self, something that we do on our own.”

How true is that? A cursory glance at social media sites such as ‘Facebook’ will show us: what people are eating, what they did behind the bicycle shed recently and even when they are going out for the night – burglars take note! One wonders why the sharing of such trivia has become a necessary part of people ‘communicating’ in today’s society. How I totally agree with ‘perpetualflaneur’ above.

On the subject of journals let me hand over to Prof. Serendip.

"home english tutor"


Excerpts from

Books that have been unnecessarily culled by libraries

Books that have been serendipitously encountered

Books that need to be saved for browsers


    The Journal of Beatrix Potter from 1881 – 1897. . . (Warne 1989)

[1882] There are some ideas about heaven certainly, an old piper relating his adventure in Edinburgh said ‘There was aye night I’se ne’er forget, there was eighteen pipers aside mesel’ in Mrs Glass’s wee back parlour, an’ we were a-playing different tunes, and I jist thought I was floating to heaven!’ [p.27]

One wonders what jokey piece of writing was the source for the above squib. One might guess that the author was not a Scot.

"home sociology tuition"

More gems from the prof in the near future.

Giving a one to one English GCSE lesson, in the run-up to exams a few weeks ago, I did have a look at an excerpt from Captain Scott’s journal of his ill-fated South Pole expedition (1910-1913) with an examination candidate. The exercise was to compare it with a blog entry. Modern forms of communication are widely looked at in English lessons today but I will make sure the journal is not forgotten when giving mine.

From → Books

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