Monday, August 20, 2007

My Boswell, myself

I scouted libraries – got a card at “the University of London” and at “the Kensington Library.” The Kensington library was closest and, I decided, had plenty to chose from.

My English prof wanted us to keep a journal of our own personal London adventure, with Boswell as a model? John Boswell, if the name means nothing to you, eventually became Samuel Johnson’s biographer. Samuel Johnson was the man who wrote the first English dictionary. Boswell did such a thorough and well-regarded job recounting Jonson’s life that “Boswell” has become another way of saying “biographer”, as in, “The poet has found her Boswell.”

On 9/17/88 I wrote, “I am conducting a documented life. I write poetry, I keep a diary. Not just for myself but for those who might read them. Am I a Boswell whose works [will be] read 300 years after he wrote them? Don’t know. I am always intimidated by those published diaries. These people seem to remember so much. They record dialogue without apology as though their memories were photographic [or phonographic?] and they fill pages & pages a day. I have neither the recall nor the time to write it all down. If you’re writing, you are not living.”

No comments: