Monday, February 28, 2005
I quote from Marilynne Robinson's novel, Gilead, which I just started on the train this morning (taking a break from Jewish fiction until I get some recommendations from readers):
[F]ifty sermons a year for forty-five years, not counting funerals and so on, of which there have been a great many. Two thousand two hundred and fifty. If they average thirty pages, that's sixty-seven thousand five hundred pages. Can that be right? I guess it is. I write in small hand, too, as you know by now. Say three hundred pages make a volume. Then I've written two hundred twenty-five books, which puts me up there with Augustine and Calvin for quantity. That's amazing. I wrote almost all of it in the deepest hope and conviction. Sifting through my thought and choosing my words. Trying to say what was true. And I'll tell you frankly, that was wonderful.
This past weekend was this blog's 3rd anniversary. Since this blog was begun, a first child has entered our lives with his profound transforming effects, my work life has taken a quantum leap in scope and seriousness, and my own thinking has evolved in unexpected directions even as it has, essentially, remained the same, and recognizably my own. The blog can take no credit for the first two changes, but I think I can credit it to a considerable extent with the last.
And along the way I've written a whole lot of words. 700,000 of them, if I count correctly. At approximately 350 words per page, and about 300 pages per volume, that's about seven books. Not quite in Augustine and Calvin's league, but still kind of amazing.
Of course these comparisons are not fair; blogging is in no sense like the kind of deeply thoughtful work that makes a great book. It isn't even edited enough to be a minimally passable book. But even so, that's a lot of words.
But I pity the poor souls who had to sit through 30 page sermons. At least folks who read my blog can always click away.