The first on-line journal entry

Sunday July 5, 1998

Me and Harry Cat
Harry Cat and me

Harry Cat looked up at me with an expression situated uncomfortably between disdain and despair. I was standing with him at the kitchen door, contemplating the deluge outside and had been foolish enough to suggest he might prefer to stay in. Ah well. One day he’ll get me trained the way he wants me. I opened the door wide enough to let a lithe hunter through, plus a little more to allow for a touch of middle-age spread, and off he rushed, dodging between the raindrops, to disappear under the hedge.

I’d nothing better to do with my first thing in the morning coffee than stay watching the rain fall for a while, so I pushed the door almost closed, and waited for Harry to finish whatever it was he was about. Didn’t take long. An anxious face appeared, peering from under the low hanging branches to see if the way was clear to dash back in, saw me watching, and swiftly put on a fierce “get on with it, then” look. My goodness but he was wet. I pulled down a towel, and gave him a good rub down, watching him change from the savage killer-cat into a soft and cuddly companion-cat again. And, after a quick bite of breakfast and a swift all-over clean, off he toddled to have a good doze on the study sofa.

So there you are. The day had started innocently enough, promising to follow much the same comfortable path as any wet Somerset Sunday. Dangerous ground, that. It’s when you’re treading a familiar path, not really paying attention, that you’re most likely to stumble into the unexpected.

I grabbed another coffee and followed Harry into the study, turned on the computer and slogged through a load of email, not all of it by any means, but a fairly creditable portion. As a reward, still all unsuspecting, I lit my first cigarette, and I was off on an early surf session while the birds were still thinking about waking up.

It took no time at all to nip around, check things out, and follow up interesting links. Usual stuff.

Then, with my surf time still not entirely used up, I decided to take a random spin and stumbled headlong into something I’d no inkling existed.

It seems that one of the very earliest kind of individual postings to the Internet, via the old BBS systems and therefore predating the web, was the “online journal“. People putting up their diaries and journals for the world to see. From this beginning there are now a huge number of journals online, many linked together in webrings, served by their own discussion groups, ezines and newsletters.

It’s fascinating stuff. I over-spent my allowance by following link to link to link in a wild orgy of discovery. Like any journal much of the material is dull, introspective, boring, repetitive… Not entirely surprising, this, and heaven knows my own journal wouldn’t pass the literature test.

When I finally dragged myself away from these riches to take a coffee-with-a-ciggie break I gazed out of the window and came to the realisation that here was yet another step to take in my own forty-odd years of keeping journal. First it was in exercise books. Then it was typed. Then it was word-processed. Where to next? Why, on to the web, of course.

So this afternoon I designed and coded the first version of the “journal of a writing man” website and this is the first online entry. I think I shall have a lot of fun with this.

Now it’s late. Harry and Dolly are snoring away on the new sofa behind me in the study — the most expensive cat-bed in the world. Or, at least, my kind of world. I shall brush my teeth, don my pyjamas and toddle off to do my own sleeping. Not a bad day.

3 responses to “The first on-line journal entry

  1. Pingback: One can of Mackeson stout too many « journal of a writing man

  2. Wow! I was searching for some pithy sayings about autumn when I found your haiku and a note about the oldgreypoet site. You have a wonderful way with words! I’ll be back.

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