A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[META] A Bit More Detail

As anyone who knows me knows, I’m bad with labels and names and identifications, applied to my person and applies to external objects. One example can be found in the name of this blog, which has laboured for the past five years under the unimaginative name of “Randy McDonald’s Livejournal.” Well, no more.

Trawling my blog’s archives over the weekend, I had the good fortune to be reminded of a previous encounter with the writings of Harold Nicolson, diplomat and writer. A long sample of his work can be found in his observations on the signing of Treaty of the Versailles at Wikisource, taken from his Peacemaking, 1919. My favourite passage from that book, an account of a chat with Proust in the Ritz, is below.

Proust is white, unshaven, grubby, slip-faced. He puts his fur coat on afterwards and sits hunched there in white kid gloves. Two cups of black coffee he has, with chunks of sugar. Yet in his talk there is no affectation. He asks me questions. Will I please tell him how the Committees work? I say, ‘Well, we generally meet at 10.0, there are secretaries behind. . . . ‘ ‘Mais non, amis non, vous allez trop vite. Recommencez. Vous prenez la voiture de la Délégation. Vous descendez au Quai d’Orsay. Vous montez l’escalier. Vous entrez dans la Salle. Et alors? Précisez, mon cher, précisez.’ So I tell him everything. The sham cordiality of it all: the handshakes: the maps: the rustle of papers: the tea in the next room: the macaroons. He listens enthralled, interrupting from time to time–‘Mais précisez, mon cher monsieur, n’allez pas trop vite.’

Always a bit more detail, I remembered, was Nicolson’s approach to the negotiations at Versailles, always more information, more explanation, more elucidation. Then I realized that I finally had a title for my blog.

Hopefully it won’t take as long to come up with more detail about the blog–subject areas of interest, say, the question of whether to photoblog or not, et cetera–though I’ve some ideas on that front and I’ll let you know when I come to final decisions. Your feedback is appreciated, as always. For now, just relax and enjoy “A Bit More Detail.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 10, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Assorted

Tagged with ,

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