The Moving Finger

It wasn’t until I began blogging that I realized how different it, and journalism generally, is from what one usually has in mind when one contemplates taking up writing. We have a mental image of the writer toiling in solitude to leave his brilliant existential mark; one thinks of the words, once set down, as going up on permanent display for the delight of the ages, and this is indeed the case for the successful author of books. But the journalist’s or blogger’s work is more like the chef’s – meant to be consumed as soon it is prepared, it is served up in single portions, with a new dish offered every day. I have to admit that there is, though, a tug of sadness at seeing a favorite post work its way down, and eventually off, the screen.

But for those who seek enlightenment, blogging is the perfect avocation. Like the elaborate sand mandalas prepared by Tibetan monks, it teaches us that life is a process, not a destination, and helps train us to avoid the attachment to the results of our efforts that is such a spiritual trap.

On the other hand, if you are Oprah Winfrey, and think that The Best of waka waka waka has a nice ring to it, do get in touch. In training oneself to avoid attachments, it’s always good to have something substantial to work with.


  1. Do you know the rest of the poem? (what am I saying, of course you do…)

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
    (the rubaiyat – omar khayyam – 11th century)

    Posted January 24, 2006 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Salim! Thanks for popping in.

    Yes, as you suspected, I’d read the poem before. In fact I had considered The Moving Finger as a title for this blog, before repeated listenings to Fela Kuti’s Coffin for Head of State here in the office made it clear that waka waka waka was the right choice.

    Posted January 24, 2006 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  3. Oprah Winfrey says

    I’m so glad you are thinking of me! Now what do I do about this Frey guy?

    Posted January 24, 2006 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Take my advice, Oprah, forget all about that crumb. From what I hear, he’s an Alcoholic, a Drug Addict, and a Criminal. He’ll only hurt you again. I’m the guy you want to be talking to.

    Posted January 24, 2006 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  5. Oprah Winfrey says

    An Alcoholic, a Drug Addict, and a Criminal? You say that like it’s a bad thing…

    Posted January 24, 2006 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

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