Without a net: an interview with Dodie Bellamy July 15 2014
Dodie Bellamy’s book the buddhist originated as a series of posts on Dodie’s blog, belladodie, in which she described her life in the aftermath of a protracted breakup with a Buddhist teacher. Dodie has used many writing forms over the course of her career, from poetry to academic writing, often focusing on the sometimes-blurry line between what’s considered “memoir” and what’s considered “fiction,” but she did not become a blogger until relatively recently. Now she’s making up for lost time. Emily Gould spoke to her via telephone on 2/20/2012.
EG: When did you start blogging and why?
DB: It was August, 2008. I was feeling isolated, and even though I’m surrounded by writers, I felt like opening up a dialogue with the world. Kevin, my husband, said “Okay, if you want to blog, you have to put up four posts before you tell anybody.” His other advice was, “Write about readings like a reporter, and list everybody that came to the reading, cause then people will Google themselves and they’ll read your blog!”
EG: That’s good advice! Before blogs existed, though, and before you became a blogger, what did you do that was like blogging?
DB: My book The Letters of Mina Harker is comparable, in a way. It was a project where I re-created this character of Mina (the heroine of Bram Stoker’s Dracula) as my own alternate personality, and Mina was sending letters to writer friends of mine. These friends were writing back to her – short, casual letters – but then as the project progressed I realized I was really interested in Mina as a character, and her letters got more and more involved. Every letter in that book was actually sent to somebody, and my process involved much personal confrontation. I compare it to blogging because it was the same kind of mashing around with the boundaries between personal and public, bringing a larger community into the work.