August 12

Very hot in the morning. In the afternoon sudden thunder-storm & very heavy rain. About 50 yards from the gate the road & pavement flooded a foot deep after only 1 1/2 hours rain.

Blackberries beginning to redden.

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71 Responses to August 12

  1. Brandon says:

    Great idea. I’m subscribing now. I hope his entries get a little more indepth though.

  2. JMA says:

    Oh what a cliffhanger. Are the blackberries going to ripen before the rain spoils them? Can’t wait to know!

  3. sluggo says:

    So, the blackberries are the communists? I’m not following.

    I sure hope the road drains off pretty soon. That sure sounds like trouble.

  4. Ken says:

    Maybe the wet August in the UK this year is not so unusual!! Not ‘very hot’ though!!!

  5. @sluggo: I hope you’re kidding.

  6. Alan says:

    I really like this idea, but it might make more sense if you were to publish them in the evening? Otherwise publishing them on the same day of the year is a bit damaged as we get the whole of August 12th given to us in the morning.

  7. Alan says:

    And maybe have the header say ‘The Orwell Diaries’ instead of ‘The Orwell Prize’?

  8. Jordi Fibla says:

    Easy, easy, boys. Let him to gather momentum. I’m sure we’re in for more than a surprise before 2012.

  9. BonBon says:

    Lest we forget, the political diaries are separate and will begin serialisation later.

  10. Moewe says:


    where i can find the location and other backgrounds?

  11. matthew says:

    And maybe have the header say ‘The Orwell Diaries’ instead of ‘The Orwell Prize’?
    yes please.

    Any chance of fixing the layout or maybe even getting a more authentic feeling layout while you’re at it.

  12. @Moewe: You can find a short biography of Orwell on this website, at

    As for Orwell’s current location, see my comment for 11 August:

    There’s also a map link in the diary entry for 9 August, but not everyone has been able to access it.

  13. voltaire says:

    Woah there, people! It seems that everyone is so demanding- “publish these in the evening”, “change the layout”, “change the header” et cetera. We are being given a great daily format with which to appreciate these, for free. Stop being so nitpicky- it’s the third day! Chill out!

  14. Jason Anton says:

    “Oh what a cliffhanger. Are the blackberries going to ripen before the rain spoils them? Can’t wait to know!”

    HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, this is kinda lame so far…I hope it picks up.

  15. Rick Hamell says:

    Personally, I like it so far. So far we’ve seen that he has real concerns in day to day life. The man is concerned about Apple and Blackberries, which in his day would be a a big deal to everyone.

    On the other hand, these are personal diaries with an audience of one. Do you put your greatest thoughts into that, or do you put them out where everyone can see them? I’m sure we’ll see more but personally I’m subscribed for the historical view of the man’s life, in his own words. I’m certainly not expecting any profound ideas here, but will be pleasantly surprised if they do show up.

  16. Arck says:

    People like him are not always thinking on politics as somepeople wanted to believe

  17. Parker says:

    I’m excited about this blog. Gotta echo some of the earlier suggestions though. I would prefer that posts go up later in the day and I think the title should be “The Orwell Diaries” not “The Orwell Prize.” Also, the link to this post in the RSS feed has the year 2008 in the URL, but the correct address has 1938 instead. So following the link produces an error.

  18. Skye Winspur says:

    Alan says “publishing them on the same day of the year is a bit damaged as we get the whole of August 12th given to us in the morning.”

    What about readers on the American West Coast, who get the whole of August 12th at 10:30 pm, August 11?

    Seriously, though, I am very excited about this project.

  19. I cant believe this, the Internet has not presented something this exciting since….? Since when!

    If only I could wrap my head around the idea : it would be like if G.O
    were blogging in his day and age as if the Internet were already invented.

    I have had the thought before (What would ancient bloggers write? i.e. entry for Columbus : crews complaining today, must cut down on grog @ next port of call etc etc)

    But this is a real ‘time-portal’ view of the world as it was when times were much more simpler and everything was held a little closer to the breastbone I think…so a snuff box, a simple berry….are magnifyed in significance..not only am I enthralled with this idea, its like a distance learning course…I already like learning vis a vis G.O.’s Diary; what and where a Bath is, for instance, and the relation to apples

    Thank you

  20. Pingback: Responding to Orwell: August 12 : Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits

  21. Vlad says:

    WOW! He is writing too us from the past! Truly an amazing man that Orwelsh guy. I wonder if he is happy in the past. Of course you want to be happy, you know.

  22. Vlad says:

    He seems to talk alot about the weather. Maybe this was a big deal back in the days. Who knows?

  23. Ori says:

    It´s a great idea. Orwell is a very interesting person.

  24. the waif says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    This is wonderful. A nice, casual few lines per day as George regains his health in a sanitorium. Indeed, I believe the pace will pick up, too.

    These first few entries are a nice break from my morning’s other reading about Georgia, Darfur, Afghanistan and other things that would have probably captured George’s imagination if he was still alive and health.

  25. Monigi says:

    I can’t understand why all these people add their useless comments about each entry. Either they enjoy it, and it’s good, or they don’t like it, then they get lost ! Nobody needs their ridiculous commentaries.

  26. I hope that the puddle evaporated quickly so as not to annoy George further.

  27. coljac says:

    This project could lead to all sorts of other fascinating historical diary-blogs.

    Winston Churchill, August 11, 1943:
    “Had a ham sandwich and tea for lunch. It was OK.”

    Napolean Bonaparte, August 11, 1813:
    “Sheets freshly laundered today. Cool breeze in afternoon.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, August 11, 1907
    “Petersen’s barking dog annoying me again, makes it hard to concentrate. Looking forward to a trip to the beach on Sunday.”

  28. ZaD MoFo says:

    This slow start is perfect. It allows me to re read his complete work while remaining in contact with the unpublished – The various aspects of his personal life.

    As I maintained a log thoses last fifteen years, I do understand that the common flirts with the extraordinary a few pages apart. We shall wait and enjoy this tiny voyeurism adventure. We are thoses lucky fews.

  29. ling says:

    people who are speaking about entries later in the day… i wonder what time zones you are in… and what makes you think that that time zone should be the default standard.
    let’s remember this is the world wide web and you are not at the center of it.

  30. GeorgeA says:

    sluggo: TOO funny, man!

    Obviously the snake represents the people and the forked tongue their only weapon – the Union!


    But the Mist, what color was the mist? …

  31. Winston says:

    13th August 1938 – “rain had peculiar persistence today; unfortunately the damp has ruined the page for today’s diary entry so I will do as the King suggests and politely offer “No comment!”.”

  32. Katie says:

    I agree – more in depth!

  33. Maureen says:

    Why expect more from a daily entry diary–Orwell was (and is on the blog) a regular human being–his talent was writing–along with his imagination–and he lived a daily regimen like all of us. Don’t continue to ask for “excitement” or “insight” just appreciate the fact that he did write (by hand on a daily basis) in a disciplined manner–not for anyone to see except himself-would that we all cared to jot down our thoughts and interest as people once did–and then one could sit back and relive one’s life whenever.

  34. My $0.02:
    I would like to counter the many negative comments herein regarding this blog, its contents and theme by saying that I like it just fine.

  35. gairid says:

    I know nothing exciting has happened in the journal so far, but that’s how life is for most people–things that occupy your mind are generally mundane. Reading the entries so far show Mr. Orwell in his ordinary human skin rather than The Author; I like it.

    I find it somehow comforting that these are the sorts of thigs I write about in my own journal..what plants are doing well, wildlife siting and weather observations–not the stuff of legend, surely, but it’s life the way many people live it.

    I love the idea of this blog!

  36. Laurens says:

    What a multitalent Orwell was. Are we witnessing the invention of blackberriejuice here?

  37. Fearless Frank says:

    Blackberries reddening? Round here – mid Herts – there have been plenty of ripe ones for a few days now, which is unusually early.
    Lashings of rain and a hot humid spell are said to be the cause.
    Weather is still a hot topic (or more often, a wet and cold one) here in Blighty!

  38. danielearwicker says:

    Don’t worry, it gets better in 1939 when he discovers lolcats.

  39. jennifer says:

    Apples and Blackberries… it’s just like the modern era! Soon he’ll be blogging about Big Brother!

  40. william says:

    i personally have no issue with a man just beginning a diary after a near-fatal gunshot to the throat to find some calming power in simple observations of nature.

  41. rusty cuckoo says:

    Who cares about Skye Winspur and Alan Nemo? It’s 1000hrs on 14th August in Melbourne and Eric’s diary is still only up to 12th.

  42. the anvil drops says:

    i am unsure if Orwell is able to change his diary entries to provide a more in depth analysis of his day -to-day life

    perhaps, rather than waiting for a plot to unfold – readers might spend some time marvelling at the development of his style

    As surely this is the making of one of the great literary talents of the twentieth century – he’s not writing for any audience, certainly not trying to solicit criticisms or comments

    he is, however, building an approach to prose which remains unparalleled today.

    thus, your snide remarks will go unnoticed I am afraid

  43. Mark says:

    I, for one, welcome our blackberry diary overlords.

  44. Bonnie says:

    Orwell’s next diary entry is not until August 16.

    But elsewhere today, another blog suggests Orwell is the dominant writer of the 20th Century:

    one of the comments posted there:

    “If Orwell was a great writer, why is the experience of reading him out loud with students so disappointing? Why is the language so leaden? Why is the context so unreal-seeming, even if it prophetically mimics reality? Why is the novel so intellectually crude, as if we were to try eating sandpaper?”

    It’s pistols at dawn…

  45. rusty cuckoo says:

    Thank you, Bonnie, that explains it.

  46. Winston says:

    14th August 1938 – “Cold night and sunny morning. Good Columbian coffee; if only the lot of the plantation workers could be improved. Perhaps they should be free to trade direct. Looking forward to working the Downs this weekend. Maisie seems restless but hope this will calm her nerves.”

    *Maisie was Winston’s second falcon

  47. Laurens says:

    @the anvil drops: “snide remarks” are not the right words, I’m afraid.
    It’s more absurdism ore playing the role of the naive reader, but you have to have a feeling for that to pick it up.

    @JMA: “Oh what a cliffhanger. Are the blackberries going to ripen before the rain spoils them? Can’t wait to know!” is great humour!

  48. The image of the handwriting in the banner above sparked a synapse which gave me a fictitious snapshot by candlelight of a man hunched over a crude table with a quivering quill in a dark, dank dungeon.
    I’m having a ball here, folks.

  49. 246 says:

    Is it just me…or has George taken a couple of days off?
    It’s currently the 14th…and now the second day without an update.

  50. @246 – it’s not just you! Orwell doesn’t write every day, but he’ll be writing again soon. This Saturday, at a wild guess…

  51. Alan Evil says:

    Hopefully this isn’t being updated because there were no entries…

    I heard on an NPR podcast that Orwell had a separate political journal. I rather wish they were publishing them simultaneously.

  52. @Alan Evil – see above, and the About page; the political journal will start when Orwell started it (7th September), so not too long to wait now…

  53. G. Tod Slone says:

    Christtttt! One would think you guys are a bunch of loons! When does the wisdom appear? What month? What day? Orwell had great things to say! Who is picking out these morsels of vacuity from his diaries–dead academic literati in pink politically-correct multi-cultural tutus? Oooops, so sorry! Must we all be cutsey and polite and deferent here while the rich get richer and the academics get comfy? BTW, I sign my name and affiliation, so if you think that’s not right, the hell with you! The Academy of American Poets censored my ideas and I’m certain a number of you will be happy to hear that. Now, come on, give us the hard punching George Orwell, the guy many of you would have probably hated if he were around now in your neighborhoods! Thus, the hypocrisy roars and flames!
    G. Tod Slone, Ed.
    The American Dissident, a Journal of Literature, Democracy & Dissidence
    A 501 c3 nonprofit organization providing a forum for vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy,
    And for examining the dark side of the academic/literary established-order milieu
    1837 Main St.
    Concord, MA 01742

  54. Finno says:

    @G.Tod Slone – *yawn*

  55. I agree with Rick Hamell, who says that he “[…] subscribed for the historical view of the man’s life, in his own words.”
    That’s right, we have to appreciate this initiative with simplicity and try to extract some historical elements from everyday writing. This is an integral text and it wasn’t intended for public reading. Let’s give the diary a chance to “tame” us (it’s free).

    Bravo à l’équipe!

  56. the anvil drops says:


    you’re right, i have no feeling for being the naive reader, but i do knoweth the absurd when i sees it

  57. Dalia says:

    Wonderful initiative!

    If anybody feels bored, he/she is free to skip, or visit other sites.
    A diary is a diary, made of small and big things.
    And why should blackberries not deserve our attention?

    Keep it going, George!

  58. The tension mounts…..

    You see, for all I know, George has been treading water with one arm all this time—holding his legal pad and quill up out of the roiling, fetid water with the other. And all the while calling with a loud, desperate plea: “Marx! Marx!

    For background music, I would like to suggest David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (1974). Alternatively, Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps (1913) would suffice.

  59. Winston says:

    15th August 1938 – “terribly muddy in the bottom fields. Whilst putting Maisie through her paces I took a tumble. She slipped her jess as I fell and seems reluctant to return to the fold. Some sun amongst the clouds but I’m sure she’ll return once she’s had her fill of the summer thrushes.”

  60. PeteH says:

    I wonder if the blackberries represent Spain during the civil war, starting off ‘red’ then slowly turning ‘black’ as the weather turns colder…

    Or maybe he just hasn’t got anything big on his mind at this point. He was a human being and thus there was more to him than relentless political commentary.

  61. monstruoso says:

    Used to work in a zoo. Often and often, a visitor would approach and say, “where’s the so and so?” in a tone of mild reproof, as if he had somehow been denied the entertainment he had come for.

    If the person were young I would explain that watching animals usually took observant stillness and patience. Some few would actually wait and watch, and be rewarded with a glimpse of the live animal, still and eerily visible/invisible on a leaf or tree or near a stone.

    But most would mumble something about “Animal Planet” and go off to not see something else.

    The most disturbing visitors were the ones who would ask me weather the living, breathing, moving, shitting, lowing animal standing right next to me were real.

    Gramaphones indeed…

  62. monstruoso says:

    hmm, I said “weather” for “whether”…

  63. Jerry says:

    Dear Mr. Orwell,
    I am told you are a great writer, but I have read three diary entries from you and I must say, I am not impressed so far. The problem as I see it is that you are writing for the wrong medium.
    Perhaps you could write some stories about what you and your friends did the other night while getting drunk. This type of story is very popular these days. Or, if you’re not inspired by stories of drunkenness, maybe a series about anthropomorphic animals and their hijinks in establishing a quasi-government of their own would be enough to bring people back to your blog.
    But really, you have to pep it up a little, or you’ll lose us.
    The Internet

  64. Pingback: David J. Derus » George Orwell Blog

  65. CJ says:

    Did the diaries dry up on 12 August or am I missing something?

  66. Ángel says:

    I am from Argentina and I am a student of english. I have to say that this idea is brilliant, I´ ve just added this blog to my gmail reader.

  67. Michael Tweed says:

    Hey thanks so much for such a wonderful project, fine way to spend a few minutes each day to see what ol’ George was up to. just a small suggestion to avoid confusion though, maybe you could put a blank entry up for days without, or some sign so that folks know you just haven’t gone awol or gotten lackadaisical. now that i’ve figured it out it doesn’t really matter to me, but it might save you some grief from others down the road. but whatever you opt to do much gratitude from me.

  68. Carl Johnson says:

    Perhads a “no entry today” note would help. Like many others, no doubt, I wasted time trying to trouble shoot on the assumption that there would be a daily entry. I was left with the impression that someone had simply lost interest in blogging and wondered off. Despite the simplicity of the entries, I enjoy the chance to peep into the mans day to day toughts. If I lose interest I’ll stop. On the otherhand, I woud hate to see the narcissistic blow hards who add there two cents with such regularity stop as they also provide a glimpse through an interesting window.

  69. Mr. Peabody says:

    Just the year before, Orwell was almost killed fighting in Spain–shot in the throat, transported to a deathtrap of a military hospital, then on the run from Communist secret police in Barcelona. By August 1938 it was clear that war with Germany was on the way, either over Czechoslovakia or Poland. The British government assumed that air attacks on Britain would kill a half million people.

    Under these circumstances, a momentary interest in blackberries would have been a welcome relief.

  70. perde says:

    great idea great works

  71. Pingback: NetNewsWire and George Orwell | The Celsius1414 Journal

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