George R.R. Martin is known as a bloodthirsty writer, lopping the heads off your favourite A Song of Ice and Fire characters (sometimes quite literally) with a reckless abandon that barely gives you time to grieve before the next blood-spattered literary massacre. His latest kill may be one of his most tragic though: Martin has offed his own LiveJournal.
Martin, announcing a recent break from not-a-blogging in March 2018 to focus on The Winds of Winter, on his LiveJournal page. Image: LiveJournal
Martin’s LiveJournal page, wonderfully titled “Not a Blog”, has been operating since July 2005, perhaps the peak of the platform’s fandom reach, but what’s made it so utterly charming is how the writer has stayed there long after LiveJournal’s popularity eclipsed. Users spent the last decade flooding to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, but Martin was still there, LiveJournaling away.
Hell, he was still at it after even more people abandoned the service last year in the wake of LiveJournal’s Russian owners censoring political speech. Martin remained, offering insights into his future books, or where he was at with the seemingly never-ending process of writing the latest chapter of the ASoIaF saga, The Winds of Winter.
And that, in a way, was part of the appeal of “Not a Blog”. In an age when fans can so easily engage with creators on social media platforms, the idea of having to keep up with a LiveJournal in the year of our Lord 2018 just to check in on Martin’s latest thoughts – the only place for official correspondence from him – was a bit silly. But also endearing, in the same way Martin refuses to write books on anything but an ancient computer running WordStar 4.0!
But now, 13 years later, Martin is moving on. The move was announced in a final post to LiveJournal yesterday, but the author’s “Not a Blog” will live on – now officially integrated into part of his official website. The site even made a pretty good facsimile of the original’s aesthetic!
The All-New, Not-All-That-Different Not a Blog. Image: George R.R. Martin (Not a Blog)
It’s an end of an era, indeed. But even as “Not a Blog” lives on in a slightly different form, the Beric Dondarrion of internet pages, there’s still a sadness in LiveJournal losing what might be one of its last, and most prominent, power users.