I have a dilemma. It’s not intellectual, philosophical, sexual, metaphysical, psychological, existential. It’s practical.
Why do I have a blog?
I started it because the Internet was a new frontier, for me, anyway, as a writer. And I also had this naive hope that the wandering eye of some agent or publisher might cross it and contact me to say postmodern should be lower-cased. I also began it as a useful way to keep the words flowing; the old chestnut of a word a day keeps the writer’s block away. And it has been useful. And I started it to try something different — the way a chef might prepare a meal differently from the routine.
But now? Am I simply posting out of habit? Is it a total conditioned reflex? Sheer obstinancy because I’ve started something and I have to see it through?
I don’t know.
When I look at my statistics, I see that strangers (and friends, too, I hope) are visiting the site. And it’s thrilling to know that people I have never met are actually interested in reading what I post. I mean, that was my wish, that people would read it.
But what of that?
I really treat it as a live notebook. A way to write and not really edit (besides spelling ), just a writing-from-the-hip exercise that helps strengthen the writing arm.
I don’t see it as a virtual diary, though. Yes, I sometimes write confessional-type entries, but I see these more like the way confessional poetry treats such private thoughts: in the realm of the creative and with more freedom to invent and hide the self in metaphor.
My blog is not a diary. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. For me, at least, the allure of a diary is not so much about the details of what’s been exposed as it is about the initial titilation of discovering a diary and actually opening it, that moment of taking a peek into something that is forbidden. Once you start to read a diary, the confessional aspect of it wanes, no matter how horrific or disturbing or enlightening or shameless the subject matter; the real pleasure fades once the initial taboo is crossed. The confessional writing all becomes more or less superfluous and lacking in the continual and heightened arousal as promised. I know I’d feel the same way if someone told me that they could re-create the day of my inception, could allow me to see my parents fucking. I’d thank them but say I’d rather imagine it on a genetic level, imagining the tiny sperm entering the large egg.
But is there more, I wonder, to my blog? Or is it just another lamppost on the endless brightly lit street of the Web trying to shine a little stronger? And does it really matter if that’s all it is? What’s so wrong with that? I walk outside at night just to see a star, which has travelled million of miles, twinkle. That’s the thing that really excites me, just seeing it there, up in the sky, this little pinprick of light in this huge universe, and I can find it, stare at it, for no other reason than to see it floating up there like a little light to nothing, not even needing to know that it has travelled there from who knows where. It’s the knowing it’s there that matters. The knowing I can go outside any night and it will still be there. There’s a comfort in that — but there’s also this creeping existentialism, too: someday that light won’t be there.
I had hoped some terrestrial light would have solved my quandary. It hasn’t.
So what am I driving at then? Maybe I have too much expectation from my blog and should just see it as just a part of the fabric of the Web, the same way atoms are the foundations of life: I blog, therefore I blog. Leave it at that.
Deep down, though, I am trying to start a conversation, get a narrative flowing. Am I succeeding? I get very few comments. But then I will read blogs and am not inclined to comment. I take whatever it is I want to take away with me and either bring it up in some conversation or simply think about the idea or a word or image or a feeling or whatever, letting it morph into something new that I can use in some creative way or I let it slide away to be used by someone else.
I’m happy just to be a rattlebag where others dip and take away. That is the beauty of being a writer, always seeking and searching for something to steal: some new experience, some new emotion, some new idea, some new metaphor, some new image, some new theme, some new word. But what’s important is that you then make it your own, use your imagination to make it different, because nobody wants the same.
I can be happy with that: adding to this verbal exchange, and making change.