Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Writing in the Open

I love keeping a blog. I love the reverse chronological nature/order of writing and reading within a blog. I love the convenient circularity of reading "around" at a blog, in an order determined by sudden bursts of interest. I love the one hand clapping.

Many readers & writers ignore blogs. Blogs are discounted for quality, accuracy, and relevance by the very fact of their context as blogs unless they are maintained by a news organization owned by a major company or conglomerate -- these do seem like billboards -- or unless the ethos of the blogger has helped to establish the blog as valuable. The blogger of blogs of serious inquiry -- political and aesthetic and journalistic -- partly establishes his ethos by refusing the personal or quotidien. Avoidance of, lack of interest in, shuddering at the thought of so many people exposing themselves "to the planet" and their sheer number, especially when faced with more important reading duties or possibilities, create an underlying privacy. At my blog there are 18 international and domestic visitors per day. Most of them stay for 00:00 minutes. Rarely, someone stops to read at the blog or comment. Comments remain on the internet permanently and can be like bird droppings to reread later except the most formal and impersonal of them.

Readers of blogs are like birds at a feeder in a yard where a cat lives. They don't nest. They flit from tree to tree. The openness of the blogosphere is like air to a bird. I love birds. I love being a cat trying to espy a bird or a mother who feeds them. I love the openness of the blogosphere.

The difference between an internet journal and a blog is sometimes only technical, like stepping over a chalk line for a door, like flying over a telephone line.

To date, I have "published" 277 posts, of which 48 are draft posts -- including a few photos -- that I have voluntarily and subsequently "removed" while yet preserving them in "draft" form -- "taken down," as if a post were a yard sign or bulletin board or picture hanging at an exhibit instead of a letter with a postage stamp -- concealed from view, really, after having revealed them once or at one time, usually for the sheer pleasure, sense of eagerness, and accomplishment in it. I preserve them for the same reasons.

I view my blog as a book under construction. I don't view myself as a writer captured on the jumbotron. I view myself as someone who paints portraits on the street instead of privately in a studio. Or as a street musician.

At one point, I asked for donations but thought better of it. I tried advertising for Google at the blog and thought better of that.

My blog has a formal appearance with its images of nature. It is a formal experience to work in the blog form. I typically use the word "weblog" to reinforce that formal feeling. Typographically, I have limited options: flush left, center, flush right or right-left justified, bullet lists and block quotes. That affects poetry most.

My reasons when I depost:

  1. Exigencies of print and online publication in journals and books
  2. Distinction between self- and other publishing where other-publishing offers more esteem, privacy, and closure, closure in more than one sense: internet self-publishing is even more like hiding in the open than underground print publishing -- print books and journals have to be special-ordered or purchased at readings and book fairs and are therefore much more difficult to access
  3. A quest for writing in privacy
  4. Fear of revealing too much personal information
  5. Hesitancy to identify people except in a formal way
  6. Self-censorship of other types
  7. Job seeking regardless of type of job
  8. Timing and placement with regard to other posts
  9. Other aesthetic considerations
  10. Proprietary guardianship of writing as work

Other reasons and feelings occur in the process of revision just as in the less immediate ways of writing.

I love the convenience of the entire machine, right down to the template, the generous free hosting, the reliability of the mechanisms, the dailyness of it, the visitations, the sense of audience, the google search lines. One of the search lines yesterday was for "sex in hotel beds ettiquette," a query that led to a post I wrote in Jan. 2006 called "First Sex"; "bondageservice" led to the same post the next day. One from today contains a typo: "sexual prosetics for men." I plan to bring that to the attention of my writer-editor-friends when I next correspond.

1 comment:

Jacob Russell said...

In a year and half of blogging (such an ugly word!), I've settled down to regular visits with about two dozen cites--mostly literary and book blogs not confined to Establishment Literary Fiction or the School of Quietude. I like to stay connected to continental philosophy (Larval Subjects) and cutting edge science (Dirac Sea RealClimate, CosmicVariance)... a few beautifully written and fiercely intelligent daybooks (Letters from a Librarian, Spurious). They have become an essential part of my daily routine--keeping me alert, jarring me out of the comfort of received notions--and goading me to write, think about and sharpen my own ideas on what I call the aesthetics of process... those always more nascent than realized ideas that guide me in my fiction and poetry.

On This Space or Conversational Reading or The Chagal Connection I find intelligent and informed reviews the equal or better than anything I see in the New Yorker or the London Review of Books.

Your fine, astringent take on sexual politics is a welcome presence... Happy to have discovered you on Facebook. I hope your effort finds many readers.