Monday, August 07, 2006

The Impulse to Blog

The impulse to blog is alien to me

First, I loathe diaries. I have never been able to keep one, and the scattered pages that I find at the bottom of my bag after a trip to a doctor's office or a prorogated academic conference are filled with alternating sloped and cramped, exuberant and repentent, observations on philosophy and personal misery. They do not constitute a diary, do not reveal what happened to draw out such passions, and explain absolutely nothing. In other words, I write essays rather than journal entries, and every time I attempt to write only about what has happened to me or around me, I end up frisking through the fields of Elysium or diving to the bottom of the Slough of Despond.

"The horror of getting up is unparalleled, and I am filled with amazement every morning when I find that I have done it." -- Lytton Strachey
I sympathize with the distinguished shade. I find that the worst of it is realizing that, as Emerson said, I have taken the Giant with me. I'm still me, despite the respite of dreams. I cannot help writing essays, and I have sought help for it. In my actual life, away from the bombard of electrons and phosphor, I have been told most consistently that I write essays "like Samuel Johnson." Instead of puffing with pride, I generally react to this with despair. I don't want to write like Samuel Johnson.

The problem is that he and I may be doomed to write like one another. Like him, I do not like myself very much. Like him, I am quite sure that all my time is wasted. Like him, the world has endorsed my opinions by refusing to pay me sufficient money or to provide me with a happy wife (or even an unhappy Tetty). Like him, I tend to grow clubs around me, whether I seek to or not. More to the point, like him, I have as my model Joseph Addison but, like him, cannot stomach writing about manners and the titters of society. Like him, too, I can only deal with myself and my authorship of my ideas and emotions by cloaking them in the armor of feigned universal truth. Unlike him, however, I have not been to the printers, not butted my head against the walls of Fleet Street, for, unlike him, the chorus of nay sayers have control of my world.

So, to the impulse of blogging: it mystifies me.

  • Catharsis? No thanks. I have rarely found that writing makes me feel better, except when writing a truly nasty letter to a girlfriend who was now someone else's lover.
  • Sharing and caring? Nah. I don't care and don't believe that sharing will do much.
  • Recording the vitality of my life and shoring against the deserts of vast eternity my poor ego and small life? Well, it's an attractive offer, but there is nothing that suggests that my little all should be saved when so many billions disappear. I haven't the egomania for that.
  • A ticket to power over political candidates? Oh, please! I plan to be plenty political, and I'm an enraged Democrat, but if reason and virtue cannot touch the heart of politics, I don't have any desire to put my fingers in there.
  • A ticket to a book contract? Again, the world has words enough.
So, I have to figure out why I should blog. The only answer that I can come to, the only answer commensurate with honor, is that I write essays, and a blog is a convenient piece of scrap paper.


Ed said...

If it's paper you need, they sell it by the roll at the grocery store.

I think most blogging should be done with that kind of paper and then, after an appropriate number of "comments" have accumulated, it is "published" using a little silver lever.

The Geogre said...

Then how good must you feel looking at it and sharing it?

Clyde Penquin said...

Everything that needs to be said about this blog has already been said, by "Plastic Bertrand" in 1977:

"Yam! Bam! my Splash cat
To lie on my bed puffed out its language
By drinking all my whisky as for me
Little slept, emptied, persecuted
I had to sleep in the gutter
Where I had a flash
Hou! Hou! Hou! Hou!

Four colors
Go hop! one morning
A darling came home
Headstock of Cellophane
Chinese hair an adhesive plaster
A hangover drank my beer
In large rubber glass
Hou! Hou! Hou! Hou!

Like an Indian in his igloo
That planes for me that planes for me
That planes for me me me me me
That planes for me
Hou! Hou! Hou! Hou!
That planes for me

Go hop! the chick what a panard!
What a vibration! to be sent
On the door mat
Filed, ruined, emptied, filled
You are the King of the couch!
That she says to me while passing
Hou! Hou! Hou! Hou!
I am the King of the couch

That planes for me that planes for me
That planes for me me me me me
That planes for me
Hou! Hou! Hou! Hou!
That planes for me"

The Geogre said...

You folks do know that you can hit "reload" on your browser and see *new* entries? This first one wasn't particularly good or strong. There are better ones.

Clyde Penquin said...

I keep hitting the "reload" button but I can't find the "fire" button.

The Geogre said...

You know, you Bobbies *could* actually leave a post to some other blog entry than the very first one. Then you could fire away and maybe even hit something.