Friday, August 10, 2007

Irony Poisoning

With all deference to Law, who coined the phrase.

I would never want to be a blogger - at least, in terms of audience and traffic and all that. I know that there is a very small handful of friends who read this occasionally, and I would be lying if I said I didn't give attention to my form and sentence structure because of them. However, this corner of the internet is mine and is remarkably cheaper than therapy. I hash shit out here that would otherwise fester in my head and it serves as a release. As another aside, I write for a living, but not the kind of writing I would long to do, so just putting my own words on virtual paper is a creative and exercise.

I read several blogs on a semi-regular basis. Stephanie, and of course, there is Amy, who is just plain entertaining and her kid is cute. I also read the QC Report, because she is a great goddamn writer and was also the little girl from The Goodbye Girl, which is required viewing for anyone. My list of must read is mostly people whose writing styles and senses of humor I enjoy, and I could list a bunch of writers' sites that I read whenever I remember them.

What I don't read are the sites that feature "oh, I took the kids to school today and fed the pets this, and took a phone call from so and so" and that type of sharing. I understand the nature of those blogs - keeping in touch with e-friends, etc. - and I read those of my own e-friends. That said, my e-friends aren't really of the daily "here's what I am doing, every moment of the day, and here is every thought I am thinking" variety. There is a certain kind of arrogance to that style of posting, especially if the writer is assuming (or cultivating) an audience. I enjoy listening to people when they have something to say, not because they want to talk. I don't believe my life is particularly interesting and cannot imagine wanting to record and share the mundane as a substitute for actual relationships. I certainly don't tell my meatspace friends about that kind of minutiae, nor would I especially like to hear theirs. I don't call my friends up and tell them about how adorable Darbs was this morning and how I need to clean my house and fuck all, are my cramps kicking my ass, which is smaller because of all of the squats and lunges.

I am a little fascinated by that whole line of thinking. Is it some hope or expectation that a reader will become invested in your daily life and tune in for some reality-show type shenanigans? I think that is part of it - a modern day version of "I have the wackiest life and if only I had the time to write the sardonic, cutting memoir, I would have it all." More often than not, the writing on the "days of my life" style blogs is mind-numbing and banal, but the underlying idea is nonetheless intriguing. If someone - anyone - comments on your minutia, does it elevate it to Interesting Shit That Happened To You and Therefore Significant?

This is all terribly hypocritical, as I type to my blogger account that I know at least three people read (NORM!). It is an as yet undeveloped thought that, I strongly suspect, will cause me to cease my blogger-as-therapy adventure. I don't type stream of consciousness stuff and I have other outlets to work out the more personal shit. What is interesting and puzzling to me is the sites I enjoy most are highly personal in nature. I am not at all comfortable with airing my deepest personal issues on a website that Google will archive forever, yet am kind of appreciative of those who can do it.

I live my life largely in private, this corner of the internet notwithstanding. I know that words have lasting power, especially in the Google era, and at the end of the day, you are judged by the words you write, not the sentiment behind them.

I guess we shall see. I still want to write down my thoughts about a few things. Not what Darby ate for dinner tonight, or how stressed I am feeling, or how many chores I have to do this weekend. I love stories, I guess, and I love to read and tell them. The hope is that by doing it often enough, I will get better at it.


Norm said...

I admit I get a bit of a frisson from peering into the daily lives and routine of complete strangers as well as those of my friends (although with my friends it's less voyeurism than it is sincere interest).

So if Amalah mentions another blogger in one of her hilarious columns I may go read that blog once or twice. And as you know I am uncomfortable reading that stuff incognito so I'll put in a short comment saying something innocuous.

Now if there's a million people who behave the way I do once each day in the web ... that there's what Google would call a revenue stream. Ha. And I think that's what leads a lot of these folks down the path they go in. They write one awesome thing that gets widely viewed, and suddenly they're performing for an audience, and omg what do I write about today, and it's the cat (metaphorically speaking).

You should feel no such pressure.

Except -- we're going to demand updates on the ass reduction due to squats and lunges. Aren't we, Tal?

BTW I was just thinking how blogging is nothing new. If you look at our equivalents in the past in the western world at least, people used to emit letters at an astonishing rate, filled with detail about their lives, to many of their friends and relatives. Only now the post is so expensive we use the net, or email ... poorly formed hypothesis, but I bet my daughter would say "OMG Jane Austen would so be a blogger ... !"

ellagood said...

i often wonder why i blog. but then, when i do, and don't think anyone has read depresses me.
i want to be matter how few ears my words fall on.

cornutt said...

See, I think if Jane Austen would have been a blogger, she would have been a good one and would have reserved quite a bit of herself. Your point is valid, however, as I have read historical letters between authors that I assume they had no intention of publishing when writing them. Perhaps you are right, though, and I have thought too much on this topic.

ella, you are one of those writers who has something to say and have a style of writing that makes the reader want to hear it. I hope you fix that old laptop, as I, for one, would love to read your story.