Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blog Theory

In light of New Year's Day approaching, I've been saying to Karen, "I wonder what 2010 will bring" so often she thinks my Chatty Cathy string has broken.

A friend said, "Now you have a blog, you must find something to say." I didn't ask, but I was curious. Perhaps he was suggesting I don't often have something to say, or that I may often have something to say but it's really nothing, or maybe that having a blog means I must find something to say more often even if it's nothing. Eckhart Tolle might say I'm wasting my time trying to guess what my friend meant, but he's wrong because what I'm thinking about is not what my friend meant. Rather, it's why people, and particularly me, write a blog.

For some reason, that question brings me to the perennial one: What is an artist? I like to think one of the differences between a real artist and an aspiring artist is the real artist doesn't care what others think of his work. He is so confident in his ability (or his lack of it, which technically is irrelevant) that he will do his art forever regardless of what others think of it. He is not arrogant; the fact that other people want his work does not influence his regard for his work, either that it must be good because they like it or bad because they like it.

Would an artist, that is a writer who thinks of himself as an artist, blog? Yes, no. I read somewhere once that blogging, by its nature, is stream-of consciousness. I think the author was wrong. Let's consider the idea a moment. Some artists work and re-work a piece. A writer might pile on a hundred drafts, a painting might be layered with oils. A blogger has that opportunity. He clicks on "New Post" and begins typing. Every minute or so, the software saves the work as a "draft." Whenever the blogger wishes, he can "Publish Post" or "Save Now" without publishing. This process clearly allows deliberate work. The poet who insists on sitting on a new poem for six months before exposing it could happily blog. He could gradually release his work in his accustomed manner, as if he were aging cheese or wine.

My choice is a happy (for me) medium. So far, I've tried to publish something each day, whether or not I'm completely satisfied with the product. I'm not a politician or aspiring to become one, so it doesn't matter if something I choose to publish one day "comes back to haunt me," not that I don't engage in censorship from time to time. I think the supply of violence and cussing is sufficient I needn't add to it.

"Yeah, I noticed you wrote 'manure' the other day," says Virginia, "you sanctimonious twit."

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