Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Exercise in Self-Indulgence

Participating in the NaBloPoMo challenge has got me to thinking about blogs in general and my blogging in particular. I can’t say exactly why I started, but I believe it has much to do with the fact that I too wanted my voice to be heard amongst the masses, albeit anonymously. As I mulled over the question, I kept coming back to the issue of, so what? What is the point?

Finslippy pointed me in the direction of a post put out by Palinode who wrote a piece for the online journal Reconstruction. Within it he raises some interesting points, and brings into focus some of the things I couldn’t put into words. I recommend reading the whole thing, since he’s a great writer.
"It is my firm belief that blogs, like books of poetry or really good jokes, are useless. I mean that in the best sense of the word…The elements of blogging, as far as I'm concerned, are already junk. Our lives, our entire world, form a heap of trivia and disaster. To some degree we're stuck in the tragic position of Klee's "Angelus Novus", unable to reach back and mend the catastrophe of history. What we do have is memory and language, which, along with a high-speed connection, is all you need to reshape it, hold it up for your readers, plunge your hand in and rip out the joke. It fixes nothing, changes nothing: a completely useless task. But I can't stop doing it."
When I really think about it, I find the overall experience of blogging to be an exercise in self-indulgence. How arrogant is it to believe someone really wants to read the minutiae of my life and thoughts? Then again, I didn’t start throwing out my life to the internet to gain a readership of any kind, or recognition. I was looking for a place to process the turmoil in my life.

After parting ways with Mr. Intellectual I lost my best friend and confidant, the safe outlet to share my struggles with. I was finding the exercise of writing in a traditional pen and paper journal less and less satisfactory and aspects of the blog were appealing. The traditional scrapbooking aspects, wherein pictures, links and ephemera were incorporated with the written word, without the effort of the cut and paste tangible scrapbook, was quite alluring. A blog seemed more flexible, less restrictive, and more private than a written journal, while at the same time being painfully public despite my anonymous authorship.

While all this sounds great, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that on some level I find blogging to be self-absorbed, and even tending towards the narcissistic at times. I still have no answers as to what purpose it serves in the grand scheme of things. Much like I have no answers for the reason why I, or anyone else for that matter, exist. Do I find it completely useless? Probably not.

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