Thursday, May 21, 2020

"I had tightened it, I had brightened it"

Some interesting reflections on what blogging is / was, from Bruce Sterling as he announces the closing down of his own long-running (17 years) blog Beyond the Beyond (c/o Wired magazine) ...

Bruce describes it as "a form of psychic relief...  by blogging, I removed things from the fog of vague interest and I oriented them toward possible creative use"

That chimed with my own feelings about the value of unpaid labour: writing as freeform fun, as mental calisthenics, as intellectual hygiene... the blog as public notepad, a testing space or site for the construction of thought-probes

This comment also struck a chord:

"I’m even proud and happy that I managed to spare the readers so much of my own mental compost in this blog. The chosen, curated material that made it on to this blog was maybe one percent of the vast heaps of rubbish I was overturning. I could have stuffed this blog with two hundred times as much “content”..."

One of the problems with having a blog (or blogs multiple) is that you start thinking bloggy  -  everything becomes potential "material", something that could be turned into a riff with only a smidgeon of effort, given the lax standards of the format and the tolerance of the readership.  The incontinence you see (not here these days, but still on the other blogs) is a fraction of the stuff that I have in bulging folders of scrawled notes... and there is more that never even reached paper at all. 

(Perhaps this level of mind-churn was always going on - and getting emitted in letters and later in emails - both of which tend to go copious -  or in conversations in pubs and elsewhere. I don't know. But there's something about the itch caused by having a blog outlet that is generative, for good and for bad).

So here I am in the 18th year of blogging - a little bit longer than Bruce lasted - and although most everybody on the original scene has stopped, a few haven't...  there are newer names who are prolific and copious... and now and then a brand new one gets started.

To adapt the Ivor Cutler ditty, I believe in blogs. I truly believe in blogs.

Still.

Besides, it feels like I couldn't cease operations, even if I wanted to... it's too late to stop now.

But something might have to change.