Monday, February 11, 2008

A Note on Blogging

Capote accused Kerouac of typing, not writing. Today there is a middle ground: blogging.

Blogging is not writing.

At its best it's a notch above copying and pasting. At its worst it's ... well ... at its worst it is copying and pasting--the continuum stretches just so far.

Writing demands responsibility, coherence, and a clear sense of purpose, as well as a theoretical sense of the reader.

Blogging is spontaneous and off the cuff, usually to the point of irresponsibility and incoherence. The purpose of the blog is just a notch above simple venting, and if the blogger has a reader, it is himself above any other.

Automatic writing, by which analysands track the stream of their consciousness, is the closest to writing that blogging gets ... but automatic writing is meant for close analysis; blogging is not.

The Latin poet Horace urged poets to wait nine years before publishing their work. The goal of the hiatus was to give the writers time for second thoughts and opportunity to revisit the work from time to time to ensure that it holds up to the test of time.

Blogging has no test of time. Next to text messaging, it is the most immediate, thoughtless, and slapdash of all forms of written communication. Its use-by date is immediate--it has no posterity--but then it doesn't have the burden of a tradition either.

Such is its charm, though. The blog is to the essay as the snapshot is to the painting.

I type my scattered impressions, wait nine seconds, and press "post."

My message in the bottle. My scribbling in the sand. My snap judgment. My blog.

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