Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Joy of Bloggery

In my last post, which features an entry from my 1988 Christmas break travels around Europe, my 1988 self writes, "What's life for except to be shared? And when you're like me and always taking in and never giving out, because you have no one to give to . . . it all seems pretty pointless."

When I was transcribing that from my handwritten journal, I had to be amazed at how things work out. Twenty years ago, the Internet may have been thought of, but not by me, and the concept of the web log had not been envisioned at all.

And now, here it is! Ordinary people like me who aren't syndicated columnists or publish-or-perish professors or popular short story authors have this forum where we can share life and ruminate on and give out what we've taken in, and whoever calls up our blog page can receive it-- or not-- all they please!

I admit that the forms that appear in blogs are nothing new. They are of old: the political column, the technical handbook entry, the theological pamphlet. The personal blog reproduces the private diary, and the more polished efforts of Blogdom owe tribute to three centuries and more of books of essays by men like Bacon, Lamb, and de Quincy.

But the freedom of publication is new, and it is amazing. Someone like me can broadcast my thoughts in my words over the wide fields of cyberspace, and all I need is a keyboard and a bit of bandwidth!

Four or so years ago, when I first heard of the web log, it was described as an indiscriminate stream-of-consciousness mind-dump indulged in by the terminally self-centered. Back then, I heard, daily or even hourly publication was everything, form and content and consideration for one's audience was nothing.

But I read others' blogs and learned different. I found that writers will display their care or their carelessness, whether they are publishing on paper or on-line. I found that if a blog featuring pure abandoned emotion turns out to be compelling, it's probably because its author is an artist of that style and labors to get the effect just right. I found that whatever the style or genre, the blogger has to mind what he says and how he says it, so his story will be featly told and his opinion aptly expressed, and his readers edified, entertained, enlightened, or, if that's the purpose, even enraged. And in the process, he'll find that his thoughts and opinions become clearer to himself, because he is not writing exclusively for himself, he is communicating with a great unseen audience.

At least that's how it is for me. And whether you, my unseen audience, are many or few, I stand in awe that the world has turned round to the place where I can communicate with you, and for that I am grateful.


whiskers said...

Yes! Exactly!

I love the fact that 100 years ago, letter writing was the most common way of communication, and now we can write letters and read them within minutes of their composition. I love putting the same thought and care into my online work as I do my written work.

And I love meeting people I would never have gotten the chance to meet in real life, such as you.


Viola Larson said...

Amen to that Whiskers. I have so many friends from blogging and I have met some of them too. At a New Wineskins meeting in Sacramento and at GA. With some of the comments I get on my blog I sometimes want to curse the whole idea, but with all the dear friends I praise God.

Sandy said...

Ah, Whiskers. You have said it so much better than I could ever have done. The purpose of my blog is to bring laughter to those that care to stop by, or to make one think or make one more aware. But the thing I enjoy most is bringing laughter and making such wonderful friends.