9/12/07

Why keep a blog?



(or "Writing as prophylaxis")

The best part about keeping a blog is that you can write whatever you feel like, stuff that’s not even really publishable, but that’s fun to write and – more importantly – keeps you writing, thus countering a writer’s far more pressing urge to procrastination and idleness. Yet you could be outside meeting people, working at a desk job that would at least pay a lot more money than sitting around writing stories nobody will read or publish, get drunk, or just pick the dead skin from your calluses and stare blankly at a wall. But instead you sit at home and write stuff on a blog that will most likely be read by no one, because you know that others know that you’re just another self-important narcissistic attention-whore who thinks they have something amazing to say, like about ten million other dilettantes out there chopping away on their own blogs, shoveling their own contributions on to the cosmic compost heap of literary mediocrity.

But if we know it’s futile and pointless, why don’t we instead just keep our ground-shattering revelations on some word document that’s left on our desktops to pop up and amuse us when we’ve got a beer buzz on and no company around to share it with, save perhaps the faint hope of emailing it out to the odd person who might actually show some slight interest in reading it at some point (probably after you mention it with blithe calculation to some girl you want to fuck at some house party, after which she awkwardly acts like she’d love to read it just to be polite, which you then mistake for sincerity)? Why do you have to share it with the entire universe if it’s just going to be lost among a trillion other inconsequential blogs? Why bother at all?

I suppose the only way to answer this is that we write blogs because the treat is in the trick, whereby we fool ourselves into assuming that people are in fact reading it. After all, it’s out there, and once it’s out there our minds start playing tricks on us, with seductive what-if’s and maybe’s. What if maybe your ex-girlfriend or one of your frenemies with whom you’re in a lifelong rivalry for success, recognition and one-upmanship, really is reading? It’s possible, isn’t it? In fact, it’s even probable. It makes sense that they have probably Googled you (as you yourself have consistently Googled them) and found your little online virtual vanity space and read your stuff and searched for your photos with the sort of voracious voyeurism that is not exclusive to Facebook (though best exploited by it). It also makes sense that they would certainly not want it to be known to you that they have been visiting your blog and Googling you, because we are all curious at the risk of losing our dignity, and thus careful to dissimulate those embarrassing base urges which underlie our most viscerally satisfying deeds. So in our case, absence of proof is no proof of absence, and our self-love makes greedy optimists of us wherever doubt thrives to our benefit.

It’s this doubt and this anonymity that seduces us, not just in our passion for prying, but in our need for exhibitionism as well. Hence the blogger. We are the ultimate gainless exhibitionists who let our minds trick us as we tap tap tap away on our blogs while granting ourselves the benefit of the doubt that there exists a whole array of invisible eyes looking down on us as we write to our affectation’s content, further bolstered by the illusory promise of that one hidden gaze that stands out among the rest, watching on and justifying our endeavors to the point where our only true happiness resides in the spaces between our self-precious words and those two eyes we believe always and unfailingly look back at us in silence, with sympathy, compassion, awe, admiration, respect, and perfect understanding. After all, each of us only really lives for one pair of eyes at a time.

Just kidding. Fuck the eyes. I write because I'm bored and have too much time on my hands and too much clutter in my head. I write to stave off dementia. In other words, I write prophylactically.