Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Blogging Versus The Private Journal

Sometimes I feel a pang of writer's guilt about how I've all but abandoned the practise of journal-keeping since I joined the blogging world. I used to write in my private journal daily. Now I hardly ever use it.
I felt better about that yesterday, though, when I found out that journal-keeping was also the habit of the most arrogant, screwed-up, unpleasant, solipsistic son******** I know (I mean other than the guy in the bathroom mirror). He has kept one all his life and probably continues the practice today.
It is, when you think about it, a way of reordering the universe, of having the final say, of lashing all those you are unable to control. It is a tool, in other words, of impotence. I remember how, as the situation with my mentally ill relative descended into chaos, the two of us would argue and then go away into separate rooms and lambast each other in our journals--justifying all our own actions at the same time of course. Two violated virgins, we were, scratching away with our pens in silent fury. It mystifies me now that I didn't just slap my relative hard for her transgressions against me, and leave.
Blogging is marginally less solipsistic because by its nature, it is a kind of dialogue. Anybody can read this and engage with me about it. So all of my stupid rationalisations and psychotic justifications will be immediately obvious to anyone who cares to look, and I will have to account for them (and sometimes I have). I am not king of the universe of Suffolk Punch, I'm just the landlord.
It is--or appears to be--more ephemeral than a solid journal that you can hold in your hand and keep in a corner of your room for posterity's sake.This tends to be a concern of artists and general creative types rather than ordinary bog-standard journal keepers. But I don't care. As I've said before, there are many poets out there keeping comprehensive archives of their work for future generations, and most of those archives won't survive one week after the poets die: let events take their own course in these matters, history will make its own mind up.
It's much more interesting, anyway, to have somebody respond immediately to a piece of work you've written. What do I care if someone 100 years from now reads a poem of mine and likes it? I'll have found out whether I was right or wrong about God by then, and such petty earthly matters won't concern me anymore.

1 comment:

Janey... said...

Bruce...

Over the last several months since I opened my own blogscape here...I've encountered some unanticipated situations...
Early on...I didn't think it would be much different than what I've kept in a journal...or written on a message board...or sent via email...
But what I hadn't anticipated was the shift in control...A shift because(at least for me), along with blogging...seems a greater sense of urgency...time seems much more relevant in blogville than it does when journaling...Although there's no imposed time frame...it just seems like what I choose to write should be relevant to the now...and then along with that self imposed pressure to post a timely entry...is the internal conflict of posting something sub- standard ...Something shown before it's time...that's one of those things that doesn't present itself as glaring when journaling...