27 December 2009

On Writing Blogs

There are many reasons why one might want to write a blog, out numbered only by reasons why one shouldn't. So much verbiage on the digital landscape these days, why add to it? As I hunker down to launch this blog, here are five reasons why I feel a need to carve out my own space in the electronic world, and five reasons why I maybe shouldn't.

First, my reasons for doing this.
  1. Platforms (The key word these days in publishing is "platform." Who's reading what you are writing, and how are they gaining access to it? There are too many little things that I write that never see the light of day. For some of these there is a good reason why no one has read them. Either they stink, or are too personal. Both of these categories will not make it to this blog. However, the other stuff that maybe somebody might sit down and read someday, might giggle a bit while reading, or scratch a temple, or read something else as a reaction to, those things need a platform. The world of publishing is changing just like the world of music changed 10 years ago, especially in terms of production. If I can record a record in my basement that a bunch of people can hear over the Internet, why shouldn't my writing share the same multiplicity and convenience?)
  2. Dialogue (I am a follower of Martin Buber, or at least I have read all of his books. According to him, and many others, meaning is made in those wonderful spaces between me and you, I and thou, I and the other, that guy and this woman. Blogs seem to be a good start in finding a nicely designed Avenue of dialogue.)
  3. Political Plethora (I have found, and maybe you can commiserate with this, that I have very little time in the space of a day in which I'm not contemplating stuff that matters; war, hunger, politics, racial tension, Britney Spears. If anything, let this blog be a place where I can just store some stuff that needs evicting from my contemplation space.)
  4. New Media Madness (I am a professor of media studies, and have been feeling behind my students in their understanding and use of new media. How can I be expected to teach the psychological, cultural, and political ramifications of new media if I am not a participant? I blog, therefore I can teach media.)
  5. A Storehouse Of Smit (Morbid, but true. If generation Z (Or whatever) doesn't go to the library, they can come here to see what I cared about, what I wrote about, what was going on at the beginning of the 21st century and what some middle-aged, Midwestern college professor, disabled guy thought about it.)
Second, the reasons I maybe shouldn't do what I'm about to do:
  1. Advanced Performativity (Certainly, like all things public, a blog could simply become another performative element of living amongst many other performative elements that I currently employ -- being a professor, being a musician, being a disabled person, all of these things in some way or another are performative. Which is only to say that I have an audience more often than I don't. So, the blog has the potential of just providing one more stage, one more way in which I can offer myself to others. And really, do we need this much performative in one life? Maybe one more stage will just be too much?)
  2. Intense Selfhood (Connected to the performative is this propensity for bloggers to become so self-interested that every word they write becomes an element of cathartic query; that the nouns and verbs I will stand up together for my blog audience should become in some ways little pieces of my own self-examination, now that is reason enough to stop right now. I don't need more complex cathartic systems. None of us really do.)
  3. Time (The envelope in which I hold all of my time, for being a dad, a husband, an author, an academic, a musician, is starting to burst a bit at the folds. Certainly, I don't need one more damn thing to do.)
  4. Various Voices (Put plainly, there are already some amazing voices being amplified by blogging, what might I offer that they're not already giving?)
  5. Does It Help? (As I move into my late 30s, I am trying to consciously do things that actually, well..., do things. In other words, empty action has little place in the time I spend outside of my home. I want what I do, what I put forth my energy towards, to offer something to others. And so, the question that I constantly am debating with myself, my friends, my colleagues, my students, is whether or not blogging/Digital living offers something. Could my time be better spent?)
In the end, what I publish here will fall somewhere between these two lists. One foot in the nervous energy of hailing a response, the other tucked deep inside the muck of self-consciousness. Isn't that what all blogs are?