I can’t get no

One Pot Meal is cooking things up:

Blogging, then, is like my mental scratch pad made visible: it’s much more stream-of-conscious, though still composed and relatively controlled. I think about what I’m going to post for a few minutes or a few hours, then pretty much just write it as I type. Along the way, ideas I hadn’t expected pop up and make themselves known, screaming for attention, and often they turn into other ideas, other posts, or even other projects. I actually, ideally, become more productive in my offline writing because of blogging— in effect, the impermanent work, the scratch pad, feeds what is intended as ‘finished’, lasting work.

It would surprise no one that I agree with this, and feel exactly the same way. That’s why, as part of my attempt to change my attitude, I changed my scratch-pad. Like it or not, this quest for permanence can have deleterious, rather than positive effects on writing. You never start, because you’re desperately afraid of being wrong. Blogging, for me at least, is liberating because I don’t care if I’m wrong. I can always write the idea a different way tomorrow, and try to make it work a little better. Forcing myself to place it in this venue may have potential consequences that puts the writing at risk: the risk of misinterpretation, or the risk of totally alienating of my small audience.

Blogging disclaimers abound, I think, for this very reason. “Don’t take it so seriously, it’s only a blog.” The question of affirmation is touchy at best. The community— as it stands now— I find liberal and friendly. But there is always the potential that they can turn on you like a pack of wild dogs and devour you whole. But it’s just sketches, you see? Does that matter if you are ripped limb from limb for voicing an unpopular opinion? It hasn’t happened to me yet. I’ve been misread, but not disemboweled, and if I were, I suppose I could only blame myself for choosing not to be private. But the benefits outweigh the rewards. I get to peek inside certain corners of people’s heads, and pick a few choice ideas to exploit. I get to record sites that I find during research, for easy retrieval later. I can make bold conjectures, and later modify them into more well rounded arguments. I can modify my process, as I figure out what works and what doesn’t. It has not detracted from my writing in the slightest.

Most writing is deservedly impermanent. It is a way of working things out, of accomplishing work, of getting things done. Poetic moments don’t come when called and striving to record those momentary flights of fancy in unpolished and imperfect form is an excellent writers tool. It is dangerous to concentrate on the ends, rather than the means. That’s my complaint with narrow views of pragmatism. But if pragmatism were extended to embrace the celebration of method, of experiment, of imperfectness (as argued in the book I just finished) then the means themselves, are in a certain way, the active crucible which incubates the birth of new methods— an end, worthy of considering as productive writing, however impermanent.

Blogging, inevitably rests on some powerful fantasies. I’m brilliant. I’m interesting. That was good. People will care. Fantasy is healthy— concentrating on grinding out great classic works, for most people, is purely delusional. Can’t we just play, have fun, and write?

The question of how to respond to the other kids on the playground isn’t a simple one. I’m always grateful for responses, but I don’t usually get too hung-up on it. I don’t comment all that often, unless I have something to say. Most of us are of necessity, somewhat egocentric about our own playing. That’s where the value of writing rests, in my opinion— in the personal satisfaction that everyone is free to gain from it. No one else can give you that, no matter how often they stroke your ego. That part’s up to you. Accepting blog discourse for what it is entails certain elements of forgiveness. You have to put aside the quest for perfection at the door, and accept the fragments for what they are— moments of shifting value.

1 thought on “I can’t get no”

  1. “Most writing is deservedly impermanent. . .You have to put aside the quest for perfection at the door, and accept the fragments for what they are— moments of shifting value.”
    just because it may be permanently accessable doesn’t make it permanent & just because it appears stable on the screen doesn’t mean it won’t flicker . . . thanks you just made writing easier

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