The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 December 2006

Two roads diverged

Normally I use this space to deny responsibility for things, but I don't think I'm going to get away with it this time.

The starting point:

I envy people who journal. I've always thought it must be a splendid way of expressing and exploring one's feelings and thoughts. Blogging is related but it's not as personal. More accurately, it's personal but it's not interior or confessional. Confessional writing tends either to bore me or make me uncomfortable. I took a class once called something like 'turning the personal into stories' but the results were a lot of fairly appalling stories about rapes and cruelties that had been experienced by the participants. I have to admit that I prefer the slightly cooler atmosphere of blogging. Another important plus about blogging, for me, is that I know someone may actually read what I'm writing. (Having an audience apparently matters to me, Dr. Freud.) But there are things I'd like to write about more privately, and yet — interestingly, puzzlingly — I literally cannot write one word if I'm only writing for myself. Near-physical writer's block. A juicy conundrum, eh? Some writers, some of whom blog, don't seem to have any trouble writing very personally. I wonder if they are less fearful — and I more so — about something and, if so, what that something is. Or if the issue is something else altogether.

I make no claim to being less fearful, but I did weigh in on this matter:

There's some overlap, but over at my place, the sort-of-weekly Vent series ... is more journal-like, while the daily blog stuff is, well, bloggier.

Apparently this bifurcation of mine she deemed to be the solution; for now, from the same writer, there is The Dust-Up, which will indeed be more personal and less bloggy. And if that name sounds vaguely familiar, I suppose you can blame me.

Posted at 8:10 AM to Blogorrhea

I haven't been able to keep a personal diary for very long either. I have tons of blank books lying around the apartment with the first couple of pages written in with dates of last year, five years ago... Now they are useful for leaf-pressing purposes and that's about it.

On the other hand, I'd die if I had to read something out loud from my blog. So it's not really "writing to an audience" so much as "writing to an audience that, while it is real, is safely not in the same room with me."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 6:16 PM on 1 December 2006

Me, too! I must have two dozen over the years - books that I chose carefully because the lines had to be just so wide but not wider, just so blue but not too blue, etc. And three or four pages of (horrible) writing. I've been throwing them out when I find them.

Yes, you're right about the audience. I want to know someone is reading but not anyone I actually have to meet and talk with.

Of course, Andrea, you are very good at writing vividly and acerbically. You and CGH are super inspirations and models!

Posted by: jau at 9:41 AM on 2 December 2006

Over here, anyway, the blogstuff and the Vents draw a different audience, which I do my best to separate: Technorati and its ilk pay no attention to the Vents, and I don't provide a feed for them. There are, I am told, two or three people who actually have read all the Vents; I've seen at least one person show up on the logs going through eight or nine at a time. As a rule, though, I don't much plug them on the blog, except for updating the link on the front-page sidebar when a new one comes in, and I didn't always do that.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:06 PM on 2 December 2006