I’m still not sure about this blogging thing. For example, when I wrote about my evening out with friends a couple of weeks ago, I forgot to mention Scott. I feel awful. How could I have forgotten Scott?
I’ll tell you. Writing quickly, without a day or preferably a week or a month in which to edit and revise, is dangerous. I might say anything—insult my best friend, damage my daughter, cast off my husband, forget Scott—without realizing the smallest bit is amiss. I write slowly—painfully slowly—for good reason.
I remember seeing Arianna Huffington on the Daily Show, prior to the launch of the Huffington Post, attempting to sell Stewart on the benefit of blogs. “Think of all those jokes that you write but toss into the junk because you have less than 30 minutes to make your point and be funny.” (I’m paraphrasing like crazy because I cannot find evidence of this segment, but I know I saw it.) “I junk those jokes because they aren’t funny,” Stewart responded. “They should be junked.” That’s my point, exactly. Much of what goes through my mind should never be exposed to light, page, or electron. You should never be exposed to my personal drivel.
Cynthia Ozick talks about the essay (SHE: Portrait of the Essay as a Warm Body) as mimicking “…that low electric hum… all human beings carry inside their heads—a vibration, garrulous if somewhat indistinct, that never leaves us while we are awake. It is the hum of perpetual noticing….” But who needs to hear my perpetual noticing? You’re doing more than enough of that on your own, I’m sure. And if you’re honest, you’ll admit that much of what you notice is dull or sad and paltry recompense for the time and energy spent.
But now Ozick’s got me thinking. If I consider a blog entry a small essay, I begin to see how engaging in this effort might be fun. “[A] genuine essay is made of language and character and mood and temperament and pluck and chance.” I can be moody and plucky. An essay is “… a stroll through someone’s mazey mind.” I would say that’s a succinct and accurate description of my blog entries so far. “No one is freer than the essayist—free to leap out in any direction, to hop from thought to thought….”
Hold on. My mind may have it’s mazey moments but it also houses an editor who, like Norman’s father in A River Runs Through It—“Do it again, half as long.” “Again,” with a slight sigh this time, “half as long.”—will not tolerate a sloppy argument.
Life being all inclusion and confusion, and art being all discrimination and selection, the latter, in search of the hard latent value with which it alone is concerned, sniffs round the mass as instinctively and unerringly as a dog suspicious of some buried bone. Henry James
Tempting to suggest that Mr. James cut it in half. Still, what he’s saying it true. And Ozick agrees. “The marvel is that… out of this apparent scattering of idiosyncratic seeing and telling, a coherent world is made.” (Now, my sigh—of relief.) My blogs aren’t meant to expose my process to my many fans, as it flows, clumps, and thickens into sludge, at which point I begin again. My blogs aren’t meant to amplify my knee-jerk response to Murdoch’s suggestion that we let only proven Christians within our borders. (Oy!)
Essayists and bloggers, being, I’ve determined, the same kind of creature, need to play but play artfully. I think I could come to appreciate the art of blogging, and the play of it.
A blog entry is expected to be posted regularly and often.