Wednesday 24 June 2009

Excuse me a moment while I digress


This blog is all about the growing, mostly, and although I have a place to emote into, that's never going to see the general public. Nor do I have any publishable political views, secret lives to document or amusing anecdotes about the celebrities that I regularly rub shoulders with. What I present to the world is pretty much so many chocolate box pictures with as little hard science as I feel I can get away with.

But, just recently I've been party to events elsewhere that have led me into musings about the parts of me this blog never reaches, except passive aggressively obliquely, I'd love to tell you but I'd have to kill you sort of stuff. Cringeworthy indulgent things that I can barely bring myself to tell my (non-existent) therapist let alone a largely disinterested search engine generated audience.

Anyway, on this occasion I've decided to cut loose just a little. I've always wanted to be a writer.

There, I've said it and I don't suppose for a minute anyone is a bit surprised. This is a textual medium after all. I am writing. I'm not knocking it but this isn't great literature and every one wants to be a greatly respected author, no?

It's just that for the last 30 years or so I've been blocked. Uh huh. Yeah, right. Someone somewhere made a quote along the lines of that's not block, it's lack of talent and you should get over yourself (I have a great memory but not for details) but I'm a reader too, and let me tell you, there are respected writers out there who are crap. Where they and I differ is not in the talent but in the application. So am I lazy? You betcha, and yet I don't think it's that even that stops me writing but a finely honed appreciation of the pointlessness of it all. That's what I need to get over.

However, on to the events that led me here. I'm subscribed to something over 200 blogs and amongst them is the rather compelling BĂȘte de Jour which is the story of the sort of man I adore, insecure, intelligent and lonely, believing themselves to be fat and ugly. You just want to gather him up and give him a good hug.

He's written a book based on his blog, you can read about here or here or just go to the blog for a flavour of what's inside. And I've read it, and found myself tutting like a grumpy old school teacher. Because it's not great writing, or an original story or even terribly clever or coherent. On the other hand, it is eminently readable and accessible. It deserves to be, and probably will be, successful and Stan the author will be in the difficult situation of thinking up a second novel. Which will be passing hard, because the sort of chatty conversational style that works for a first book does not translate to 'proper' writing and the gimmick has now exhausted itself.

So much for the literary criticism. It's a good read, buy it.

There's another issue that's emerged from all this though, and that is more to do with blogging than novelising. It's this, how truthful does one need to be on a blog? Is it fiction or is it a diary? Although I've had my doubts about the depictions of some of La BĂȘte's exploits I have in my innocence accepted them as based on real events and his commentary as that of a real person. Which is perhaps naive but that's how I write my blog, because on my blog I'm not being a writer (or I'd never put finger to keyboard) I'm only being me. Should blogs come with a health warning or are they actually works of art? Are they tools for connectivity or a publishing medium? Should I have been more suspicious of total anonymity instead of dismissing it as a reasonable precaution? And these are the thoughts that are going to fill my day.

I now return you to your normal programming.

startled raven


ICQB said...

What an interesting question, how truthful does one need to be on a blog?

It's a question worthy of in depth debate.

As for me, my blog is fully truthful, and boring : )

And as for wanting to be a writer - go for it!!

joker the lurcher said...

hiya! i've been meaning to write for ages as my carlin peas are over 6 foot tall and every time i look at them i think of you (not that you are 6 feet tall - although you might be i suppose - but because you sent me the seeds!)

this is a really interesting post. you have tantalised me with your drip of information. i am a very nosy person so i will now be curious until you tell us more!

my blog is 100% things that have happened to us. because i write it in jokey form i have gaps when i am too depressed to write it - sometimes i can't find a funny slant on events. i also have an introspective blog where i write about the past and what makes my head tick. and i write stories too, based on life.

i think the idea of talent in writing is looking at it the wrong way. what blogging has taught us if nothing else is that everyone has a voice and somewhere there is someone who will gain something from listening to it. in the past the only way to have your voice heard was the printed word which meant that you had to have a voice that a lot of people wanted to hear. now those voices that are more rare also have an audience.

i'll stop now as this is turning into a novel. by the way the word verification thingy is 'noedges' - cool eh?

Soja said...

It seems blogs are all those things. People want, and expect, different things.

Mine is just a notebook, true and not particularly interesting. Like you, if I thought of it as "writing" I wouldn't do it.

As for writing, I want to, I don't. I read and I wonder. Perhaps it's a way of looking? Blank pages are inhibiting, perhaps it's best to write anything, just to have started, even if it is completely re-done later. I wish you a good start.