I have always been a fairly private person.
Although I used to work in information technology, I am ambivalent about the virtues of computer technology. Including blogs. But back before Facebook and Twitter and all that noise was born, the buzz was that in order to exist, one must have some sort of “web presence.” So I decided to buy the domain http://www.rebeccakuder.com, assuming some day I would need it. I created a website, really like an extended business card for myself as a writer. I also had a blog accessible from that website, and I decided against doing a purely personal weblog, but instead chose a somewhat rigid form: short nonfiction essays, exercises really, each inspired by something I had seen. Each with its accompanying image. I thought I would post something most days, but as a writer who is pretty concerned with well made sentences, my output wasn’t as bloggy as that of so many bloggers. (If you want to peruse those archives, they have been moved to the blog you are currently reading.)
My blogging was too precious, then, because I wanted time to reflect, time to draft and ponder before posting. My goal for each post, at that time, was to have a polished piece, so these little ruminations could accumulate into a published soapbox. As if each post would be something I might theoretically send to a magazine for publication. Or some day, collect into a book.
As part of an online class I’m teaching, we read George Orwell’s excellent essay, “Why I Write.” One of the reasons Orwell lists in the essay about why he writes is political purpose. He talks about how he was motivated to write, often, by something that angered him.
These days, writing out of anger is everywhere. It’s free and simple: just set up a blog and start yelling. And the glut of ME!-ME!-memoirs that continue to be published between portable covers speaks to the fact that there is an audience for certain types of yelling. But I’ve always thought that it’s important (at least to me) to let the anger simmer for a while. Sort it out. Go to therapy if you need to. Gain distance from the irritant. To extend that metaphor, let the pearl develop. While I like the immediacy of the technology, I want to see more pearls out in the blogosphere.
The line between public and private has disappeared. In fact, sometimes it seems like the membrane that existed between public and private has been turned inside out. I don’t want to hear others’ cell phone conversations in the public restroom, but I do, all the time. To paraphrase a friend who was ranting about the inanity of Facebook status updates, while I hope people eat good, interesting food, I don’t really give a rat’s arse what even my closest friends and family had for breakfast. (No offense.) But why do people think that the world cares about what they had for breakfast, unless it was something truly remarkable, like a freshly killed sparrow? I have enough email and things to do in the day, as I’m sure you do, too. Why would I want to wade through all that? I’ve thought about closing my Facebook account, because it’s so annoying (and yet embarrassingly addictive) but I like that I can occasionally find lost people, so I’ll keep it for now.
And if you’re reading this now, I guess my question, to blog or not to blog, has been answered.