The ever-wonderful and awe-inspiring Mai wondered if I’d compiled a ‘best of’ blog posts yet. To which I thought, hmmm. Have I even done one decent post yet? Which got me thinking:
What is this whole blog malarkey about anyway?
I know there are interesting political blogs, and literary ones and blogs about good brekkies, and some blogs appear to be entirely dedicated to porn, or cats, or both, but what about the rest of us? The blogs filed under ‘general’? Why do we do it?
For me it’s just an exercise in skimming off the dross sitting on the top of my head. I work all day on my own, and by jingo by crikey I need an outlet for all of my loopier rants. When I first started, I heard a lot about how blogs were just a ‘childish lot of crap’ or ‘something for people with too much time on their hands’ (I love this last one, as though the insulter spends their entire day bustling about dramatically saving lives and the insult-ee smokes bongs, makes dreamcatchers and is a drain on the Public Purse).
But I have to say I’ve warmed to the whole thing.
I find my blog useful for observing all the lame metaphors, tired sayings, repetitive words and other crutches I rely upon as a writer eg:
-Random capitalisation eg: The Good Times.
-Random full stops eg: Holy. Fucking. Cow.
-Too! Many!! Exclamation!!! Marks!!!!
-When lacking a good segue, exclaim: Ho for Anstey Station! or Ho for egg nogg and strip poker!
-Overuse of amusing, hilarious, hilarity, hijinks, anyway, so, chuckle and lovingly
-Overlong sentences with too much confusing and/or irrelevant shit going on
-Overlong posts, over 1000 words
-Answering my own rhetorical questions with the phrase ‘I think not’.
-Injection of the odd French, Spanish or Arabic phrase thrown in, as though hinting I may have a classical education
…and so on and so forth
Not that I can be bothered to do anything about it on this site, but picking up on this stuff does help my commercial writing somewhat. (see? somewhat – another old favourite). And of course there’s the documenting of one’s life for the amusement of others. Posterity I declare! Otherwise who will remember me when I’m dead? Chiz moan drone. (molesworth refs – another chestnut)
One of the downsides to all this public posturing on blogs is that you can’t write exactly what you want. Some people fancy themselves a bit of a Nikki Gemmell, and make coy allusions to people they may or may not have bonked in locations you may or may not have heard of. There’s The Age bloggers, who are (mostly) in their own sad little category, where they get paid and have large readerships, but still whinge about it. As for me, I’m open to all readers but can’t write everything down, because I have family, friends and other inquisitive types around who either want to catch up on the latest, or keep tabs on me or both.
So why don’t I just write a private blog then? Accessible to no-one but me? To which I reply (yet again, in answer to my rhetorical question): where would the fun be in that? It’s a challenge not to blurt out the first thing that pops into my head, to make it readable and enjoyable and not too long. And yes it does takes valuable time out of my day (when I could be smoking bongs, making dreamcatchers etc etc), but I think that in the long run, and for a reason I can’t define, will be worth it.
Conversely, why do I read other people’s blogs? Some defy description, like Mai’s retelling of her life story. Others – well I like to be entertained, intrigued, educated or just tickled in a variety of ways, and told honestly, without any editorial interference, advertising budget or other agendas. And some blogs may not be always that gripping, but it’s the fact that someone halfway across the world (whom I may never meet) is writing about their daily life in Tomboctou or Cardiff or wherever. I find this rather splendid.
I have noticed that The Cool People appear to either have very few links on their blogs or never update them. (clearly too busy saving lives, building schools etc) I however, at the faintest glimmer of a new reader, will hasten to my template and upload their link quicksticks because I’m a bit sad in that way. And every day, I get to see ‘what happened next’, which I suppose is the curiosity (voyeurism?) that burns in a lot of us.
Without sounding like an MTV-style ‘yo yo shout-out to all my peeps in the hood’, why do other people do this? This blogging malarkey, the relentless and restless urge to document? And why do you read other people’s blogs?
I long to know.