Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc?

The useful purpose of a blog or journal entry is to provide the writer with a record of concern or enthusiasm, some passionate shorthand that leads upon revisit to an actual scene in an actual story or an actual idea in an actual essay or review.  Anything else--recriminations for having gone to the U2 Concert instead of writing or the mere listing of some docket of activities (Had a 9 o'clock class, missed breakfast, checked emails)--is keeping a diary or record, things foreign to you but not, it should be noted, foreign to possible characters.  Nor should it have to be defended that there is absolutely nothing wrong with attending a U2 Concert (and much to be gained), except that having written before hand would have made it an even better experience.  Ditto having a 9 o'clock class.  Missing breakfast usually results in dietary madness come lunch time, but that is a matter between you and Barry Sears and Drs. P and W.

The point here being that the lurking subtext of notes such as this is the energy of concern.  It is too easy to write things for which you have no concern and so you have attempted to find ways to keep you from doing so.  It is too easy to read things for which you have no concern and unfortunately for you are things you are paid to read.  Accordingly, you read such things with an eye for the missing concern, literary equivalents of runaway children.

True enough, one purpose of journal keeping and bloggery is to work yourself up into the necessary concern that forces you to continue writing or reading or, perhaps, to install some subtext you know will yank you back in when you revisit, looking for things that will be useful.

Fair enough, back in the days when your titanium hip did not get in the way of running, you became aware at some point that your body had begun to sweat, a delicious sign that you were "in," approaching not maximum speed nor extraordinary distance but rather congruent with your running process; you were in what the Navajo would call the beauty of your process, you were one with it.  Now, you swim to be in the beauty of that physical process, and when you are least aware of it, you enter the beauty of the writing process, not for speed or words per session or quirky metaphor but for the excitement of discovery.  Individuals you have created, often on the backs of 3 X 5 index cards, or ideas you have floated of the shores of essay inquiry take hold and offer up insights and connections the non-writing you did not realize were there.  Fueled by this discovery, you are propelled to plateaus of performance that can be seen only in retrospect because while they are being experienced there is no room or time for thoughts of assessment or evaluation.  A good argument for not thinking while you work, for breaking into that sweat of concern and energy that precludes thought, centering on muscle memory performance.

In some ways, it is like the moments when you are in a dream state and some noise or sensation or the mere rhythm of being asleep intrudes on the moment of your dream and you want to rush the dream forward to keep it in place or at least see how it turns out before you lose it to the rhythms and static of the waking state.

It was great to have been there, you realize, allowing thought processes back into your body, struggling to burn the memory of the dream into your senses.  It was a great dream or a scary dream or a dream in which you did not realize you were so attracted to a particular person, or a dream where you were joined with a dead companion such as Edward Bear or Ms. Molly, both of whom ran great sweeping distances with you in the real world.

Do you get the same sense of connection and caring when revisiting your journals or these vagrant pages of your blog? Do they remind you of the thing they should remind you of, which is to say the process of which you were a part when you created the words?  If they do not, what have you learned in the interim about making yourself care? And how do you pass it on to the you who will be back here, the archaeologist looking for potsherds and ideas and traces of lifestyle and attitude?  You may be certain that you will be back here, looking for materials on which to build story.


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