The Treachery of Blogs

Magritte, The Treachery of Images 1929

To me there has always been something unnaturally hubristic about the idea of having a blog. Not building a blog, of course, since that is something of a tinker’s prerogative: to build for the sake of building. No, I mean, the idea of writing things for others to consume, as if the writing is too important to be left in the writer’s head. They are words that must out. A voice that must be heard. There are exceptions of course, and these exceptions expose the lie in my beliefs. Journalists surely should blog, experts, educators, those whose voices have already proven to be desirable commodities. But the arrogance to think that some nobody (like myself) would deign to add their voice to the choir? Pure hubristic folly.

And yet, I don't think I would ever apply this to speech generally. I don't think only the established and the expert deserve special dispensation to express themselves, in any form. Gate-keeping is best left, if performed at all, through thoughtful criticism based on charitable engagement with and between opinion-havers. You don't need to be "this famous" to get on the ride of expressing oneself in words, just start expressing oneself and see where the journey takes you.

You would think then, that blogging is just a natural extension of that; more organised that tweeting into the void, or debating in a cafe, but still the same basic idea. Nevertheless, I always had doubts about doing the blogging itself. Not because I feared I would not be read, since in many ways that would be the ideal scenario. Not because I would be criticised for my boring or hackneyed writing; I've written too much to still be offended by attacks on my ability to (poorly) string nouns and verbs together. It stuck me less as a fragility of ego, and more as a genuine evaluation of the scope of my ego: I have ideas, but none so important it must be beamed into the computers of others asynchronously anywhere on the planet at any time of day. Some people have those, but not me. I see myself as more of a tireless archivist than a pioneer or inventor or auteur: I know quality when I see it, and feel it is important to share that quality with others. That quality, however, exists in others, elsewhere.

To blog then means to break with this archival mindset, to go from librarian to author, in a sense. To admit that maybe I've read enough that I could try my hand at this creation thing. Even writing that sounds like a declaration of war against humility. So I have resolved not to write a blog. I will not blog. I will scribble some notes, and post them for the pleasure that comes with their creation. Some (many?) will seem to be muddy reflections of better thoughts expressed by better minds elsewhere, and I'm okay with that.

There is also something therapeutic about the practice of gathering one's thoughts into a formal expression, and it is obviously good practice. Many artists feel the need to express themselves or burst from an excess of creative force. I do not imagine the world at large is necessarily better for every expressing born in this way, but I'd like to think at least the artist was left slightly better for having loosed their creative spirit.

So I will write, but I will not blog. Not only do I think it's important to write, to express oneself through whatever means feels right, I think it might be important as an end in itself, without regard for likes, approval, readership. To sing as if nobody is listening, as it were. And so I will write as if nobody is reading. This is not a blog, it's just silently thinking out loud.