Refuge

Thursday, 3 November, 2011 Scribendumne

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At some point, I’m going to need to beef up this blog with some genuine writing – something more than just slapping up photos I’m attached to for one reason or another. I’ve been prey to the blog temptation for a while and I have a lovely catalog of unwritten opinion pieces, wittily worded, too, just waiting to be plunked down on the virtual page. But that, right there, is the obstacle.

Mustard in the Napa Valley. This picture is *so* out of season, but I need a pretty photo to redeem the post.

It is the desire of many (every?) a new writer to sally forth into the blogosphere strewing posts of unarguably correct opinions and analysis, deep profundity and appreciation of the world and evincing an even deeper wisdom and understanding thereof.

But I have observed that, in reality, your budding blogger charges out into the nastiest bog of sticky, dirty, irrational controversy and there speaks his/her “truth to power” about whatever-it-is.** A flame war erupts on his/her blog, and eventually your blogger is mortally offended by the comments of some of the combatants and settles down to more mild proclamations of opinion – suitably adorned with disclaimers and open-ended questions – as time and the blog progresses.

I will admit right now that I am a nasty piece of work, because I am often astonished to discover (usually at the point in the flame war where your budding blogger has been reduced to defending his/her writing talent)  that your blogger has an unpublished novel (! or two! sci-fi! or historical fiction!) already completed, and I usually think “wow!? really? but you can’t even articulate a coherent logical argument about … pants.”

Yeah, I’m a bad person.

In the other case, your deep-thinker-cum-blogger simply tries to cram into every.single.phrase. of his/her piece a reminder of the deep and amazing and profound epiphany or connection or whatever the heck it is he/she is fixated on, and the result is not profound. The result is usually incredibly cramped and purple English. And poor grammar. (Part of my day-job is (painfully) editing this type of post.)

And then I think, too, that writers who avoid both of the aforementioned blogging traps* are writers who have taken some care to introduce themselves to their readership – if not in a formal this-is-who-I-am sort of way, then through the more effective route of integrating their opinions and their epiphanies with their presentation of themselves and their particular lives. It takes more skill than I think I have to refuse to allow my statements of conviction and opinion to be separated from who I am and how I have lived. It is much easier to present one’s thoughts in adolescent way, dwelling on the unassailable rightness (or manifest profundity) of one’s positions.

That’s the trouble with trying to “really write” posts: I do not assume that I am immune from falling into the blogging traps above. I’m sure I will be in the first trap before my first week of “real” writing is out. I suppose I should not be concerned as I have seen a number of bloggers recover from the first pitfall and some from the second.  But it takes dedication (on the part of the readership!) to retain readership while extricating oneself from these pitfalls, and, well, I’m proud enough, I guess, to want to avoid the pitfalls altogether.

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*Ok, there is a third sort of “pitfall” -that of the academic blogger whose writing (in an attempt to be rigorously scholarly) is stilted, dense, and dry.  This type either manages to humanize his/her writing or he doesn’t. Sometimes interest in the subject matter will keep me reading him/her, but sometimes not.

** Yes, I am from California.

***And then there are bloggers who are just too verbose. 😉

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