The title of this post refers to a conversation I have every now and then with my blog. I have deleted two previous blogs, so it’s not an idle threat but a fact – I could delete this blog, but I won’t… not yet anyway.
Sometimes the urge to destroy my creation is intense. There’s this build up of pressure within which demands release, and its idea of freedom reminds me of that early scene in Musashi (by Eiji Yoshikawa), where he has killed everyone else on the battlefield… then his master locks him up in a cell and orders him to read until he finds inner peace or at the very least learns to control his violent urges.
Or something like that. I read the book decades ago and can’t remember the story properly, just the parts which my mind latched onto and kept in its treasure chest of meaningful moments.
“He saw the white paper as the great universe of nonexistence. A single stroke would give rise to existence within it. He could evoke rain or wind at will, but whatever he drew, his heart would remain in the painting forever. If his heart was tainted, the picture would be tainted; if his heart was listless, so would the picture be. If he attempted to make a show of his craftsmanship, it could not be concealed. Men’s bodies fade away, but ink lives on. The image of his heart would continue to breathe after he himself was gone.”
― Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi
I chose the quote above because this post is about blogging, writing, expressing yourself, sharing yourself on a blank page.
I am writing this post partly because a couple of days ago I felt the old destructive urge rise up… and I thought I’d chat with it here, like this.
I am also writing this partly in reply to a some questions asked by Rory of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip in his Blog Series Questions.
One of the things I really love about Rory’s series is that when he asks his blogging questions he also answers them, he shares his own story of blogging.
I have this pet peeve concerning people who asks questions but don’t share their own answers to their questions, or the reason why they’re asking those questions.
So I really appreciate it when people are bold and brave enough to open themselves up and allow their personal book to be read, fully knowing that readers may misinterpret what they read, yet doing it anyway. Huzza!
“I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to create red in a world that often appears black and white. I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change. I write to honor beauty. I write to correspond with my friends. I write as a daily act of improvisation. I write because it creates my composure. I write against power and for democracy. I write myself out of my nightmares and into my dreams. I write in a solitude born out of community. I write to the questions that shatter my sleep. I write to the answers that keep me complacent. I write to remember. I write to forget….
I write because I believe in words. I write because I do not believe in words. I write because it is a dance with paradox. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in sand. I write because it belongs to the force of the moon: high tide, low tide. I write because it is the way I take long walks. I write as a bow to wilderness. I write because I believe it can create a path in darkness….
I write as ritual. I write because I am not employable. I write out of my inconsistencies. I write because then I do not have to speak. I write with the colors of memory. I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine….
I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient we are. I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love.”
―Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert
The quote above says it all. For me anyway. Why I blog, what blogging means to me. I could end this post here but I won’t.
On to Rory’s questions.
I have answered a couple of these in comments on his posts, but I thought I’d answer them here too as I am different when I comment… I always feel a bit like I’m visiting someone else’s home and have to be well-behaved. Whereas when I write a post, I’m at home.
Apologies in advance to Rory for all the pingbacks, but I thought I’d link each question to the post it is in.
The other day I said the following in reply to Mel of Crushed Caramel:
“I think what you’ve decided to do recently on your blog, to tell your raw, real, and painful story, is very brave and truly beautiful. It’s inspiring. It is art – but it’s not the obvious kind of art which can be sold in a gallery, can be recorded or filmed, etc, and marketed as art. It’s the art of living life, and sharing your experience of living your life is creating art.
I grew up in the art world with artists. I was surrounded by them. My father was a professional artist. His life was a mess and that mess inspired what he did. He painted his pain, he painted his longings, he painted his experience of living life. That’s what you’re doing in your posts.
Keep going with your journey as you’re doing it. It will terrify you at times. It will make your heart leap with joy at other times. Everything you do, say, are is the creative art of crushed caramel.
You’re amazing – and through doing what you’re doing, you’ll discover that too.“
So my answer is yes.
It is an art form to me. When I create a post I feel the same way as I do when I participate in more conventional forms of art.
Blogging allows me to bring all other art forms together, including the art of appreciating the art forms of others.
Blogging has allowed me to get back in touch with the part of me who loves to create… from which I was cut off for a long time because of reasons, like giving up the fight against the part of me who loves to destroy my creations.
It’s an incredibly useful self-therapy tool.
I am a rather internally intense and violent person. I used to consider myself to be one of those volcanoes which is active on the inside but looks dormant on the outside and never erupts… until it one day explodes big time. Like Mount St. Helens of Krakatoa sr.
I’ve thankfully never actually exploded, but there were a few times when it felt as though I’d reached that critical point. I hadn’t. It’s amazing really that I didn’t…
Blogging has allowed me to become more like those volcanoes which spew on a regular basis, releasing a little bit of gas and lava without devastating the ecosystem too much. Venting my spleen, getting things out of my system, and clearing my head of all the screaming inside.
It’s helped me to become a more internally peaceful person. With fewer murderous thoughts… I did want to eviscerate someone yesterday, which reminded me that I haven’t written a rant-post in a while.
It’s my fault, I knew they were a condescending deluded holier-than-thou twat like my mother before I engaged with them. And so that life lesson continues…
“Danger was the grindstone on which the swordsman whetted his spirit. Enemies were teachers in disguise.”
― Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi
Recently it has been about one post a day. Sometimes I miss a day or two, either because I have nothing to say to my blog, or because the time is being used elsewhere. Last year I did a lot of not-posting.
Here is a screenshot of my posting activity from March 2018 to Feb 2019:
I love what Melanie of Sparks From A Combustible Mind wrote in her post in reply to this:
Then there is Fandango of This, That, and The Other’s post:
TL;NR = Too Long; Not Read.
Reading that made me angry (so I didn’t ‘LIKE’ it), not at Fandango (he’s lovely, a true gentleman), but at the yet another condescending deluded holier-than-thou twat who TL;NR’d him.
“There’s nothing more frightening than a half-baked do-gooder who knows nothing of the world but takes it upon himself to tell the world what’s good for it.”
― Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi
Now if Fandango had asked for that kind of feedback, then it makes sense to make that kind of comment, otherwise it’s just ego talking.
I actually have the vague impression someone did that – TL;NR – thing on one of my posts years ago. Since there was nothing else on the comment, I shrugged and viewed it as someone’s ego spam.
A very long post is known as a Long-read or Long-form writing.
WordPress even has their own blog dedicated to this kind of writing of posts – Longreads : The best longform stories on the web
I was reading a long-form essay yesterday on Bloomberg news site about the Renault-Nissan Ghosn story. It was very long and I did give up eventually 2/3 of the way through, but that’s not the fault of the journalists who wrote it, that’s on me. My reading belly was full. That article is still there and I can go back to it and finish it if I want to.
Long posts are like books. How do you read a book – all of it at once or in segments, stopping when you need to rest your eyes and mind, going back to it when you’re ready for more.
You can’t read long posts like you read short posts. It’s a different form of writing, so it requires a different form of reading.
Short posts are like writing and reading snacks.
Throughout my blogging journey I have battled with myself over the length of my posts… it’s kind of a fun battle.
I will read both long and short posts. My only ideal for a post is one which leaves me satisfied after reading. I tend to prefer longer posts, there’s more meat in them and I’m a voracious reading carnivore.
Those who read my posts my think otherwise – please feel free to share your opinion in the comments on this post. You have been invited to give feedback… I’ll try not to eat you alive.
I like that it’s the kind of community someone like me can join, participate in, and feel a part of it without my having to do anything other than be myself as is.
I dislike things like this:
It’s a great idea for those who love that kind of thing…
A blogger I used to follow… I think I’m still following them but they haven’t posted in ages… loved that particular blogging competition. BUT to compete someone else has to nominate your blog. This blogger begged other bloggers in post after post to nominate their blog, in return they would consider nominating the blog of whoever nominated them.
I liked that blogger’s blog… until that happened. It wasn’t the posts begging to be nominated which bothered me, so much as the fact that their style of posting changed because of that competition. They changed to fit in to what they thought they needed to be and do as a blogger to win that competition.
They never recovered their old style after that which had been really good and felt real.
But… my blogging style has changed too. Because blogging has changed me too. So there, me, stop being such a judgey-judge!
I blog completely for free.
I don’t pay WordPress anything, and they put ads on my blog (which I don’t see because I use the much maligned by advertisers and blogs/websites who rely on advertising revenue – AdBlock) to pay for my cheap ass to blog for free.
Because I blog for free – other people get the content on my blog for free too.
Every now and then I have been asked in a comment if I’ve written a book, or if I am going to write a book, or would I hurry up and write a goddamn book, because they’d buy it. Each time I’ve said nope. I’m very good at not doing what I probably should do.
I kind of like not owing anyone anything, and not having anyone owing me anything.
But if someone wants to pay me gobs of cash to blog… I’d probably say no, because I’m an idiot.
“If the talents I was born with are the right ones, I may someday achieve my goal. If not, I may go through life being as stupid as I am now.”
― Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi
I bring to blogging the same personal faults I have as a human being – except blogging has taught me that some of those faults are actually very useful in the blogosphere.
I have been complimented and praised on my blog fairly often for things which I’ve been criticised for and lectured about in that place known as the real world.
It’s helped me to view myself and those things known as faults, flaws, and personality problems differently… and has shown me that being a mistake-making mess can be rather marvelous.
Other than that the theme has to be a laid out like a grid.
I used to because it plays into an old personal issue of feeling guilty about everything.
I solved it the same way that I figured out how to lessen the old personal issue, in fact one thing helped the other and vice versa.
Ask yourself this – Will that blogger die or be fatally wounded if you don’t read their post? whichever way you answer the question, the problem is solved.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. However I do use that method for dealing with those kinds of issues. It has helped to reduce my anxiety levels.
Use that method if you feel guilty about not reading my posts, and see what happens.
I read what I read. I tend to scroll through the reader and read what catches my eye. I’m sure I miss a lot of brilliant posts doing things this way. I also miss a lot of sunsets and sunrises, and shooting stars.
“A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see. If we refuse to face our shadow, it will project itself on someone else so we have no choice but to engage.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
Sometimes… to bookmark it. Like I did with your latest post, Rory, to which this question links.
Mostly though I only ‘LIKE’ a post if I’ve read it.
I’ve gotten better at not forgetting to press the ‘LIKE’ button – forgetting tends to happen when something in the post inspires me to look stuff up online and I end up with 10 different pages open in separate browser tabs, falling down a Wiki or Google wormhole, reading all sorts of stuff, and no idea how it all started but the ride is fun.
I won’t ‘LIKE’ a post just because I like the blogger.
Okay, that’s it…
Let’s publish this I could delete it but I won’t mess…
Over to you!