The anatomy of a post

[begin post @ 5:33 pm central; you'll understand this later]

I've received several questions about why I blog and how content moves from idea to post.  I hope to answer these questions here, even if minimally.

The transient and imperfect nature of memory frightens me.  Consider that even the most important events in life may well fade one day into mere silhouettes of their former selves.  Remembrances of sacred and hallowed times past, each personal and endearing unto itself are in terms of the present nothing more than overindulgent, prophetic glances at the most comprehensive version that our consciousness promises to make available at a later time.  Give any memory sufficient time to fade into the past and you will have granted it an eternal memorial in the most distant reaches of recollection.  Maintaining more reliable and available reminiscences seems to me to be of the utmost importance.

To this end, I have always kept a journal, log, diary, chronicle, record, account or memoir of my life, starting in my early teens (perhaps around the age of 12).  As I said about this site, my posts here are "extemporal musings only."  That is to say, they are completely unrehearsed and makeshift.  My writings, beginning nearly 25 years ago, aid me in documenting my own experiences, allowing me to revisit moments in my life, augmenting the mental commemorations with those written in various mediums.

A weblog (blog) is merely a variation upon this theme.  As I explained to marniac recently, "…I don't write for other people to read; I write for me.  The fact that other people read it/respond to it is a welcome side effect.  Of course, there's a certain desire to have it read when one posts online; otherwise, you'd use a personal journal or diary.  Still, as I said, my rants are curative and liberating for me.  I've been doing it since I was but a child (which is where the Miscellany stuff comes from [everything prior to blogging]).  Being publicly online is just a different medium providing its own benefits and drawbacks."

Despite the differences in audiences (offline diaries are for an extremely limited number of viewers; online blogs are undeniably for public consumption), blogging allows me to continue documenting my own history, providing whatever benefits I determine to be important.  I'm a writer for whatever purpose is appropriate, whether that be grades, communication, scrutiny, contemplation, proof, amusement, or some other necessity.  Moreover, it would be unwise to refer to it as anything other than a need.  Even emotional emancipation is essential to existence.

These things interest and entice both the extrovert and writer in me.  Even my senior-year AP English teacher made clear that my writing skills were quite progressive and unconventional for my age.  Do not interpret that as arrogance; immodesty it is not.  I have always loved to write; I have always loved to read.  These two traits conspire to provide me with a minimally advanced skill with inscription and an unusually comprehensive vocabulary.  Perhaps I am cursed.

One may correctly assume that, because I am making public the annals of my less than stellar life, I will strive to write well.  One may also correctly assume that I do not have the time to revise everything I intend to post.  In fact, one would also be correct in assuming that more than 90% of my posts are first drafts, written on the fly.  I utilize browser-based software for spell checking, but that is generally the sole assistance my entries receive before being committed to the eternal digital ether.  With few exceptions, my work begins in the browser and ends in the browser.  It is conceived at any given moment, but it is committed to web memory, from start to finish, in a single sitting.  Only when it is vital to develop a post over time, given sufficient research and contemplation, do I draft an entry.

You can see, therefore, the impetus to write well is strengthened only by the impetus to write frequently.  Blogging in any other manner would serve only to weaken my voice.  It would also undermine the essential need I have internally to entrust my experiences to a vehicle more reliable than human memory.  In order to remain relevant, I must update the blog often.  The content of those entries must remain readable, comprehensible, available and communally understood.

Any number of criteria to which I may not always be privy determines the style of each post.  Informal communications are likely the result of familiarity, haste, the attempt to relate to a larger audience, the desire to convey hurriedly a premise weighing heavily on my mind, or the need to subjugate quickly a self-imposed requisite.  More formal posts, such as the one you are now reading, may be the result of a more thought-provoking topic, an item to which I have applied serious consideration, or simply the result of having more time.  As originally inferred, I cannot adequately explain the determination processes behind content formulation.  To put it simply, I begin a post and it takes shape.

Keeping a weblog has forced me to become more comfortable with relying on my first drafts.  Exorcising my inner demons and exposing who I am via these ramblings satisfies a hunger deep within me, a hunger to understand myself and, with any luck, to be better understood.

[end post @ 6:12 pm central; first draft posted]

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