Digital Sculpting

Paragraph by Paragraph
Paragraph by Paragraph

I spent a good part of the morning reviewing much of the material I’ve written for the internet over the last several years.  In the mid 90’s, when I was still connecting to the web via dial-up, I had made a few websites that contained original writing, but like ‘zines themselves, languished away unseen.  In the year 2000 I tried this again, having transplanted myself to Portland, and having an interest in HTML.  But is was sometime in 2002 that I really started keeping a blog, for real.  I remember the reason, too: that I could use the format to produce more writing on a near-daily basis, so I could stay limber, and possibly produce material that I could edit and use in a ‘zine.  Naively, I was still thinking that blogging wouldn’t take, that I would run with it for a while, and then give up.

And yes, that would happen.  Quite often.  Long breaks between posts, followed by re-committing myself to a highly formal daily process.  I would use new interfaces, skip between doing the code myself and using some service.  I would fluctuate between highly personal and extremely formal, searching for a tone that was mine.  In looking at the posts I’d assembled, I noticed that writing for the web – like writing ‘zines – has a unique form that must be refined over time.  The more blogs you read, the more you begin to find what works and what doesn’t.

Of course, you would also have to convince yourself that you have some kind of audience, too.  In looking at previous iterations of this blog, I find it interesting that I assume I have a large number of readers that follow the blog closely.  Compensation?  Most certainly, but also a sort of confidence, too, perhaps.  The idealism of youth.  I’m sure you can say that there is a difference between that which is written under immediate public scrutiny vs. that which is written over time, left to ferment and develop at its own pace.  Perhaps, more than anything, I was able to convince myself that I did have readers, so I could try writing in that affected kind of way.  In a way, I just like to pretend.

Over time, like most blogs and bloggers, a lot of my content contained an incredible amount of personal content, both specific and symbolic, in efforts to purge and vent about things that most people never asked about.  While I do not deny that those elements have been a huge part of this thing over time, with hindsight I have moved those items to a journal, where they are not in danger of being seen by anyone by me.  The best history is re-written after the fact anyway.

There are some entries that I really liked.  There were others I didn’t.  There were times where I wished I had done x, then it turned out that I did do x, just not until after I’d done y first.  There were other times where I realized I left out the best part, and other times where I was so afraid to elaborate, that I would just include only the best part.  I could usually tell the times that I was doing all (or some) of this on purpose, but it was those magical entry where I no longer could tell why I had written it, because it actually just worked well on its own, those are the ones I like the best.

Anyway, we’ve streamlined things, reduced and improved, and added a little flair when possible.  The tags keep related items together, but the whole things ebbs and flows based on my own particular whims.  We’ll see how long I can keep this one up.

Three weeks, maybe?


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