Farewell to the Blog
When I started this monthly routine three and a half years ago, I didn't want to call it a blog. 'Ruminations', 'intimations', 'inclinations', 'reflections', would have better suited what I intended to do. I certainly didn't want to write a pragmatic or mundane journal of thoughts and activities. 'Blog' also meant the pressure of regularity, and I wondered if I'd have time. One of the motivations was to keep my website up to date, and another was to stay in touch with the world; but the writing had to be creative. Blog was the known term and it was simplest to use. As with most things, once I got started the practice created its own momentum.
Blogs often have to do with marketing, 'creating a web presence', and I must admit that was in my mind too, especially as I had novels I'd have liked published (now self-published as ebooks), as well as my other work. I was doing what people do, I suppose. But if marketing was an element, I thought of my monthly piece as what might be called 'value added content'. It was a giveaway.
Most months I wouldn't have a clue what I'd write about until a few days before the appointed date. I'd get a small, bright idea and go hunting for a context. I never felt capable of writing it until I'd finished the first draft. Apart from the pieces I had written previously, it was what Kathy Acker described as the adventure of writing, going where it led, letting it discover you.
I'm very grateful to all who've read my offerings. I don't think too much about my readership or audience because I try to listen as simply as I can to the idea, but I'm always aware of writing for others and within a context. I generally want to say something and not just create 'content'. There's enough content around at the moment to dis- all the winters to Dickens and back. But then, on the other hand, I get weary of criticism and the notion of criticism, and duty and the notion of duty. I don't think this is laziness.
I've spent years on a particular track, my eyes set in a particular way, and I have a kind of tiredness that needs a complete inner wash. I feel like I've reached the bottom of a chasm and must learn what happened by slowly climbing back out. Not-at-all-apart from this, I'm working on a new book, and I've enrolled for a two-year MA course, so I'm not sure I'll be able to apply myself properly to the monthly essay. It does take time and a particular kind of thinking. At any rate, after three-and-a-half years, maybe a break for renewal is no harm. I want to reconsider what I'm doing and why.
I don't know how long I'll be blogless. It's quite possible that I'll dream up a new way of communicating with regularity, so if you see a post up next month, don't be surprised. A month is a long time in Medbhworld. When Michael Hartnett wrote Farewell to English, I think he was drawing a circle around himself in order to gain the personal autonomy he needed to write more truly according to his lights. It wasn't exactly about the language tools he was using. Once you have a sense of yourself, you can act rather than behave. This is the process Adrienne Rich described in The Dream of a Common Language:
'I choose to be a figure in that light,
half-blotted by darkness, something moving
across that space, the color of stone
greeting the moon, yet more than stone:
a woman. I choose to walk here. And to draw this circle.'
On the other hand, I might be silent for much longer, while I wait for the flattened particles to rearrange and something coherent to emerge from behind the woven bars.
In the meantime, here are some aphorisms left in the wake of Savage Solitude that I've been polishing up for a possible collection.
When you’re alone, everything becomes a matter of principle. You interrogate the abstract in every act. When you are with someone else, you believe she is the interrogator.
* * *
We can’t manufacture our own standards, we can only adopt or adapt those already in existence. Opinions and precepts are reactions to circumstance and circumambience; without context we would be gaping cognitive holes. On this basis the desire to be ‘one’s own person’ is fallacious. We are always under influence, and the best we can do is to choose which kind.
* * *
Intoxicating substances allow one to disappear without being absent and to appear without being present. They are tickets to privacy.
* * *
It would be gratifying to think that pain is not of benefit, but it wouldn't be true. We have all gained life through our mother’s pain, and we cannot claim complete analgesia for any process of production. Pain teaches balance, unless it becomes a way of life.
* * *
The cyber-life is a way of being alone by being connected: communication without the imposition of presence. One is bound to styles of functioning but escapes immediate censure. On the other hand, cyber-censure, because it mimics interiority, is self-censure.
* * *
Psychology, in easily absorbed capsules, has become the currency of social exchange. Where is the breadth of internal meandering when at each turn there's a brief summary?
* * *
Rest. The sea of the sheet will not become a whale. We are all in the stomach of a body in the stomach of a room in the undulate belly of routine in the hold of the social concept in the context of a nation. The whale is within.
* * *
There is no impediment except in relation to a goal. Your measure is the cloth.
* * *
Lone radicals are often frozen in a state of metastasised antagonism. It’s not the prevailing system they resist, but their own desire to conform to it.
* * *
The cork leaves the bottle with a plosive rhyme and a smell redder than the stain of its past seduces the body in a swift sinuous coup. Beauty apprehended is beautiful you. It is relationship.