verbal remedies.

If you don't blog, i can imagine that it might seem a bit histrionic or otherwise attention-whoreishly self-indulgent to be publicly wrestling with barely-formed philosophical questions about motives, criteria for success, and other esoteric causes or effects of blogging. Trust me, in "real life", I'm the guy at your dinner party who volunteers to do the dishes or go out on a beer run b/c "i'm a little shy"...attention is not my thing.

And indeed, I didn't start writing VDuck in 2005 for it to be read by a public, or by anyone other than my spouse and mother (two different people, BTW); VDuck happened because the two of us were emotionally and philosophically wiped out by the immigration process as a whole, expensively opening and closing a retail business, contracting autoimmune diseases, etc.

In terms of our creative lives, I would say that we had devolved to somewhere between "dormant" and "deceased". I started writing because I felt completely in the weeds musically, and blogging was a convenient way for me to be creative about something that still made everyone happy: food.

So, now, five loooong years later, lots has happened, and this blog has evolved, hopefully along with my writing, but at its root it's still a real and critical form of therapy for me, as well as a way to publicly document some of my obsessive mooplove, opinionize on shit I know nothing about, experiment with hilarity technique, work through some other mildly annoying shit, and yeah play with the one language I can speak in whole adult sentences, and just generally try to achieve a satisfying presentation of "what's happening to me".

The huge problem with this is that in five years VDuck readership has fucking QUADRUPLED (yes, eight) to include all manner of friends and family and people not yet met. The problem: in "real life", you don't give all of your friends and family the exact same version of "what's happening to you", do you. Naw you don't, you censor, you embellish, just make shit up, whatever, etc. based on how you want that friend or family member to see you, or whether you're concerned about upsetting or angering them, killing them, etc.

Ze blog, she no work this way. Everyone get same version. And my current creative tension is coming from the fact that, again for "therapeutic reasons", I want/need to start working with a "more real picture", writing about some less hilarious and uplifting aspects of ze life and seeing if This Blogging Thing can still be a way to Get Peaceful. But you know, I also don't necessarily want every random person who stops by for an okonomiyaki recipe to know that I've got a vial of crack stuck up my ass. Or whatever that week's drama is (do they even use vials anymore? I don't think so).


If there are questions to be asked, it seems like they remain 1) what's the purpose of this blog today and 2) how exactly is it succeeding or failing at that 3) what could one do to fix it.


I'ma just make a list of things I found.
  • I initially thought this Sandhill Trek post was not going to be good, but the sheer volume of answers and the variety/repetition therein seemed to help clarify the differences in my perspective.
What? It's a short list so far. Leave me alone.



Klary Koopmans said...

These posts are giving me lots to think about. You´re addressing some very important points here - not just about blogging, but about communication, sef-expression, the way one presents oneself to the world. The difference between what one is and what one wants to be. And, how to put all this in writing. It´s big stuff. Thanks for making me think about it!

vicky said...

Yes, I often wonder why people blog, especially people who actually think about what they write (as you clearly do). For me, it's somewhere between a place to rant, writing that's mine and unedited by clients/editors/other annoying people, a way to spread a bit of passion about food, a public diary and some kind of compensation for something I'm missing...
The problem is, when I blog, I feel like I'm writing to strangers. And I seem to be fine with strangers hearing everything. But then occasionally I'll have a job interview or be at a client meeting and realise that - shock horror - real people actually read this stuff! So now I have to do this stupid test: with everything I publish, I ask myself, 'do I mind if my mum/client/ex-boyfriend reads this?' which is annoyingly restrictive... Even my brother has started saying, 'your love life must be a bit quiet - you've finally started writing about restaurants'. Hmm, brilliant.
Anyway, not that I have any helpful solutions... just empathising. And now leaving my web address out of this comment :-S

MEM said...

Thanks for reading guys. KK, it is kind of big stuff, and I feel a bit silly that I'm just now getting around to thinking about it.

Vicky, I totally understand your self-test, and believe me if writing was how I paid the bills, it's hard to even imagine what my blogging would be like. Probably fewer instances of the word "fuck". Or maybe not!

Vicky said...

I feel quite honoured to be one of your eight readers ;-)
For some reason, I've been getting some strangely insightful comment spam lately. This 3 days ago from Ford Ranger Guy: 'Being a blogger is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.' Well, that's one way of looking at it!
(And I think the word fuck is probably the least of my worries!)

MEM said...

OK, so it's a couple more than 8 readers, but still not more than, say, 50. but yes, still, thanks for reading.

And i think that whole "writing for strangers vs. friends/family" thing is why i don't get any comment spam. people just spam me in person the next time they see me or talk to me.

Klary Koopmans said...

some more thoughts, might as well put them here. Personally I love the control I have over my blogposts. I write a lot of posts that are only really understood by one or 2 people (not always the same), what in Dutch would be called 'de goede verstaander'. I love playing with that. I love to refer to things that are intensely personal and that I would never explicitly share.
A couple of weeks ago, my boss told me he'd been reading my website and twitterpage. I panicked for just one second and then I relaxed, because I know I've never written anything online, anywhere, that I would be embarassed about if he read it (and he's someone I respect a LOT). But, it seems like I do this instinctively, I never made a conscious decision to not write certain things.
I used to be very interested in diarywriting and did quite a bit of research on it. There's this theory that every person who writes a diary, even the secret private diary in the paper notebook that you hide under your pillow, is aware of a censor, like an imginary person reading over their shoulder. Is it possible to really let go of that censor? To completely stop the editing mechanism? would you want to? Are we then going into the realm of stream of consciousness writing - therapeutic, and not making sense to anyone but yourself?

MEM said...

Glad you're still thinking about this, I am too...

I am also loving ze highly controlled reveal of information, yis. But what's bothering me about this hallmark of recent Vduck writing is that it reflects my real-life difficulties in revealing information to people, otherwise known as socializing. And, like I said, it's beginning to wear me out.

I have a post coming soon about a conversation I had with my mom about it.

Vicky said...

Hey Klary (funny talking to you on another blog than my own!), well I am one of those long-term diary writers... I started when I was 10 and it's been 20 years now, so I guess I must be addicted. And yes, it is pretty difficult to self-censor. I realise that I'm telling a story as though I'm writing to a good friend - still trying alternatively to sell myself in a good light and be a little self-deprecating. And then I'm like: 'Vicky, why are you doing this? It's ok to say exactly what happened; it's a diary for chrissakes.'

I've often thought that blogging, tweeting and social media in general were absolutely made for diarists, especially those with a tendancy towards exhibitionism. I update my Facebook status like a mini daily blog.

Anyway, Mark, I think you and I have opposite problems: you can't reveal; I reaveal too much. In that sense at least, blooging reflects life.

MEM said...

I'm still thinking about all of this, and this post about my mom really will be interesting if I can ever get back in that mindset...I've been enjoying a couple days of being not so wound up about it all.

As for diarism (?), I've never had a regular one. I've written plenty of things to myself in notebooks that were then lost or abandoned, but in general that impulse is a very case-specific thing: I'm pissed off, or confused, hurt, etc.

When I do write to myself, though, I do turn the censor off, in that I'm not writing for a reader. But I'm really talking to myself in my head when I'm writing to myself, and so I still make sentences that sound like me...maybe if i don't go back and edit a sentence explicitly, I'll restate it again a few sentences later to try and hone it more finely.

These comment boxes are seriously awful places to type.

OK! I shall take this discussion to the next level very soon...thank you ladies, girls, womens, people, etc.