Friday, November 6, 2009

The Blog is a Most Curious Space.

The effects that the internet has on the form and content of personal, creative and formal writing has been noted by many. Generally, it seems to be seen in a negative light. Accomplished wordsmiths loath the violence done to language by the introduction of "lol", "u" and "brb", and even while the shear bulk of individual correspondences increases, the fine art of letter writing, and the historical record of these exchanges seems to be dwindling away to nothing.

Yet we do not seem to be at a proper junction to really assess the long term gains and losses here. I highly doubt that all the "lol"s in the world will have the power to do any more harm to the quality of our thought than any other kind of slang in the history of language. The historical question is somewhat more difficult.

Recently introduced to the concept of the blog, I have to wonder if it is not in some ways taking over the role of the personal letter, at least for those who spend the time to develop their thoughts at any great length. Of course, there are differences. I tend to use this space as a kind of sandbox, or public testing grounds for ideas I may wish to explore more later. My style is clumsier than in my polished prose, and mistakes creep in at every corner. No message is ever lost, and I can withdraw my statements by deleting a passage at whim. It is also a space in which I question if there is anything in my soul that is worth listening too. These practices would have neither been possible nor acceptable in 1890s prose.

Indeed, aside from the increased concern of spying and censorship by Google, there seems to be a whole new place opened up for the Blog in the world of the written. Some things are lost, though I think they never will be forever, some things are gained, perhaps to be lost again someday, and our daily exchanges are more enriched by this passage from one to the other.

The written word has always been a serpent for our thoughts, it writhes away even while clinging to us, bites us when we grasp it wrongly by the tail, and will only truly obey the gifted Charmer.

In any event, though, it is a living animal, and will never die, for it lives on our most subtle traumas and through our greatest victories.

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