I spent the past few days writing. A lot. And yet, I didn’t actually get any work done. An interview I did on Monday is still yet to be transcribed (let alone written up) and I’ve got work emails piling up like crazy. I’ve been emailing and blogging my head off, though, which most people know is far from normal for me. I feel at once completely inspired, and totally professionally tapped at the same time. I also haven’t gotten any sleep in days. I’m addicted to Collapse (a Tetris-type game I’ve been playing online). The whole thing is weird weird weird.
I've been thinking about blogs and their misunderstood place in the world. In the December issue of Glamour magazine (US), there was a story entitled Women Who Blog by Julie Klam. The subtitle read, “Are they self-absorbed exhibitionists? Groovy free spirits? Or just plain bored? Meet them and decide for yourself.” I was struck by something as I read that subtitle. Julie Klam doesn’t get it. Most people don’t get it. I don’t think I completely get it. But now Glamour magazine’s millions of readers DEFINITELY won’t get it. And that bugged me.
Klam likens blogging to grade school diarising. She tells an anecdote about the time her seventh grade diary fell “into enemy hands”. In it, she’d written a list of prospective future prom dates (Matthew Broderick, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, etc.). “You get the idea,” Klam writes. “Nobody else was supposed to see this, and having it read was my personal idea of hell.” Then she goes on to say, “For thousands of women today, though, it would have been heaven”.
I’m sorry, Julie, but no. No no no no no. Did I say no? Cause no. I mean, come on. Do I do stuff like this? In my stories, do I ignore fundamental differences in the things I’m comparing in order to construct a snappy and adorable lede? Maybe I do. I don’t know. Maybe I’m the pot and she’s the kettle, but I’m going to complain about it anyway.
Klam’s whole story is predicated on an annoying misconception (and I said as much in the short letter I emailed to the magazine… and yes, I know I should have better things to do). A personal journal or diary is intrinsically understood to be private, while a blog is designed to be public. So OBVIOUSLY blog content is heavily influenced by the fact that bloggers know and expect their words will be read. Bloggers, like all public writers, self-censor. They’re self-conscious. A blogger’s persona is a complicated bit of social construction. Even the most confessional writers aren’t giving you the whole story. They’re not even necessarily giving you a true story. Why don’t people get this? When I was a kid, my Dad was always spouting the cliché “don’t believe everything you read”, and it sort of stuck with me, but the best way the idea has ever been described to me was in terms of photography. When you turn the lens on one thing, you turn it away from everything else. And in the end, all you see is the photograph. Everything outside the frame is unknown. I promise the idea was more eloquently put when I first heard it, but you get the general idea.
This isn’t important, I’m aware. And it’s giving me the willies anyway, so I’ll stop.
Professionally, I feel compelled to mention a couple of things:
1. I have another story coming out in Weekly Scoop soon. It’s about Paris Hilton. That’s hot, right?
2. I’m looking for a few freelance writers who’d be interested in doing some art-themed pieces for me. So, if anyone’s interested, they should drop me an email. I’ll publish you, baby. I have that kind of power.
One final thought:
In Melissa Bank’s story You Could Be Anyone, she writes, “after awhile, though, it occurs to you that even a perfect understanding of failed love is the booby prize.”
She said booby.
P.S. Maybe this is bitchy, but I just wanted to add that you're not really a writer if you don't get paid to write. If you're just a blogger, or you've written a bunch of stuff that's sitting in your dresser or on your computer, but has never been professionally published, you're an aspiring writer, not a writer. So shut up. Seriously. I mean, all the best to you and everything, but I'm so sick of people pretending to have jobs they don't have. It makes the rest of us look bad.