Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Why Blog?

After spending about half a year writing blog content into Yahoo! 360, I have decided to explore an alternative. When blogs first appeared, my initial reaction was that they were a sort of vanity-press-for-dummies; and, while it is probably the case that there are any number of blogs out there full of self-expression that most of us would prefer to ignore, I have discovered a couple of bloggers who seem to be rather good at informing and/or amusing me. However, I am not sure I am doing this either for self-gratification or for any impact I might have on others. I have a much more selfish motive, which is that I believe this helps me with my more serious writing.

In the first place I view writing as a discipline that improves with practice. So, whatever writing projects I happen to be involved with and whatever background research they may require, I feel it is valuable to write something every day, regardless of how lengthy or brief it may be. In other words I write today for the sake of the skill I shall need for writing tomorrow. In other words I am always in the process of rehearsing what I am trying to write; so, in a sense that is probably more than metaphorical, this blog is my "rehearsal studio." As Yvonne Rainer said back in my student days, "The mind is a muscle;" so this is as good a way for me to keep the muscle in shape as any!

This brings up a second, but related, reason. This one was best captured in the title of an essay by Heinrich von Kleist: "On the Gradual Fabrication of Thoughts While Speaking." I doubt if any of us will ever know if Kleist was serious when he wrote this extended discussion in support of the thesis expressed in the title, that there is a tight two-way coupling between what we think and what we say. However, I know that I am serious about it, if only for the naive reason that I have experienced it many times. So, in the absence of people I can speak to when I am trying to fabricate my thoughts, I feel I can "speak to" this blog with the same effect!

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