Friday, January 04, 2008

I am an artifice? No, wait, I am a pyrotechnist

Something I read in Todd Colby's blog a few days ago has really stuck with me. I think it's applicable to almost everyone who blogs:

As soon as you start writing, even if it is under your real name, you start to function as somebody slightly different, as a "writer". You establish from yourself to yourself continuities and a level of coherence which is not quite the same as your real life.... All this ends up constituting a kind of neo-identity which is not identical to your identity as a citizen or your social identity. Besides you know this very well, since you want to protect your private life.


(Michel Foucault. 'Je suis un artificier'. In Roger-Pol Droit (ed.), Michel Foucault, entretiens. Paris: Odile Jacob, p. 106. Interview conducted in 1975. This passage trans. Clare O'Farrell.)

I don't consider myself a writer at all (unlike Todd Colby, who is quite a frabulous writer; check it his blog!), but keeping a blog does indeed establish a continuity and level of coherence to my mundane existence. I wonder what the social landscape would look like if women in the 1950s and '60s would have been able to keep blogs. Would they still have felt isolated and resentful?

10 comments:

MB said...

Excellent thoughts. I've also wondered the same - one thing I've realized while blogging is that there are A LOT of talented people out there, whereas in the past, only the brave, persistent-through-publishing ones got published. Very interesting thoughts!

Mike Golch said...

Well I'm not sure about that,I still think I'm the same.a person who has a warped sence of humor.(damn I wish this had spell check) I do agree with mb that in the past only the persistant ones were published.Thank God for the internet,now any one can post a thought for others to read.
This is my story and I'm sticking to it.I know that I can never hold a candle to my best chum Irv.He's been a writer for years.He even has a piece published on common ties/A story about Camp Cleveland. It is in the archives section of common ties under camp,check it out.Mikr golch

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Great post and I agree with both commenters. A, that in the past only the persistent (or lucky) got published but also, while I see the point about changing a bit to write publically... one thing that many people have told me when they meet me after reading my blog or getting to know me through a message board, is that I am exactly as they envisioned me, and several have even said that even Bryan and Declan as exactly as they thought they would be.

So who knows... :)

Kelly O said...

Well, I would say that most people are generally who they truly are -- in blogs or in real life -- but that it's all shades of the same person. So, while I'm always entirely myself in my blog, I'm not the version that loses her temper with her kids or hates her job or picks fights with her husband. I may show bits of that, but never the whole story.

Grandy said...

I'm definitely who I am in my blog, I'm afraid. I've thought of creating a more stellar one, where I could create this whole person with a great life. How cool would that be, to live the existence of someone else just for fun? Oh wait...don't people do that now? It's called Online Dating. ;)

monkeyrotica said...

If you had the choice between keeping a blog and washing down 2 'ludes with half a bottle of chablis every day, which line would you be in?

Kelly O said...

I think I'd like to be in the 'ludes and chablis line for the weekend, and the blog line for the weekdays.

Unfit Mother said...

Ohhh, swoon, I'm in love: I BIG HEART Me-shell Fooko. Ahh.

But I agree with you about the 50's house wives who popped valium and were in love with their new vacuum cleaner/ blender/ insert household appliance. I like my identity is slightly skewed by blogging. I have family that read my blog and so I censor myself. I have been thinking of creating an alterna-blog where I would write entirely nom de plume. I may be an even mommyblogger with three fingers of Evan Williams in hand as I vacuum.

Unfit Mother said...

I meant an even HAPPIER mommyblogger - geez and I haven't had so much as a sip of burbon in weeks.

I think it is interesting that you don't consider yourself a writer. Is it a lack of confidence or do you have some other criteria other than writing?

Kelly O said...

No, I just mean that I don't take myself very seriously as a writer. I'm not trying to get better or even really actively interested in the craft.

It's so weird, though, because as I'm typing this I realize that I do take myself somewhat seriously as a blogger and am intellectually interested in the craft of blogging. Why do I think there's a difference? ... But I do, I think they're two somewhat different things.

Maybe it's just my preconceived notions and prejudices.