Self-aggrandizement warning; or, I have trouble with anniversaries….

Rocky Patel Decade Torpedo

Rocky Patel Decade Torpedo by mr.smashy shared CC by mr. smashy

‘I promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty.’ — Herman Melville, Moby Dick

I let the actual anniversary pass without comment, but for some reason I feel like marking my entry into the world of blogging… ten years ago last month.

I was in career transition, and thinking about taking a crack at becoming a freelance writer. The approach of my first blog reflects that (especially that high-minded and reference-obsessed sidebar), as does the text of my first entry, reproduced here in full:

Why a weblog?

Good question.

It may be a case of aimless ambition seizing upon a stray mechanism and jamming itself into the gears. Whatever violence that happens to be done to the content, and the way it ought to be presented, is secondary.

Of course, any media form impresses itself upon the ideas it transmits–and here the urge to quote McLuhan is dutifully resisted. But the question lingers like a bad smell: is this weblog an appropriate format for its purpose?

Oh yes, the purpose. Perhaps this particular bit of anxious technocultural speculation could be avoided if only a purpose was articulated. So I’ll admit to the following ambitions:

a) I want to use this page as a collection of resources.
b) I want to use this page as a marketing tool.
c) I want to use this page to further my development as a writer.

Of these, the weblog form is an ideal match for ambition a), of dubious value for ambition b), and possibly antithetical to ambition c).

A writer writes, yes, and if the ‘blog promotes the act of creation, then I suppose that it is indeed aiding the production of crappy prose for readers around the world to ignore.

But so far, about ninety per cent of the time spent on this project has been dedicated to fiddling about looking for resources, and ineptly massaging the HTML in the template.

Not much to say by way of reflection… But I note the subtle embarassment of a writer with dead-tree literary ambitions reduced to slumming in this medium, something I would observe in many other bloggers when they started out.  Perhaps that explains the overwriting, the pretentious tone…

This first blog did not last long. The last lines I were to write on the original blog: “Perhaps this is a case for the intrepid Scribbler. Barring the intervention of the military-industrial complex or a flare-up of Chronic Procrastination Syndrome, an update is pending… ”

That was late August, 2001. Little did I know what the military-industrial complex was going to get up to in just a couple weeks. Soon after, I abandoned my first blog for an anti-war blog, which was my first experience of dealing with an actual readership… But to tell that story, I think I’ll need to deal with another ten year anniversary, one that I’m already sick of…

7 thoughts on “Self-aggrandizement warning; or, I have trouble with anniversaries….

  1. I may have to re-write “Trackback Love” to commemorate the anniversary. Funny thing, I just had the thought yesterday myself, that my 10 year anniversary (heh, bet you thought I was gonna say ‘blogaversary’ – barf!) is just around the corner (though unlike you, I can no longer find the charred remains of that first foray). Well, Happy happy, here’s to many more years of abjection, happy mutancy, and general lunacy.

  2. Alan, D’Arcy, Scott – it is fitting and gratifying that you would all jump in here, as each of you were so important to me in the early days of using this medium in my work. You were inspiring, and encouraging, and most of all you made engaging in this space a lot of fun. You helped me make sense of it all, and I will always remember that period with pleasure.

    Of course (and this anxiety lies under any post like this one), it is death to look back with too much satisfaction… But you all still inspire, encourage, and engage me… So I will try not to wallow in nostalgia too long, and hope with some confidence that we can kick some ass in the years ahead.

    1. the milestone isn’t important as a retrospective of awesomeness. I think it’s important because you’ve been a role model for participation and sharing. for over a decade. that means so much more to me than any posts. you’ve made the world a better place by doing what you do, and keeping on doing it, for over a decade now. awesome.

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Brian Lamb made me….so it’s his fault! You blogging is a beautiful thing and in 2005 you were on of the bloggers I read and said there is a pulse, aesthetic, and moral imperative (however depraved 😉 ) in this field. You rock.

    1. Wow. No nicer gift from you is possible… a spot next to you on the cuddle couch excepted. Thanks for the Bava, one of things that has kept me going…

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