I've been doing a lot of thinking about my weblog lately. As the first anniversary of writing for the sake of clarity — The Digital Tavern approaches, I've been reflective. But rather than to communicate my reflections for public view, I've decided to keep them close. Personal and internal rather than external or freely associated. Thank you, I'll keep my own critical, self-loathing or aggrandizing diablogical thoughts to myself. At least until now.
Tonight I spent some time on Jonathan Dealcour's weblog (thanks Liz). As i read his post on Art's Emotional Charge, I couldn't help thinking about Tony Pierce and his up front, black and white statement “Nothing here is true.” And when I read Jonathan's “Wife” (what a great) post, I wondered whether his story was real or not. True or false. Here or there. Fact or fiction. As if it mattered.
Yet on the heels of my post about Jayson Blair, I remind myself of the not so realization that all of us need to approach what we read and see with truly an open mind. Unlike a blogger, Blair had a responsibility to his readers and employer. He breached this. In his body of work for the New York Times, I think he breached this 50 or more times. Now, does this mean we have to approach reading the New York Times differently than before? Probably not. But with anything you read you need to be aware. That doesn't necessarily mean you should approach these things with a critical eye, skepticism or distrust. Rather, I think it's important to approach these things from the point of view of experience. What did that experience do for you and how did it affect you?
And to Jonathan's point that blogs are dynamic bodies of art. That is, by isolating a single post or piece you are essentially taking that piece out of context and therefore the potential to misread or misunderstanding is greater than if you were to absorb the entire body. This sounds good and is likely true. But frankly, this works in theory better than practice. Unless you're a committed regular reader of any number of the million or more blogs available to us, you're going to take a number of pieces/posts out of context. Ideally, if you find a piece/post that inspires or intrigues you, the tendency should be to dig deeper and enjoy a whole body experience — rather than taste a single piece. But even this idea may be too optimistic given the amount of information and the decreasing amount of time any of us have to spend on any single thing.
But too often all of us, bloggers or not, will dig deep into our consciousness and pull from memory or dreams possible facts, blog posts, anecdotes or other “sound or word bytes” for the purpose of making a point, validating a position in an argument or other proof. Certainly this is normal. After all, this is how we're taught to write — essays, criticism or even thesis. In science we rely on empirical data to support claims. In blogs, we may stand on soap boxes, report, fill space, create, patronize, offend, praise, self-indulge or simply sit on the sidelines. All of this is Ok. As long as it works for you — and your reader if you're so concerned. Unlike Blair, in blogs there are no rules. And the only responsibility you have is to yourself and/or to your collective collaborators, sponsors or anyone/thing of your choosing.
And for me the irony of my blog title for the sake of clarity is a good start to describe the body of work herein. But then again, this is the Digital Tavern. And topics, conversations, arguments, games and emotions fly in such a random order there is anything but clarity here. And anyone who knows me will attest to my mantra of “focusing”. And through focusing you can attain clarity. Yet maybe the digital tavern is my place to let the thoughts fly free but somehow keep them strung together with a very thin thread. Keeping me together are some specific and some gaping holes of vacuities — my categories give me direction while allowing me freedom and a creativity in my posts.
So as I wind down the end of year one of The Digital Tavern, I am excited about how this body of work will grow, become more focused and provide interesting experiences to all of those who want to join the party. After all, there are no strangers here. Only friends you haven't met.
Come on in. Join me.