Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blogging and the desire for revenge

Some thoughts from my thesis on life writing and the desire for revenge:

I keep a blog as a means of practising my autobiographical writing. I keep a blog as a means of expressing myself on the page, but not only for myself. I keep a blog to draw to me an external audience of other people whose voices might endorse my thoughts, or challenge them, and thereby help me develop.

As Steven wrote in a comment some time back, blogging acts as a ‘call and response’ form of communication, whereby the blogger leaves a post to which other bloggers and readers of blogs might comment.

My desire for revenge trickles through my blog posts in subtle ways that may or may not not be obvious. They are nevertheless apparent to me, at least to the part of me that has long felt silenced, in the first instance within my family of origin, in which I am the sixth of nine.

In keeping a blog I subvert the overlapping restrictions on my life and battle my way out of the fog of censorship. I reconstruct myself and in so doing I enact my desire for revenge.

I pay back those who might wish to silence me by writing about the process of being silenced. I thereby expose actions and events, which were once secret, hidden, concealed from view, because they were assessed as taboo.

I explore these concealments through elements of self-disclosure, aware that the desire for revenge when given voice can attract a counter attack, a different version of the desire on the part of those who would prefer that I ‘shut up’, and let them have the only say.

Like Natalie Goldberg, ‘I write because I kept my mouth shut all my life…I write out of hurt and how to make hurt okay’. In so doing I may well hurt or offend others and they in turn can respond accordingly.

As a blogger I have access to identities, my own and those of others, that I could not have known had I continued my writing life in hard copy only.

My blogging life highlights the fluidity of my mind states and how quickly they can change. Likewise, other bloggers come and go. A blog’s shelf life is limited. Blogs that once started in a welter of enthusiasm now lie dormant, but they remain accessible forevermore through the Internet, like relics of the past.

The rapid speed of connection via the Internet enables a response such that by the time I have written and posted an autobiographical reflection; for example, on my resentment and frustrations about the struggle to write free of internal censorship, my state of mind has changed. I no longer feel as I did when I wrote the piece. I may feel that way again one day but for the time I become enthused again and fired up.

My comments to my blog followers, my ‘bleeders’ as Julie Powell calls them, begin to feel fraudulent. I am no longer the person I was when I wrote the piece in the first instance. I have resumed my confident writing stance, a position I am more likely to take up in response to others’ comments about my writing and when I comment on other people’s blogs.

There is a mantra that underlies many blogs: This is your blog. You can write what you like. You can do, as you will. This is your space. Yet there are unwritten constraints that demand consideration if one is to attract a readership.

Bloggers, like all writers, desire a readership. Otherwise why blog? Why write?
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