Saturday, June 18, 2005

This started off as one thing, & ended up as another

After a week of showmanship, military exercises & the contemplation of Bettie's arse/ass, I've decided to try & rebalance my chi by adding a couple of blogs to the sidebar.

Yin & yang as it were. One linking to the pelican, one not. One male, one female. One indulging the physical – Jim Goar posting to Can of Corn from Seoul in South Korea - & the other the spiritual – another Jean Vengua blog, Mnemosyne's Hem, posted from beside the River Lethe. Or maybe from in it. If my memory serves me right - & it should, since my short-term memory is still fine & I looked this up only a couple of minutes ago – Mnemosyne was a Titan, & the Mother of the Muses. An apt description of Jean.

(&, in passing, let me just confess that hearing piped Suthron music emanating from the spare ribs booth at the Show last night reminded me that I rank the banjo below bagpipes which I rank below the accordion. The latter is steadily moving up the list, even if by default.)

I do not know what the etiquette of linkage is, or even if there is one. I do not feel obliged to link to a blog just because it links to mine, nor do I require, if I like the blog, that it has a link pointing in this direction. I was intrigued by someone a week or so ago who raised a link to the pelican & then removed it, two days later, because I hadn't responded reciprocally. I agree, in theory if not in practice, with Tom Beckett whose link list is his on-going crush list – "These are the blogs that I visit a time or three or four a day. I can't get enough of them. They are my cyber-paramours." But I also feel a responsibility that my island within this island in the Southern Ocean, an area sparsely populated by what I'll loosely describe as literary bloggers, can be used as a sort of caravanserai, a transit station, with signposts pointing in all directions.

I try & regularly visit as many blogs as I can in the sidebar, but these days it takes me almost a day just to get through the Js. Cycle time to cover the entire link list is probably nearly a week, for there are a large number that I try to visit daily.

& the blog itself? Ernesto Priego, at Never Neutral, recently wrote:
"I remain amazed at the possibilities of blogging. Never mind the technical ones (the raise of mp3 blogs, for example, has changed the blogosphere of late in a way I could not have predicted three years ago). I mean the possibilities for writing, for tone, of ways of addressing. I remain surprised at those bloggers who keep their blogs as open letters to what they perceive as a closed circle of relatives/friends, using a writing style similar to that of the initmate journal or the personal letter. Why use a blog then, and not, say, an email group? And yet those bloggers seem so certain that their friends/relatives are reading them. Even with my tracking thing, I could never be sure anyone -in specific- is reading me. And there are those bloggers who write as if they were publishing in a magazine or book, with a seriousness and solemnity like no other. They allow no personal hint to come out: they think their blogs are "impersonal" which, in my humble opinion, would be a contradiction of sorts), "professional" forums to showcase their work."
I do not look on this blog as a journal, though it has aspects of one - I post entries daily, which meets the jour criteria; I comment on things that happen to me, that I have encountered, I write down notes. I do not treat the blog as if I was publishing in a magazine because I'm much more casual here, let things get through even if they're rough, unpolished. & because so much of my stuff does get posted here, I now rarely send things off to journals, electronic or print - & another piece of etiquette I am unsure of; if a poem is posted to a blog, is it then published? & not available for submission elsewhere? I am not knowledgeable in poetics or philosophy, so any didactic writing tends to the political – not that I'm knowledgeable in that either, but I do have a deep-rooted leftwing set of beliefs that are often offended in these current times. I write for my friends, & learn & take pleasure from what they write. & in my isolate island, the only friends I have are those I have made through electronic contact.

Blogs have opened up a world for me, & so I open myself up to it. I write with a freedom I have rarely had. I spent too many years pretending to be someone who I was not, or, at least, showing only a part of who I was, who I am. I do not have enough years left to me to continue with that sort of masquerade.


richard lopez said...

I spend about an hr a day clicking thru my favorite blogs. the ones I link to are also a crush list, but I read many, many more than that, usually. I love reading them, blogs, since I've always had a jones for writer's notebooks, journals and dairies. two of my faves are James Schuyler's Dairy, published by Black Sparrow in the late 90s, and _Sorties_ by James Dickey. and why not read them, blogs as both ongoing notebooks as well as published pieces? I've read of the debate about whether texts published on a blog constitute being "published" or no. I don't know, either.

JWG said...

if a poem is posted to a blog, is it then published? & not available for submission elsewhere?

I asked this question when I started up my blog. Adam Clay over at Typo said yes, that it does count. That they do not publish poems that are already posted on blogs. Anthony Robinson said that he did not believe it counted unless it was published on a blog/magazine like VERSE. I am just paraphrasing here, and stances might have changed, who knows. Figure with our ability to link from our blogs, the best way is just to submit to yr favorite online magazines, (hopefully) get published there, and link to them. I recently had a piece in KNOCK. They did not post my poem online (most of the poems are only in print, but a handful they make available through their web site), so I posted it on my blog. Which, by the way, I thank you for linking to. And as far as reciprocation, forget it. That was not my aim for linking to you. My blog is my space and I just link to blogs I like. Makes it easier to find them when I want them.

shanna said...

i'm addicted to my blogroll, no lie. on the days when hardly anybody is posting i get physically and emotionally restless.

that whole "is it published if it's on the blog thing" is tricky. some eds think yes, some think not. at lit we didn't care--we figured printing something in the mag, the poem would find a new audience. maybe it's different with online mags since blogs are sharing ths same virtual space. i usually put poems up for 24 hrs or less, then they "expire"--but they are usually drafts anyway and need more work. it's a small bravery and i find it challenging.