Friday, April 10, 2009

Blogworld creativity

All right, it was a dream (hence the OT qualifier), but I think it says something about the relationship between blogging and "real writing," so I'm posting it. I think it was inspired by a message I received recently from an acquisitions editor at a press where I've reviewed several manuscripts, asking me to have coffee at an upcoming conference.

In the dream, a colleague and I were part of some focus group about academic blogging, and he began to pontificate at great length about it. In real life I like and respect this colleague, but you know that Mark Twain saying "it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"? It became clear that he knew nothing about blogging, although that didn't stop him from expressing a lot of opinions dressed as theories, and that I had a whole lot of ideas about it just from reading blogs and from writing this one for three years.

The editor and I walked to a nearby coffeeshop through a thicket of blogs, which were posted on beautiful wooden signposts (all of your blogs on the blogroll were there) on gentle green slopes, and the comments pages were paper pages left beneath them where people could write things with the attached pencils. Once at the shop, I outlined something like a theory of blogology--if not like Mr. Casaubon's Key to All Mythologies--and the editor thought this should be a book.

Now, I'm not writing a book about blogs. Instead, I think it signifies a lot of things that blogs seem to mean to us all:
  • The ability to try out ideas and be heard by a supportive (but honest) community, even if it's largely a pseudonymous one.
  • The ability to be playful in writing.
  • The liberating quality of writing about what you know, and what you know you know even if it doesn't square with someone else's theories (as Professor Z often discusses).
  • The beauty of a writing space--for it was very much a space--in which writing does not need to respond to deadlines, is never stressful, and makes the writer feel as though the expression of ideas and emotions is a good thing.

    In short, I think it was about the ways in which blogs foster creativity, and who could say that that's a bad thing?
    [Title changed to be less confusing]

    Anonymous said...

    I think this sentence proves that blogging is space for creativity: "The editor and I walked to a nearby coffeeshop through a thicket of blogs, which were posted on beautiful wooden signposts... ."

    This playful image is going to amuse me all day. Thank you!

    Ink said...

    I, too, was struck by the same part of the post. If you DO write a book about blogs, start there! :)

    What a wonderful dream.

    heu mihi said...

    I LOVE that image. It's gorgeous!

    And this is just a nice post to think about, especially the idea of blogs as simply a forum for writing for the sake of expression and communication (stripped of expectations, status, deadlines, etc). Thanks.

    What Now? said...

    Hah! I thought that OT stood for "Old Testament," which was really throwing me off as I read the post.

    undine said...

    annieem, Ink, heu mihi--thanks! It was such a vivid dream, with all the blogs on the signposts and the comment pages fluttering in the breeze.

    What now--sorry! I'll change the title a little, since it could be confusing.