It’s still hot

8 Nov

I’ve been writing a set of essays which I hope will one day be published either singularly or as the set that I am constructing them as.

Actually, I think they are more memoir than they are essays, but memoir sort of declares to the world that you are a fascinating person to whom fascinating things have happened, whereas I am a person who made a couple of extraordinarily stupid decisions, attempted to make up for them by making even more and increasingly stupid decisions, then thought that writing non-fiction would be a good (by which I mean, among other things, legitimate) way to further avoid the frightningness that is the second draft of my next piece of fiction and, lacking both the expertise and the gumption to investigate any other subject beyond myself in any depth, thought I may as well write about those stupid decisions.

I did wonder whether I would have anything to say that I haven’t already blogged about. I mean, goodness me, I’ve been rather revealing over these last couple of months. Perhaps, I thought to myself, blogging is a substitute for memoir. But the more I wrote offline, the more I realised that this was an issue barely worth a second thought. For one thing, there’s heaps I haven’t blogged about (for example, you don’t know what my grandmother said to the mister the day we told her we were getting married). But really, it’s not an issue, because as with all these questions, the answer is not an either/or. Blogging and memoir share some similarities, but they are different. Different processes, different results.

While the blog helps me to record things immediately and does provide an opportunity to think and reflect on the things that happen to me, it is altogether a different kind of thought and reflection than I have been doing while writing the essays.

Most of the differences come back to the same thing of course. The immediacy of blogging versus the ‘looking back’ of memoir. Because memoir demands a cohesive narrative beyond the simple chronological narrative of my blog, I feel that it is forcing me to explore situations and emotions more fully, to contextualise everything (for myself if not for the reader, at the moment, everything is done for myself because the reader is still a concept, a potential, rather than an actual).

My blog is a photo album, filled with snapshots where the essays, although potentially stand-alone, are a film.

And actually, that little analogy is bloody brilliant and has just helped me to fill in the gaps of one of the chapters essays I’ve been trying to write, so if you’ll excuse me I’m turning the interwebs off again and re-opening my increasingly large, but ever-more wieldy document.

PS One thing I’m surprised about is the amount of effort I have put into thinking about ego and narcissim and so forth. You’d think blogging would’ve moved me way past those worries. But no.
‘Do you think it’s too self-centred?’ I asked the mister of a piece I gave him to read the other night (this is unusual, I rarely let him read anything).
‘Well, didn’t you say it’s memoir?’ he asked in his engineering way.
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Sometimes I really don’t understand you.’

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7 Responses to “It’s still hot”

  1. innercitygarden November 9, 2009 at 1:53 am #

    I read this last night, and got very excited about having a whole collection of essays to read, but couldn’t construct a comment that made any sense. Probably because it’s hot here too. Not Abu Dhabi hot, but I’m feeling we’ve been cheated of Spring just as we were cheated of Autumn. I am remembering with fondness the term “transseasonal” and wondering if ones transseasonal clothing will ever get a run again.

  2. kazari November 9, 2009 at 3:16 am #

    Odd. When I write about my own experiences, I don’t tend to worry about being self-centred. But I do worry if I’m telling other people’s stories in a way they wouldn’t like. Particularly when I write about family, I wonder about my ‘rights’ to that story.

  3. faithh November 9, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    I’m so glad to hear that someone else has these anxieties. I’ve been putting off writing what I had hoped would be written by now, because it seems self-centred to focus so much on one-self. For God’s sake, just making christmas cards for a market is giving me an existential crisis.

    I’m looking forward to the opportunity to read your essays.

  4. franzy November 9, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    I’ve just found that my blogging is drying up because it was supposed to be an exercise of writing muscles, and now all I have time for is bebe, schleep and thinking about those two things.
    Plus I’m reluctant to place too much of the bebe online – let him tell and figure out his own story and all that. And if he ever looks back at my blogs, I’ll want him to know what his Dad was like and what he thought about, rather than what made it through his lower intestine completely intact that day. (a cube of carrot! Corners and all!)

    Just be careful to 1) realise something externally true and 2) remember that interesting to you isn’t necessarily interesting to everyone else.

    But you don’t seem to have had that problem so far …

  5. Kath Lockett November 9, 2009 at 4:37 am #

    I’m kinda sorta writing a memoir too and my blog is rather intertwined with it – some bits will be lengthened, others expanded on, some cut out altogether.

    Blogging seems like it’s more immediate, but I find them as difficult to write as anything I’ve been paid for, or had published or tried to cobble together off-line and with research underlining it.

    Essays or memoir – whatever you call it, I’ll be in line to get a copy!

  6. Helen November 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Memoirs to read from TC and KL – something to look forward to.
    Now – do you back up the ever expanding unwieldy document every. single. day? One copy on your hard drive and another on a flash drive / USB?
    Just askin’.

  7. franzy November 11, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    And another copy on email …

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