Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

At the risk of repeating myself.

recursion

I often wryly comment to my real-life friends whose blogs I read that the problem with frequently updating is that you end up stumped for conversation when you actually run into each other in meat-space.

“How are you doing? I mean, besides all the stuff you already wrote about on your blog a few hours ago?”
“Oh…nothing new besides that.”
“Oh. Um. I commented on the entry. So…that’s what I have to say about that.”
“Cool. I’ll…read it when I get home, I guess.”
“Okay. Cool.”
“…”
“…”
“So.”
“Yeah.”

It’s slightly akin to stopping off at someone’s office while they’re not there, writing them a detailed note, and having them walk back in just as you’ve finished it and left it on their keyboard. You feel silly for having made the effort to write out something that you now can say in person, something you had in fact intended in the first place to say in person…but now you have trouble getting the words out, as if the act of committing the words to paper removed them from their active state in your communication center. You don’t really have to get going right this second, but you say you do just to avoid repeating yourself, even though the only person for whom you’re repeating yourself is you.

Worry is too strong a word for it, but I do get uncomfortable when I realize that I may be repeating myself to the same audience, when I become that bore at the party telling the same story about the time I tricked Shania Twain into eating chicken salad. There was a brief period of time when I would attempt to track through the past eight years that I’ve been blogging here to make sure that I wasn’t about to re-use an anecdote from my life, until I realized (a) not everybody reading this now has been reading this for eight years and (b), even if they were, why on earth should they remember this story unless it’s quite literally the only one I have to tell?

Still, self-repetition remains one of my personal bugbears; when I start catching myself developing a leitmotif of some kind in my work I make deliberate attempts to move in another direction, even if that direction is not going to be as successful. I once had a writing teacher tell me, in a scoffing tone, that every short story a certain literary magazine published was about “divorce in Manhattan.” Certain writers receive immediate yawning, eye-rolling responses when it is revealed that their newest movie is about, for example, talkative assassins, just like their last two films and the play they did that first put them on the map. The idea that I might be prompting this same reaction fills me with a certain existential dread and contributes, directly, to the times I’m truly blocked.

In addition to this journal, I can also be located at Facebook and as of last week at Twitter as well. I’m in a habit of updating both my Facebook status and my Twitter feed at least a few times a day now.

I refuse, however, to have both the status and the feed report on the same thought at the same time, and I sometimes delay writing about those thoughts in long-form here just to keep some further distance between the three. I know this is an impractical hang-up, because it requires me to artificially separate my focus into parts, to decide that one thing I’m thinking about is for the Facebook friends, another thought for the Twitter followers, and the expanded director’s cut is for the LJ community. There’s also, I would hazard, a certain self-importance to it, in that I seem to be demanding that if anybody wishes to know the whole and current story of me they need to piece it together from these various sources. “I’m an enigma. Figure me out. Clues are located here, here, and here.”

Then again, if I weren’t a little self-important I wouldn’t keep a public blog, I wouldn’t be a performer, I wouldn’t talk about myself at all.

Mental note: Wait at least two years before bringing any of this up again.

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2009 by in Society, The Internet, Writing.
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