Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Minor Musing About The Permanence Of Musings

Posting about a blog's lifecycle, Andrew Sullivan links to a NYT article that reminds us that 95% of all blogs are abandoned within 120 days

Meanwhile, on the New York Review of Books blog, Charles Simic, a poet and essayist, extols the value of little notebooks.


Inevitably, anyone, including its owner, perusing through one of these notebooks years or even months later, is going to be puzzled or embarrassed by many of the entries, surprised by others he has forgotten (like a glorious meal in a restaurant for which he took the trouble to itemize the dishes and their ingredients), and impressed by an occasional striking passage, which, lacking the quotation marks, he is not sure whether to attribute to himself or to someone far cleverer, funnier and more articulate, whom he happened to be reading at the time. Who asked the question: Are there percentagewise more idiots in the world today than in the earlier ages of humanity? Who described a book as an autoerotic classic? Who said: Our blindness prevents us from seeing our madness? Who made the observation that all donkeys look sad? Spoke of poetry’s hideous imprisonment in language? Called the United Sates an empire in a search of a graveyard? Described someone as a eulogist of torture? Likened our political system to a bordello, where our elected officials parade naked before an audience of seated generals, fundamentalist preachers and bankers? Who said: The eye knows things the mouth cannot say?
I have no idea, though I suspect some of them are not mine. Or could they be? I won’t be losing any sleep about their authorship, since I have many other notebooks crowded with similarly mystifying entries, and I continue to fill out new ones, day and night—even while eating in some restaurant where the staff have become alarmed and far friendlier under the mistaken impression that I’m a restaurant critic hard at work and keep running up to my table with something special for me to taste from the chef. I very much hope these notebooks I see in stationery stores, card shops, and bookstores are serving similar purposes. Just think, if you preserve them, your grandchildren will be able to read your jewels of wisdom fifty years from now, which may prove exceedingly difficult, should you decide to confine them solely to a smart phone you purchased yesterday.
I have to admit that I have a notebook and pen fetish. Left to my own devices, I might spend myself into penury searching for the perfect pen and notebook combination.

I doubt I've written any "jewels of wisdom" on this blog.  It has survived several periods of abandonment, and I have ignored Twitter since school started.  I realize that anyone can find old blogs or old tweets with a little effort; and many old notebooks will be relegated to trash can before any grandchildren can access them.  There's also the fact that grandchildren may not want to read anything we old geezers have written.

Still, there's something to be said for reading things that aren't filtered because they weren't meant to be read by others or things left incomplete because the writer wanted to get back to the subject but never did.  If the next generation ever wants to read old folks' old ramblings, won't the experience be a bit richer and more personal if they have to struggle past the bad penmanship, see the scratch outs, doodles, coffee stains, and occasional donut icing remnant? 

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