Thursday, 12 January 2012

Why Blog?

So, I've decided to start a blog. I've entered the blogosphere, set sail on it's capricious seas. I think, importantly, in this first post I want to set out exactly why I made such a decision, what it is that possessed me to enter this strange arena. I will also, though they aren't entirely clear to me just yet, try and give an idea of the subjects which I will be covering, some sense of my oeuvre.

Enumerating my reasons then, well, firstly and most importantly I'm doing it for practice.

There are a few facets to this. There is the simple practice of putting words on paper, expressing myself in a clear and readable way, which, with my intention of being a writer, seems important to gather where I can.

There is also the secondary practice, towards those same ends, of putting myself out there. Taking an idea about which I may have some uncertainty and releasing it upon the world, despite the knowledge that doing so may cause ridicule.

The final kind of practice though requires a little explanation, as behind it sits the entire reason for the blog, the seed of this, now fruiting, idea. It was at a party when a woman told me that she was studying theology. Being a little drunk (all right, a lot), I decided that she would be fascinated, perhaps even impressed, if I described to her my own personal theology*. Now this is something which I have had, tucked away in the back of my head, fermenting, for a good while and I felt that I had quite a strong sense of it, that it was fairly solid. However, the moment that I came to try and describe it, to give word to that scattered sense I had, it seemed to fall apart. The fact was, although to myself the ideas were well formed, in actuality they only had a shape within the confines of my own head. On this occasion I was quickly interrupted by a militant atheist, who proceeded to drag me into a horrendous circular argument which, though she claimed otherwise, the poor woman watched with a mixture of horror and boredom.

So that's it, a small embarrassing event nestled in amongst the slew of others which are guaranteed to come with any night of drinking, but on this occasion I found myself more than usually bothered by it after the fact. It occurred to me that there may be a whole number of ideas and thoughts about which I feel utterly certain, but which have never been given enough structure to exist on their own, outside their natural habitat. Obviously on occasion this is desirable, but all too often I have found that, after describing my point of view to someone, it needs to be entirely restructured, that the fuzzy logic of my own mind needs some seating in reality before it achieves clarity.

So, with that in mind, I decided to start this blog as a place where that crystallisation may take place (it may not, my thoughts may not bend themselves to the page, but at least I will have tried).

*[I am sure that in the future I will attempt to describe it here, probably it will be just as much of a mess then]

The second reason why the idea of a blog appealed, is because I want to give myself motivation. Motivation to think these thoughts, to take advantage of empty spaces in the day and use them to craft idle musings into something more rigid.

Motivation also to produce something every week, a deadline to which I can yoke my productivity because, really, I would rather be someone who produces things and does little else (than someone who consumes).

Finally also, motivation to have these conversations, to discuss these ideas outside of these confines and, ultimately, to conjure some really interesting discussions into being.

The final reason is that one of the things I find most difficult in writing is the process of editing, whether in a simple line by line fashion or in grand restructuring. I hope that by producing these entries weekly I will build up a better tolerance and habit for simply doing this as a matter of course, without thinking of it as some insurmountable chore. With that in mind I promise that I will not put up any entry which is simply a first draft (perhaps that should go without saying, maybe the fact that it doesn't gives you a sense of the problem), I will always have gone through, line by line, to tidy it up as best I can.

Those then, are my reasons. I am not sure that it is a full or even a sensible list, but then this is my first attempt at something which I hope to improve at, so perhaps some lack of clarity is to be expected.

As to what kinds of things I will be discussing. Probably you have already got some idea from my comments above. To clarify though, it will be ideas which I see as important, ones which I have not had a chance to discuss (and thus clarify). I will try, however, to refrain from anything political or any sorts of polemics where I exclaim that one particular thing is bad or good.

We shall see, then, how long and fruitful this experiment proves to be.

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