Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

August 15, 2006

Blogging — what was it?

Filed under: blogging,writing — secretmojo @ 5:02 am

Let’s take the TARDIS back to a time, oh so very long ago, when weblogs were a fresh idea, when 90210 had more meaning than 9/11, and the dreaded Y2K bug made our world collapse into the dark ages: 2000.

Both Fencer and Writer Chick (hat tip to sonael) asked recently “what is blogging for?” Rebecca Blood gives this answer:

The blogger, by virtue of simply writing down whatever is on his mind, will be confronted with his own thoughts and opinions. Blogging every day, he will become a more confident writer. A community of 100 or 20 or 3 people may spring up around the public record of his thoughts. Being met with friendly voices, he may gain more confidence in his view of the world; he may begin to experiment with longer forms of writing, to play with haiku, or to begin a creative project–one that he would have dismissed as being inconsequential or doubted he could complete only a few months before.

I can say that maybe this worked for Rebecca Blood, but not so idealistically for me. In fact, I find my posts drifting away from my crux, developing an ever-growing obsession with politics and an undue concern for witticisms. Am I losing my self, or am I discovering it to rue it?

I started blogging billions of years ago at a blog I’m not brave enough to name here, with the explicit intent to spit out short fiction and discover my unique writing style. I’ve deleted it, restarted it, neglected it, reclaimed it, and moved elsewhere. Hopefully I entertained some people on the way and built a repertoire of worth.

I’ve come a long way, baby.

My ideas are pretty much all over the place now. I mean, check out my categories. China? Mediachumps? Religion? Travel? Knitting? I can say that Blood is certainly right about exploring new topics and the communal impetus to write more crap. But she presents the happy conclusion of writerly improvement; I confess that my peripatetic tour of the Earth has not landed me in a better place.

In all honesty, it’s my fault. Things bug me, fascinate me, hijack my brain. The non-editorial “Publish” button wields way too much power for reckless me. I’ve mused about Selectric typewriters, old flames, the Pope, and other assorted mini-nuggets because my head’s too active to let it be. I’ve offended friends and brief visitors alike with irreverent, uninformed (and somewhat insulting) rants. I’m furious, silly, juvenile, introspective, frightened, needy, and occasionally insightful. This is not unique; everyone has more than one skeleton under their skin. That’s why blogs are so damn interesting.

But through it all, I’m still unfocused; a Chinese juggler trying to keep all the plates afloat. I excuse laziness as “conversational tone.” I have no theme to my blog besides a coupling of my nickname with “dumb.” Anything’s game. This may not be bad; Royko wrote about everything. (I daren’t compare myself to Royko, because that would be asinine, but simply mention that a variety of topics can be done.)

It seems I’m still seeking my style. Is it conversational, rage-filled, syllable-laden, punchy, philosophical, brooding, relaxed, casual, supercilious, sardonic? I have the slightest, because I’ve tried all of those, and all of them fit, yet none of them fit. And the risk here is tossing off a post that gives everybody the wrong impression of what’s coming up next, or what I’m all about, which is: hell if I know.

So, blogging, what was it? For me, it used to be a chance to showcase the neat stuff that popped into my head, and to share stories that otherwise would meet brutal deaths in the ether. A vanity press of sorts. It was a chance to add perceived worth to my own mind, and to improve upon it.

Today, I don’t know what the heck it is. A wordy person’s video game? A social compensation device?

In the end, it’s my head, and if I can’t get control of it or know its own contents, if I cannot assemble the neurons in a package of somewhat definable character, then indeed I have no voice. I’m a chameleon, Mojo eternally Secret.

Or maybe it’s like Camus said: it makes no difference, as long as I keep chugging away…



  1. I suspect a lot of us blog simply because it’s an outlet for us to nurture all of those little random thoughts that run through our heads. I started two different blogs over the past four years, each with a different yet clear purpose in mind, but somehow they ended up getting away from me and morphing into something completely different. And I didn’t mind; that was simply an accepted part of blogging. Now I run a group blog with four other authors and complete freedom to write about anything, yet for the most part I’m much more focused both in my thoughts and my words. And I like this much more than I did when I was trying to have a theme.

    Styles are overrated, and I think the best blogs are the ones whose authors write because they want to — not because they have a quota to fill or feel the need to talk about the latest political event, or celebrity gossip. They may never gain a huge readership, but they’re the most treasured.

    Comment by Calico Jack — August 15, 2006 @ 5:12 am | Reply

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Calico Jack. You’re right that a niche isn’t enough to contain a whole person. I always wondered how a novelist could bear staying inside a particular genre. Maybe it’s the page count that gives them freedom to explore.

    In any case, it’s reassuring to know that other bloggers certainly don’t have the same hangups as I do about identity and voice. Perhaps I could learn a thing or two from them…

    Comment by secretmojo — August 15, 2006 @ 6:40 am | Reply

  3. I like what both Rebecca Blood and Calico Jack say about blogging… both seem to have found the writerly worth of it for them.

    I like your honesty and smarts about not knowing exactly what you’re up to, but working with it, enjoying it anyway. I hope you never find a “style”: I’m enjoying the diversity of your shotgun manner way too much.

    Comment by fencer — August 17, 2006 @ 6:15 am | Reply

  4. Thank you, fencer. I am glad that my schizoid everywhereness has an audience, because it means I may want to treat my ever-increasing categories not as a burden, but as a scoreboard.

    Hmm, that might be fun…

    Comment by secretmojo — August 18, 2006 @ 1:11 am | Reply

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