Monday, March 1, 2010

On Personal, Long-form Prose Blogging

Nostalgia had a place in my writing, I think. Or did it? Okay, scratch that. Let me start over.

I don't come across as someone who clings fondly to the past; real-life friends would attest to that. This is especially true when it comes to people and relationships. But every so often, there are moments; at times a brief but wistful glance at my version of the Wonder Years. Moments spring out like thumbnailed revolving picture-postcards with images that become a video clip when each one comes to the fore. Fragments that run for a few moments, and then, as abrupt as they come, they disappear. The effect tends to linger a little longer though; threads of thought branch away from those moments, as the mind attempts to extrapolate these clips to a series of 'what-ifs', meandering towards a merry smorgasbord of an ideal life.

As long as these moments might seem, the reverie tends to last just a few seconds. I get caught up in these few seconds once a month. (Maybe once in three months? I'm not sure.)

As with many introverted beings, verbal communication has been optional. Writing was how I'd articulate as best as I could. The advent of blogging, or when I discovered it in 04/05, drew me to it. Indeed, I wrote because I loved writing. And I'd like to think I still do it for that reason. The moment it becomes a chore, it shows -- to me at least. I think I had less discretion back then, so I wrote a lot more about myself.

But most importantly, I had in my midst (out of the people I knew in real life) some fine writers. Primarily, two of them. PTV continues to pour his heart out in his blog. Some of it obscure and perhaps very personal, but just wonderful writing. Keerthi was the other. He may have coined the adage that if you are good, then your stuff must come at a premium.

Free-flowing, long-form prose that I wish I read more of these days.

I remember writing some Kafkaesque gibberish back in the early days. I shudder to imagine the stuff I came up with -- stuff only a disaffected Indian male in an engineering college hostel could write. Mercifully -- and I'm sure you'd appreciate this -- the stuff wasn't suicidal or perverse. But then, pseudo-intellectual psycho-babble that seemed to characterize a lot of blogging back then isn't any better. But, as risible as my attempts at 'writing' back then might seem now, it was personal. It meant something at the time of writing. And I think some people even left kind words in the comments. I shudder, nonetheless, as a part of my mind sheepishly thanks those people; it has little place or time to consider how many of those were ironic.

I'm sure that kind of blogging exists in the internet. I long to be able to write stuff like that -- stuff that feels right when I write it. Stuff that is borne out of inspiration, without being overly self-indulgent -- after all, it is a blog that's public, and like all materials published in the open, a sliver of vanity creeps into the author's head that cannot be discounted.

I long to be able to do all that.

So much for not clinging on to the past, eh?
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