After running through about 120 entries, I find myself wondering about the goals of this diary. What is its purpose? Who am I really writing this thing for anyway?
I see that there are several approaches to online diary writing. Some seem to be written as an entertainment; they project a particular take on reality that is (somewhat) contrived for effect. Others are exercises in execution and technique. These diaries are created out of dialy ritual and rigid asceticism, and, their purpose is to develop writing style. A third set of diaries seem to be genuinely confessional, as if the act of placing thoughts and worries in a carefully controlled forum is a genuine tonic for an aching soul. Many diaries seem to fall in between these three extremes and combine aspects of all three on a daily basis.
What is my diary? I can't see it as an exercise to develop my writing; I never approach it as a daily ritual to grind out a certain number of words or affect a certain tone. The words come when they come, and, this is why gaps appear. It is also why I do not write professionally. I can't stand the process of staring down a blank screen, or a blank sheet of paper knowing that I must find something to fill it.
This diary is an entertainment, clearly. I do, in my own low key, somewhat passive-aggressive way, want what I write to connect with someone else. I have my Walter Mitty-esque tendencies, and this diary is a way to try to reveal "the not-so-secret life of Dr. Geek" to the world in some way. It also feel that I connect with people best on some sort of intellectual level first, and, I hope to engage people in a different, better way than I would if we saw each other across a crowded room .
I do write to confess, but I seek to do it in a semi-public way that keeps me honest. I've written journals before, but never with the longevity or breadth of this effort. I had the chance not long ago to read a diary I kept briefly as a teen. It really was self-indulgent crap. I know a few other diaries that I started and never sustained must have been the same. I think that the pictures those diaries paint are somehow seen better in what they don't say. They reveal more of a state of mind in the patterns of their writing and subject matter. The entries themselves don't stretch or develop at all because I wrote them knowing that I was the only one who was supposed to read them. Somehow knowing that someone else will read these words forces me to at least try to write something interesting. I therefore don't explicitly write to please you, my kind and faithful reader, but, I need you to keep me honest with myself and my subject matter.
In the final analysis, it could all boil down to temperament. I've spent my life talking to myself and composing long speeches of things I would like to say in my head. Part of me does wish that I could be a great writer, artist, or musician. Yet, I cannot subjugate myself to art and take it on its terms rather than my own. I cannot therefore gloriously succeed or gloriously fail while constantly trying. In that way, this diary is chicken shit. It's Crayolas instead of oil paint, the kazoo and toy piano instead of the orchestra. It's an attempt to be creative without suffering for my art.
Perhaps it is simply best to stick to first causes and strip away all pretense. Whatever it is, I like doing it. I like reaching out to people in this slightly odd way. I hope you, faithful reader, like hearing from me.
on 2003-11-02 at 9:38 p.m.
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