I have been away for eighteen days and I still have no clear picture of how I wish to proceed with this website. Gone is my desire to “chronicle the day-to-day events of my life, whether extraordinary or mundane” and muddied is my vision of what should come next. If I am to keep this space open, if I am to do something with it, what am I to do? What is there to write about that isn’t being written about by countless others? What do I, personally, have to offer to the Internet?
This passage, from a former coworker’s essay on his encounters with the blogosphere, evokes conflicting emotions in me. On the one hand, I am laughing right along with him, agreeing wholeheartedly with his assessments. On the other hand, I am wondering if I should be laughing at all, if, in fact, I am part of the problem he describes.
My second complaint is that so many bloggers have absolutely nothing to say, and insist on saying it. Blogs of this sort often appear as a diary which the writer calls A Journal in an attempt to raise it to a higher form. In such Journals, we read that so and so got up, peed, ate Cocoa Puffs (for some reason these people never eat Grape Nuts), dressed, went to work, encountered bad traffic, and on and on. The reader, even if he knows the writer, can barely refrain from killing himself.
I have questions for writers of the “It’s All about Me Journal”: What am I supposed to do with this information? Why are you publishing it? If you are not even trying to write material that might be interesting, why are you putting it out on the web? Please write it in an actual red diary that has My Diary in gold letters across the front, or put it in a text file on your own hard disk. Later, burn the diary and/or smash the disk. And try some Corn Flakes.
I struggled often in 2005 with the question of my website’s worth. It’s a question I still struggle with, really. And when all of the people who inspired me to start this site have long since closed up shop (Rebekah) or are on extended breaks (Justin) how can I help but question the value of a site that is, like that famously overpraised sitcom, Seinfeld, ostensibly about nothing?
If the Bastad is to continue, it needs a purpose. The site needs focus. But, it also needs to honor its roots. There is simply too much material here to hide away in darkest corner of some forgotten harddrive. It’s an interesting question: how can a project that has always been about nothing suddenly be about something? And, more importantly, if it’s going to be about something, what’s it going to be about?
Writing, perhaps? I am a novelist, after all, albeit an as-yet-unpublished one. As I’ve thought it over these past few days, it’s that angle that’s always seemed the most worthwhile to me. There are a great many book blogs, but not too many writing ones, at least not that I’ve found. And I think it could be compelling, if done well, to chronicle the struggles a writer seeking that first big byline.
We’ll see, I guess. We will see.