I met with Spike yesterday to talk about some ideas I had about writing and blogging and other things literary and she suggested that I mention the people I meet with in my blog posts. So there you have it.
Being a giggling little boy about such self-referencial meta-style humor I couldn’t help but write that, but there were enough sprouts of ideas popping during our conversation that I must go on. We talked a bit about format and I dredged up memories of suck.com and other early web pioneers of blogging. I feel like their format, which interspersed photos and links and featured a thin single column, made the posts feel a lot more readable. In the web era, anything I think I’ll like that looks like a large block of text leads me to immediately respond with, “wow, this is probably really valuable, potentially life-changing information!” I immediately save a link to it and stash it for later reading. “Later”, on the web, never happens.
This ultimately leads into another discussion about length. If I can grab someone with text that looks like a quick read and hook them, I can probably get them to hang around longer but there are still limits. One thousand words was the suggestion, but of course I still haven’t learned a real sense of how long that is. At this point, this post is only 249 words long, making this only 1/4 of its ultimate potential length. I still have plenty to say, but can I keep it interesting for that long? Or is that restriction enough to tighten my scribbling to something that is better thought out and fundamentally more rewarding for you, my dear reader?
I’ve certainly learned the value of creative constraints. Like a gloved fist squeezing play dough, tighter constraints cause creativity to explode in all directions. Great examples include the (translated from the French) A Void, which never uses the letter ‘e’, or any given Flipside/Burning Man theme. One idea I’m toying with is creating some constraint-based system for my public blog. Like requiring the use of Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day in my daily post. I’m not sure this will make me the omphalos of the blogging world, but I can hope. I am already trying to limit my post writing time to one hour, and with the help of an egg timer this should make sure I get to the gym and work and remember to eat.
When I originally conceived of a public blog I thought that it would be a place that I would only write up the more “important” of my philosophical ramblings, crafted with the greatest of care. Then I realized that what appears to be interesting and amusing about me (if I am, in fact, interesting or amusing) is not just the twisted way my brain views the world, but also the way it responds to things. So long posts about the evolutionary underpinnings of man’s desire to eat corn are equally important as, “oh look! I found something shiny!”
The new blog is called, “My Time As A Human” and can be found deep within the interweb. It’s an evolving experiment, but you’re welcome to come along for the ride.
There. 618 words. Not so restrictive after all.
Wait, now it’s 627!