I don’t really have anything to say, but for some reason I feel like blogging. Partly this is because Channel Ten is showing an episode of Medium that I’ve seen before; I find it slightly annoying that they interrupt the flow of the current season to repeat episodes from other seasons (even worse, from earlier in the current season) during the school holiday period, or when any other channel is hosting a major sporting event, or for no reason whatsoever. At the moment I think that if I watched the repeat then I’d just be watching television for the sake of it, and although I watch a lot of television, I am engaged while I’m doing it. It may seem strange to those who regard television as passivity-inducing, but I truly don’t watch TV just to ‘veg. out’, whether I’m watching Survivor XII or Six Feet Under.
Another reason why I’ve decided to post tonight is that I’m aware I’ve been comparatively lax in attending to this blog since I began my PhD, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to, well, not do something about it specifically—that would take a long term commitment to regular posting—but, at least, make more than one post this week. I think it’s probably quite proper, given my propensity for long posts, that I don’t post as frequently as I did when I first started this blog. I should be devoting most of my time to working on my thesis, rather than spending too much time composing posts, which I have a tendency to do.
The observation that I don’t post as regularly now as I once did goes to the heart of why I started to blog. Effectively, I was highly educated, yet underemployed; I was used to having an arena in which to express, through discussion and writing, a whole range of thoughts, theories and arguments. My decision to start a blog was not dissimilar to why I concluded many people self-publish zines: it was a use of a highly developed literacy that was enabled by my proximity and access to a computer and the Internet. I also found—and still do—that having a blog allowed me to think aloud, but in a way that pushed me to follow my thoughts through and articulate them as clearly as I could. Sometimes my thoughts are expressed in a rather elliptical fashion, and I quite enjoy being able to drift along in that way, since, aside from zines, there are no other readily accessible mediums that would allow me to write non-fiction in this style. Other times I’ve liked the self-imposed project of working through a thought. It was in this way that I found out I need a minimum of 1000 words to say anything. It was also by pursuing my fleeting thoughts in writing that I came to realise I was capable of producing more words per day than I had previously believed. What a great thing to discover upon entering a PhD program! Of course I recognise that a blog and a doctoral dissertation are vastly different genres, but from a confidence boosting perspective, the realisation was invaluable.
Even while I’ve been talking about writing fewer posts, I remain committed to this blog for reasons that develop the above observations about the specificity of the blog as a medium. I know that some people hope to turn their blogs into books, or at least use them as a kind of rehearsal for writing material that will inform their work in other media. I have no difficulty with this use of the blog form—the ease of self-publishing on the Internet lends itself to such applications—but that’s not my intent. Rather, in the blog form, I feel that I’ve discovered a place to write that is uniquely suited to my non-academic register. I learned a while ago now that I’m not a fiction writer; I’m not compelled to write in the way that many writers of fiction describe, and when I read fiction, I know I don’t have the talent to be published. But since I began Galaxy, I’ve discovered that I do want to write something other than academic prose.
A question that arises at this point is ‘Why not just write a journal’?, especially in view of the often personal nature of the content of this blog. To that I’ll begin by saying—if you haven’t already noticed— that I’m an inveterate theoriser. This tendency to pontificate seems to lend a political, if not necessarily public, dimension to my writing, and those moments where I draw conclusions for a broader audience from my personal experience, seem to demand the attention of said audience, and blogging allows me to easily distribute my brand of writing to them. Or at least 5 or 6 of them.