I’ve been writing a set of essays which I hope will one day be published either singularly or as the set that I am constructing them as.
Actually, I think they are more memoir than they are essays, but memoir sort of declares to the world that you are a fascinating person to whom fascinating things have happened, whereas I am a person who made a couple of extraordinarily stupid decisions, attempted to make up for them by making even more and increasingly stupid decisions, then thought that writing non-fiction would be a good (by which I mean, among other things, legitimate) way to further avoid the frightningness that is the second draft of my next piece of fiction and, lacking both the expertise and the gumption to investigate any other subject beyond myself in any depth, thought I may as well write about those stupid decisions.
I did wonder whether I would have anything to say that I haven’t already blogged about. I mean, goodness me, I’ve been rather revealing over these last couple of months. Perhaps, I thought to myself, blogging is a substitute for memoir. But the more I wrote offline, the more I realised that this was an issue barely worth a second thought. For one thing, there’s heaps I haven’t blogged about (for example, you don’t know what my grandmother said to the mister the day we told her we were getting married). But really, it’s not an issue, because as with all these questions, the answer is not an either/or. Blogging and memoir share some similarities, but they are different. Different processes, different results.
While the blog helps me to record things immediately and does provide an opportunity to think and reflect on the things that happen to me, it is altogether a different kind of thought and reflection than I have been doing while writing the essays.
Most of the differences come back to the same thing of course. The immediacy of blogging versus the ‘looking back’ of memoir. Because memoir demands a cohesive narrative beyond the simple chronological narrative of my blog, I feel that it is forcing me to explore situations and emotions more fully, to contextualise everything (for myself if not for the reader, at the moment, everything is done for myself because the reader is still a concept, a potential, rather than an actual).
My blog is a photo album, filled with snapshots where the essays, although potentially stand-alone, are a film.
And actually, that little analogy is bloody brilliant and has just helped me to fill in the gaps of one of the
chapters essays I’ve been trying to write, so if you’ll excuse me I’m turning the interwebs off again and re-opening my increasingly large, but ever-more wieldy document.
PS One thing I’m surprised about is the amount of effort I have put into thinking about ego and narcissim and so forth. You’d think blogging would’ve moved me way past those worries. But no.
‘Do you think it’s too self-centred?’ I asked the mister of a piece I gave him to read the other night (this is unusual, I rarely let him read anything).
‘Well, didn’t you say it’s memoir?’ he asked in his engineering way.
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Sometimes I really don’t understand you.’