Thursday, January 05, 2006

Get real now or get real later, but sooner or later you must get real. Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessum, Blogging &tc.

Since I started this blog (which I have shamelessly ignored recently), I've had to defend it from time to time. Sometimes I've had to defend it rather energetically. There was concern that someone might get, ahem, pissed off, by something they might read here and, well, they might not like me. And then this little enterprise might never achieve its potential riches.

Not that this hasn't occurred to me, but my vigorous defense has been that if anyone is weird about what is written here, it would likely not be a good match to begin with. The truth will out, as they say, and life is much too short to pretend to be something you're not. It's not like anyone stands a chance of anything else coming to pass in the long run, anyhow.

How long could I realistically keep anyone convinced that I am the second incarnation of Sphincter, The Corporate Uber-Goddess, unable to sleep on the Blogging Pea Mattress? (Rhetorical question.) Then there's the other possibility. Someone might like the tiniest bit of attitude in their written word. Someone might think what they read within these pixels is exactly what they want.

I am bolstered at this point by the fact that this has actually come to pass, thank you [your favorite deity here].

So, I was reading Jeneane, ALLIED by Jeneane Sessum: Speaking Our Language (thank you for the automatic linky-script, Blogger) who wrote about an interview with Chris Locke, a strange and wonderful man who was also a blog pioneer (along with Jeneane) and one of the authors of A Cluetrain Manifesto. It's too good to truncate, and makes the point better than I was going to anyway. Jeneane wrote::

Go now and read this interview by David Newberger with Chris Locke on blogging. If there were a license to blog, this, Cluetrain and Gonzo Marketing would be the learner's permits.

Of course there is no license--no MBA, CPA, or DDS required--not even good taste, thank God. Just some skin and flesh in the game, if you're man enough to make yourself vulnerable. Because starting all of this and keeping at it is no simple thing. Or maybe it is.

[pretend this paragraph is indented five spaces to indicate quotation] The challenges of writing will present themselves immediately. And the challenges are great. Are you a fool? Are you naive? Are you saying too much? Too little? Are you bold enough to say THAT in public? Are you stupid enough? All sorts of gremlins sit on your shoulder whispering in your ear. Some are encouragements. Some are seductions. Some groundless fears. Some dangerous delusions. How a writer responds to these whisperings will determine what kind of writer he or she will become. It’s a very personal thing. My own approach is to listen carefully, then ignore all of it.

Jill again. And there it is, the terror of the creative life, rolled into one paragraph. It's the process of facing down one gaping maw of insecurity after another. But just often enough, there's a magic gleam in your inner eye, that psychedelically, exponentially takes you from zero to ten centimeters and you've got that 'la petite mort' that's as addictive as some of your better opiate derivatives. Back to our regularly scheduled quote:

While we're at it, on the notion of 'blooks,' I'd argue that the first blook was Locke's The Bombast Transcripts, featuring "browser-free" content from EGR, published in January 2002.

More nuggets from the interview:

Well, if you mean influence as it’s usually measured, then the clear answer is the Top 100 hit magnets on Technorati. No one could say, and I wouldn’t suggest, that they’re not having a lot of influence on whomever is hitting their blogs. They must, right? And the more people who hit those sites, the more people will hit those sites. In this sense, we’ve replicated the mass media model. Which is inevitable in some sense. I mean, there will always be a top-10, a top-100, in anything you can measure. It’s like fashion. Beige is the new black. Chartreuse is the new black. Whatever.

Then there’s the very different phenomenon of going to x-random site and reading something, hearing something, seeing something that changes your mind, touches your heart. It could be someone you’ve never heard of. It could be someone whose voice is just emerging. His or her real voice. Real in the sense that it cuts through all the posturing and bullshit and reminds you what you are, what we are. That kind of influence can’t be measured the same way. And it’s possible that, by measuring things that can be easily measured, we miss entirely the things that can’t be measured at all.


"And it’s possible that, by measuring things that can be easily measured, we miss entirely the things that can’t be measured at all." How does he do that? An entire ecosystem of values contained within one elegantly succinct sentence. Certainly, indeed.