Blogging is one of those intensely personal-public occupations. Just in the act of writing, we may let something slip, allow a thought or idea to break through in the text that reveals our “true” selves. Jean Genet called this the “holy of holies”, Kafka called it “the frozen sea” … And in the blogging world, your self-revelation could be read by anyone (or no-one) — it could be read by your boss, your lover, your ex-lover, your children or your extended family.
I have been pondering how blogging can generate strong bonds of friendship between people who have never met face–to–face. I was wondering how it is that we, as readers, enter into the spirit of relationship so openly (and at times, so fiercely) and quickly with authors whom we admire. And then I skipped by Maryam’s blog and my breath was taken away. I wanted to respond (but was black balled), but needed something more poetic than my own words … so I was looking through the writings of some of my favourite authors, and came across something delicious.
There is a deep philosophic and emotional linkage between reading and writing. In fact, I believe that a good write must be a good reader — and vice versa, that a good reader can be a good writer (with effort and discipline). With this in mind, I found a great quote from Proust’s small book, On Reading — which applies in the same way to writing:
The atmosphere of this pure form of friendship [reading/writing] is silence, which is purer than speech. Because we speak for others, but keep silent for ourselves. So silence, unlike speech, does not bear the trace of our defects, or our affectations.
I think this is partly what draws me to text over image, what drives me seek out and write stories and what makes me question the use of photographs on blogs. In a predominantly visual medium such as the web, the dominance of text amounts to a form of eloquent silence in which readers and writers can commune.
Oh … and in case you haven’t … vote for Maryam.