Sunday, June 04, 2006

Eight-year-olds shouldn't play with guns. Twenty-somethings should not play with blogs.

Throughout my life I've tried very hard to keep an actual hand-written journal. I think I first started journaling around fourth grade, probably after I read Dear Mr. Henshaw and Strider by Beverly Cleary. (If you have not read those books, you should pick them up. It's never too late to read Beverly Cleary.) Unfortunately, I even lack the motivation to complete a whole journal. I think the most I've ever written in one was about twenty five pages, and that included a year and a half. I have several notebooks sitting around in my parents' house, and each have a week's worth of my life written on the first ten pages.

For some reason I love blogging. I think it's because it's much less effort to type out random thoughts than to write them down. And I think a major draw to writing a blog is that people can read it. I think I've always wanted an audience, even when I was writing in my journals back when I was a pre-teen. I remember making shit up all the time, thinking that it'd be really awesome if someone found them and believed what I wrote.

I wish I could blame Sylvia Plath's journals for this behavior, since part of me thought at one point that one day, when I'm famous as SHIT, someone would find my journals and publish them and then people would say, "Wow, he was brilliant even when he was a teenager!" I realize, though, that I probably thought that before I even read The Bell Jar, so I can't blame Plath for it. I'm just vain.

I think vanity plays a big part in the blog-o-sphere (ughihatethatword). It's amazing how many people, including myself, think that other people would be interested in reading about their lives. I mean, I'm not publishing any juicy shit here; I'm writing whole posts about my swollen eye. Sometimes it baffles me that people find this entertaining and keep reading it. (I'm primarily talking about people I don't know, since I see the excitement in reading your friend's blog.) (It's also funny that people HATE my blog and keep reading it anyway, but I've touched on that subject before.)

I've been thinking about this all weekend. Part of it comes from thinking about the online journals I had on other sites that were so vastly different from what I write here. I used to write about people or things that really upset me. I think I was much more candid, but in some ways I think I'm just as open and honest about things here, but I take a different tone about what I write about. I try not to take myself seriously and I hope that comes out in my writing. And when I do stupid shit and get embarrassed about it, I write about it on here instead of avoiding it. That way people have to laugh WITH me. Right?

This post spawns from two things that happened this weekend. Yesterday, at the Printers Row Book Fair, I was standing at a booth looking at old printing press materials. I looked across the booth and saw this guy. I turned to Nicole and said, "Hey, there's that guy whose blog I read!" I thought for a split-second that I should introduce myself, and then I said, "Wait, he probably wouldn't know who I am and that would be weird!" I mean, based on my awkward interactions with people I've actually met in person before, you have to see where I was coming from. So I decided not to say anything.

Then, about two minutes later, he came over and said, "Are you Tyler? I'm Kevin." We talked for a bit, and it was really cool to be "recognized" or whatever, especially since I didn't realize he also read my blog. Of course, after he walked away I went into panic mode and was like, "Oh God, he probably thinks I'm ten kinds of crazy," (My previous blog posts started flashing in my head), and then Nicole said, "Oh God, do you think he realized I'm your roommate you write about?!" It was one of those weird moments that my mother warns me about ("DON'T POST ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE EVERYONE WILL SEE IT AND HACK INTO YOUR COMPUTER AND STEAL ALL OF YOUR MONEY AND THEN COME KILL YOU!!!!"). I think I was over it in about ten minutes, but it's still a weird feeling to actually realize that people know all about you. I think it made me about two percent more mature than I was on Friday.

The other thing is something I can't really write about, since it involves a stupid argument with a friend over a situation I'm still a little sore about, since I spent all last night trying to figure out if I was overreacting about how I felt or if I was being rational. I wanted to write something about it, but I knew I shouldn't, since it would just make things worse, and Megan would fuss at me tomorrow morning in our daily eighty-email correspondence. She would be right, of course; online journals are no place to spark social or family feuds, and I think sometimes I push the boundaries (both deliberately and not). And I know that sort of thing is passive-aggressive, but sometimes I feel like I have friends who only follow my blog these days instead of actually talking to me. I guess that's partially my fault, since I have the blog in the first place. Oh, the Catch-22 of blogging. It's a real bitch, as my mother would say if she was a blogger.


Kari said...

I just read your blog and I think what you wrote is pretty true for all of us. I often tried to start journals, quitting after 10 days or so. Great insight!

Meg said...

So yes I realize I'm commenting on a June entry and it's October, but whatever.
I've thought about this lately. How different my Blogger Blog was from my Open Diary which are so competely different from my current Live Journal and my lame attempts to keep a hand written journal which doesn't seem to fufill my need for an audience which I don't have. Still I find it very funny when friends will read an entry, then not comment, but bring it up at dinner "What did you mean by that" and then I have to explain that my blog is not about them it's about me.