So Why Do You Write?

So I want to start out by saying this is my first blog post for the Sweetland Minor in Writing program, and I’m really excited for this Writing 220 class! Yay Fall 2012 cohort!

This week’s blog post is in response to the prompt: What in either or all of the Orwell/Didion/Sullivan readings resonates with you? (i.e. What did you find funny, silly, touching, boring, inspiring, uncomfortable, dismaying, true, etc.) Why/how?

What I loved most about all three pieces was that the writers’ personal voice and style shined out of each and every one of them! However, Sullivan’s “Why I Blog” was a personal favorite.

How many of you really knew that blog was a combination of web and log? That’s so crazy! But aside from that, the first line in the piece that struck me was “As you read a log, you have the curious sense of moving backward in time as you move forward in pages—the opposite of a book.” I found that idea fascinating…and puzzling – I literally had to think of how that makes sense! Another thing that I found engaging was the comparison of a blog and diary. When we met in our little blog groups, Amy, Gabriella and I were discussing how sometimes it’s hard to just write a blog because it felt like writing a diary/keeping a journal. This piece really opened my eyes into how different they really were, because a blog is instantly public and “transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one.” And not only that, but readers respond! “They were more brutal than any editor, more persnickety than any copy editor, and more emotionally unstable than any colleague.” Brutal feedback is not one of the side-effects of a diary!

Some of the most effective parts of Sullivan’s work, according to me, were his comparisons of what blogging is really made of.  Some examples that resonated with me follow: “Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” “A blogger splashes gamely into a subject and dares the sources to come to him.” “He is similar in this way to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.” And one of my favorites “ There are times, in fact, when a blogger feels less like a writer than an online disc jockey, mixing samples of tunes and generating new melodies through mashups while also making his own music. He is both artist and producer—and the beat always goes on.”

I think another part of his piece that I found touching was his subtle advice. “Blogging requires an embrace of such hazards, a willingness to fall off the trapeze rather than fail to make the leap,” exhibiting the high-risk level involved in blogging. I also really appreciated his comment on how blogging rewards brevity and immediacy, because that’s one of the main differences between blogging and other writing mediums.

“You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts.” I loved this line because it really shows why blogging is so addictive is for some people…its an immediate way to get your thoughts out to the world.

The other two pieces, both called “Why I Write” were both amusing as well. I thought Orwell’s theory on the 4 great motives of writing: (i) Egoism (ii) Aesthetic Enthusiasm (iii) Historical Impulse (iv) Political Purpose, was very interesting. I found myself remembering various pieces of writing and trying to assess what motives the writer might have been influenced by at the time. I found Didion’s piece very refreshing and the concept of how the pictures in his mind dictate the turns his pieces take greatly resonated with me.

These are a few of my thoughts on the three reading pieces assigned for this week!

Ciao for now! 🙂

One thought to “So Why Do You Write?”

  1. Khushi, I am totally agreeing with you that Sullivan’s piece on blogs (web+log=blog? You’re right, I never knew that!) was eye-opening. The idea of a log being seemingly in reverse also made me think about the positioning of a blog. To me, an academic paper seems straightforward and linear: you answer the prompt, give it to a professor for grading, and that is that. A blog, however, doesn’t seem to function in that same way-but rather once a blog post is out there, an intricate web begins to form. Almost like one of those web diagrams, one post creates several offshoots from other commenters, other bloggers, etc. The audience goes beyond one reader (i.e. your professor)–and into the blog-o-sphere. This participatory and collaborative vibe goes way beyond any linear or one-to-one reader/writer combos that I am used to in school, and is really refreshing.

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