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"Think of these three things: whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account"--Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Confused by the Blogging Paradox, or a Cautionary Tale of What I’d like to See on My Tombstone

I stole some time (I won’t tell you from where) to work on my novel yesterday. It felt good being in my own world, creating and manipulating how characters would behave.

Is this how God feels when he pre-arranges things for us?;-)

Seriously speaking, whilst it felt good, it also felt a bit strange having this other level of consciousness, as it were, where I could determine how things turn out. In this world, I don’t want too many happy endings, because I don’t think that reflects real life. Sometimes, the bad do get away.

Think Iraq; Rwanda; the Congo.

Sometimes, the long arm of the law is just *too long*, but when it catches up, it catches up with incredible celerity, as in the Charles Taylor case.

The proverbial evil in this world isn’t going away any time soon—and so if a small contribution like my (putative, or so-called) novel can help underscore this point by letting a few bad guys get their just deserts only at the very last minute, then I’ll write it.

The only other thing about writing it is that might I not be merely perpetuating the clichés that ride us roughshod in our real life?

How does one write a crime thriller without reverting too much to the (a)serial killer-gone-wild; (b)individual psychopathic mentality/idiosyncrasy; (c) a protagonist good-guy on the hunt some of the time, whilst keeping in line with one’s own creativity? It is to avoid the platitudes that I chose to broaden the genre by adding a political/international dimension that would involve…wouldn’t you like to know?;-)

Either way, the point is that the theme has been broadened, but I cannot predict whether there will not be these elements there. However, given that I want it to remain an essentially crime thriller, I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea of necessarily using some clichés for effect.

All that said, the progress is in the works, and I’m all the happier for it. What I am not particularly happy over is the cogitation that blogging has brought. It’s made me think too much for my own good—and not necessarily for the right reasons.

Sometimes, I’m confronted with banal situations, and there is always this challenge to make it “bloggable”.

In so many ways, blogging has transformed us into both contradictory and paradoxical people. Contradictory because some of us chose to blog about heretofore private issues under both the ambit of free speech, as well as something to blog about, when that very same issue, we probably wouldn’t discuss with someone face-to-face.

Take the issue of sex: when you read me, you assume—because I have told you—that I am heterosexual, with a girlfriend. The assumption as to whether I have sex or not with her is not even thought about, yet I suspect you might think it comes with the territory. The real truth is that it might not even come with the territory, but when I blog about it, your attention is drawn to it, because it’s in black-and-white.

However, in real life, even if people know I have a girlfriend, I will never go so far as to talk to them about such intimate details, without feeling a bit awkward.

When you read this blog, you do it and make judgments—or not—on the entries I write. At the time you read my entry, your attention is drawn only to the post, but not to my whole personality. In that respect, even if you consistently visit the blog and have a fair idea of who I am, by way of my blog entries, it’s difficult to be certain whether it’s all an act.

We have contemporaneously become paradoxical because the self-reflection of our private lives that we are so keen to refrain from divulging fully is refracted through our blogging, such that we blog about our personal lives, but only in a way that doesn’t reveal too much of what we intimately think and feel—unless of course, you’re a sex blogger.

It is against this backdrop that I have been thinking what I’d like to see on my tombstone:

Writer; Blogger; ICT Specialist; Journalist; political scientist; historian.

Point is: how can I achieve all these within the short period I have on this earth, without being distracted by the ever-present blogging paradox?!

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