Mike said that, talking (to himself?!) as he entertained a couple of neighborhood girls by trying to figure out one of their toys.
Yesterday was full of tugs. I spent the afternoon and evening enjoyably, after taking a much longer time than usual to blog (and cook! shhhhhhh). Being on the periphery of two kidnappings with happy endings left me full of vicarious emotion. For the last three days I have been feeling a bit de-centered, as if there’s “a disturbance in The Force” (!), or – as the new roomie said, I am “out of alignment” with myself. My thinking is slow, difficult; my self-consciousness heightened. I speculate that I’m experiencing fallout from being (now) in a timespace different than expected (on land rather than still at sea), or the process of absorbing recent life lessons, or the malaise that lingers from old wounds . . .
I know I don’t have the jazzy hectoring tone considered most successful in writing on/for the web. The thing is, I don’t want to play into that collusively heeyyy cowboy insider attitude that Jack Shaffer promotes. Yet, I appreciate that friends do (sometimes, smile) actually read the blog and (rarer still, hence precious) give me feedback on my writing. Building “indexes” over the past few days must have put me in a summative mood, because I carried that mode into writing about Alf’s freedom instead of just blogging the moment. Perhaps I’m feeling it more necessary than usual to justify my existence (I got flamed!), to explain the reasons for my choices, or otherwise try to articulate how I perceive things going together? I am also prepping to teach, and I never (ever!) stop learning.
Even though I’ll probably never capture the tone of our times, my mind resonated with resemblances to another angle of Caleb Crain’s reflections on online literary style. In particular, he writes (and I insert comments):
I’ve kept a blog for several years (ditto), and although its readership is tiny (mine too), I of course notice when the hits rise and fall. (I should pay more attention!) I seem to get more readers when I post frequently, when I write about people or topics in the headlines, when I have been drawn into a conflict, and when I write something that speaks to a self-image that a group of people share. (Hmmm, it would be interesting to know if any such patterns are evident here in Reflexivity.) Over the years I’ve gradually revealed more personal details (we differ in this); I still reveal very little, comparatively, but enough to entitle me to say that I feel a tug there, too. Perhaps the tugs that I feel are a better data source, come to think of it, than my blog’s underemployed hit counter. If I were to interpret those tugs, I would say that writing on the internet tends to be more popular when it satisfies the reader’s wish to be connected–the wish not to miss out.
Funny – is Crain suggesting an internal (his own) or external (from others) tug to reveal more? Where (with whom) does the wish to be connected originate, and can it be cultivated as a social/relational force for institutional/historical change?
Only if we act on those wishes. 🙂