Thursday, June 29, 2006

On writing and blogging

"For the most part, writing is a selfish and self-centered profession. And the essay, as E.B. White has remarked, is probably the most egoistic of all forms." -Alan Lightman

It both flatters and slightly freaks me out whenever I hear of total strangers reading-- and presumably enjoying-- my blog. The other night at the Yao dinner party (and no Heidi, not your Yao house in Greenmeadows :p), Sam Ang's brother asked me out of the blue if I had attended a wedding in the province recently. When I asked him how he knew, he said he had read about it in my blog. Apparently, his friend Jonathan a.k.a. JoLiao (whom I have never met in my entire life), brother of my former student Karen, had referred him to my blog when he spotted Shereen's name mentioned. Why Jonathan reads my blog is still beyond me, but I appreciate it nevertheless.

Writing is a very self-indulgent activity; blogging even more so. When Matthew asked me what I usually blog about, for a second, I was stumped. "Anything and everything" seemed like a safe response, but if I'm being completely honest, then the more precise answer would be simply "me". Blogging serves as both catharsis for pent-up emotions and wayward thoughts, as well as caters to one's inner exhibitionist (as oxymoronic as that sounds). When one writes for public consumption (and come one, let's face it, blogging is public, no matter how many "friends only" settings or cyber-pseudonyms one uses to construct the illusion of privacy), there is a certain egocentricity involved. If you are a fellow blogger, chances are you blog for any of the following purposes: 1) to share experiences; 2) to recount events; 3) to express ideas/opinions; 4) to vent positive/negative energy; 5) to harness creative juices. And all of those have a commonality among them: they all revolve around YOU. And since you chose to do your writing through a very accessible and very public medium, then that indicates either you wanted people to react to what you've written, or at the very least know what you've written. Never mind if they know who you are or not. The point is, your words are out there for the whole world to read, and don't tell me that's not a cry for attention.

True, sometimes we get the occasional stalker or an unwelcome bloghound or 2. But that's an occupational hazard of being a blogger. If you're so concerned about who gets to peek into your innermost thoughts and feelings, then write in a friggin' diary, complete with lock and key. Or just don't write about deeply personal, sensitive stuff that might become tabloid fodder (no offense meant to you-know-who-you-are ;p).

I have no qualms admitting that I like receiving comments on and about my blog, that I like the idea of having an actual following out there with nothing better to do than read about me, me, me. I also enjoy taking all my chaotic thoughts and opinions and feelings and ideas to churn out organized (well, mostly organized anyway), sensible, occasionally profound, sometimes funny and hopefully always entertaining prose. Blogging is-- in all senses of the phrase-- "me time", and it's the best kind of "me time" I have in the middle of a busy workday or a stressful week. I get to focus on myself, and I get others to train their attention on me as well.

So perhaps Alan Lightman and E.B. White were right, that all writers are, on varying levels, self-absorbed egomaniacs. Well I love writing, and yes, I love myself. And if you're reading this, then maybe you love my writing--and me-- too. Thanks for your 5 minutes. :)

12 Comments:

At Thursday, June 29, 2006, Anonymous Ria said...

You know that I love your writing, Ling. I'm dead certain that you're not a self-absorbed egomaniac though. ;-)

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Well, I guess I'm not... all the time. Haha. Thanks Maff. Love you too. ;)

 
At Thursday, June 29, 2006, Anonymous maribel said...

seriously...when do you plan to publish your work sis? as in seriously? i honestly sooo cannot do this blogging thing. i'd actually love to rant and rave or whatever anonymously but in a way, also terribly scared to reveal too much. lol! labo ko noh?

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Not at all, I get exactly what you mean (don't I always? haha ;p). As for publishing my work, it's still a far-off dream (was going to write about it in my next blog post, actually). For now I'm content with publishing in cyberspace... but yeah someday I hope to author an honest-to-goodness book. I promise you'll be one of the first to receive a signed copy. Hehe.

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006, Anonymous mishy said...

"...an actual following out there with nothing better to do than read about me, me, me."

Tinamaan ako dun, hehe. It's true though. I get bored with the tediousness of the day that I like to take a break and check out your blog, =).

Like Maribel, I'm very conscious about blogging because I feel that everything I write is too personal (which is why I haven't been updating my blog recently). That's why I admire your "egocentricity" and just write what you feel, comfortable with just putting it all out there.

I know writing has always been a passion for you since HS, and I'm happy to see that blogging has allowed you to do what you've always enjoyed, published writer or not. (naks, I sound like a proud momma).

 
At Friday, June 30, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Awww, thanks Mishy. You've always been one of my most loyal fans, ever since our high school notebook-swapping days. ;p You know I enjoy reading your stuff as well, so I do wish you would update your blog more often. :)

 
At Saturday, July 01, 2006, Anonymous Karen said...

Whoa! My brother reads your blog? I didn't know that. Haha! But, that's cool! He'll learn a lot from your entries. They're really good. ;)

 
At Monday, July 03, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Waaaiiitaminute. If you didn't show him my blog, then how did he find it?? Haha, oh well, at least I have more than one Liao sibling reading my blog. Miss you Karen! Hope all is well with you! :)

 
At Monday, July 03, 2006, Anonymous Karen said...

Oh yeah!! I remember now! I showed it to him briefly but I didn't think he'd continue reading your blog haha! Sorry! Hmm! Brother-sister talk later >:D And yes, by next week my whole clan will start reading The View from Saturday haha. :P jk!!
Take care Ms! :)

 
At Monday, July 03, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Oh don't apologize, I like it when people get hooked on my blog. Makes me feel popular and loved. Haha. :p

 
At Wednesday, July 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love readin your blog cuz u write like...i dunno, like those fiction diary book things. interesting + easy to understand. when other people (like myself) blog, my grammar is all screwed up (like now) and i basically just type in anything in my head, so people who dont know me dont usually understand a thing im writing. most people blog like this, which is why i only like reading blogs of people i know, or people who write like pocketbooks (you are one of them, as well as maddy ong and katco). -mae

 
At Wednesday, July 05, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I'm flattered to be counted among such talented writers. I miss reading Maddy's and KatCo's work. :) Don't sell yourself short though, I recall enjoying reading your essays back in ICA, including those from the quizzes you tried so hard to get perfect 10s on. ;p

 

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