I first wrote this thought on 27 July 2015. It’s still applicable, half a year later.
There’s a strange fallacy that surrounds keeping a blog, or an online presence, or anything in life really. The fallacy that things can be packaged neatly and presented thematically. “I’m keeping a book review blog of all the books I read.” “This is my personal blog, maintained weekly.” But life can never be packaged neatly and put into a list, completed and ticked off — at least not for long. Even the most rigorous curation and presentation can’t stand up to the vagaries and challenges of real life. And I’m not even close to being the most rigorous cataloguer of a life.
Perhaps it was easier when I was young, when life was simple and highly structured (as into a school timetable), so it was easy to maintain that kind of schedule and the ensuing illusion of a neatly categorized, pigeon-holed life. And the end of childhood really comes when you realize that life never stays in those little boxes, but spills over everywhere and anyhow.
I’m of the geeky/nerdy generation who first colonized the Internet with personal websites hand-coded in HTML, CSS and PHP, who started shrines and fanlistings and networks and webrings and personal blogs. I still have links to personal websites/networks I once haunted in my teens and early 20s, and still check them out every so often. How many dead links are there? Increasing every year. How many of those geeky individuals have continued to maintain their websites and blogs? Few, not even myself. Even though my personal website is still extant (courtesy of a kind soul), it’s a ghost. Many ghosts of the early 2000s are fading into the archive that is the cyber-graveyard, and not just because times have changed and the Internet is a different place to what it used to be. Life is more complex, and it can no longer be encompassed into a fanlisting or a shrine.
It is a sorrow, an ending and a loss, to see how these boxes of neatly packaged life ends up overturned and mingling, bleeding into each other. But that is the glory of life as well, for everything to be simultaneously one and many and all, as opposed to a warehouse of ones all placed next to each other.
That’s why it’d been so hard to write in here, until recently. The blog used to be a box, where I can neatly package up the parts of life for me (and other onlookers) to study. But my life is so messy now, everything bleeding everywhere, mingling so that I can no longer distinguish individual parts that comprise it. Long gone are the days when I can separate out a fragment that is appropriate for a blogging medium.
That fragment is something that is worth talking about, but at sufficient arm’s length that you, unknown reader, are not looking into intimate and exposed places. But not much is like that anymore. Everything is trivial and intimate and profound and personal and thoughtworthy and painful, all at once.
And at the same time: why bother? Thoughts are ephemeral, but shall I taxidermy them into a box of words and contemplate them in a frozen state, or exhale them into my life where other lives are?
So I exhale them, and they fall and dissolve into the air, forgotten the moment they become embodied. That makes me sad, for they are gone, and I have taken no care to remember them. But no matter. There are always more thoughts, and perhaps it is better to set them free, instead of preserving them pinned in boxes, encased in the amber of digital text, which is itself an ephemeral medium. Here they are dead, but breathed out they become alive and fly away. I would rather have living thoughts that go and lodge themselves somewhere in a friend’s ear, and perhaps fall into their hearts.
Yet, who is to say that they will not pass through your eyes and haunt your thoughts?
I’ll try. Hard work, though.
Hard work, because life is also noisy. An Internet of things, and a life of things. Clangour, flurry. Only in the quiet, secluded places can thoughts of real worth and meaning bubble up and take form. Not many places like this, because it’s tempting to fill life up with clangour again.
Perhaps this will be a place of stillness.
I was reorganizing this blog to spruce it up for 2016 (can’t remember when I last changed the theme), and came across this post, written a year ago. A full year later, I think I’m finally getting somewhere.
I have to remember who I am, what I did, where I went, what I’ve become. It’s even more important now to bring order into the formless void that life has been… if not in circumstance, then in my mind.
It’s frustrating how slowly I change. But change I will.
Here’s to 2016.