How is a blog like a diary? How like a diary is a blog? Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Trolling the “next blog” button occasionally yields some interesting things you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. In one post there was an examination of the idea that a blog is the modern equivalent of a diary. Fair enough, but what was interesting was the idea that by blogging one begins to live for the blog, rather than using the blog to record what one lives. A bit like the scrapbooker who spends so much time documenting their children’s lives they fail to notice they aren’t really participating in the activities they document.
It is also one of those battles I have with myself concerning photography. I love photography, as an art form and as an activity, but there is a troubling voice in my head every time I bring the camera to my eye where I am battling between capturing the right and perfect moment and simply enjoying the moment without a camera. In Europe recently I found myself taking fewer pictures than I imagined because I was more enjoying the moment. Almost begs the question whether one is better off taking pictures when ill-at-ease or detached.
It’s the attachment that sparks the interest but kills the involvement. The desire to share with the world is the lure but the documentation kills some of what it records, including the reporter, in the process. Perhaps that was the meaning behind the fear that indigenous peoples have against photographs stealing bits of the soul. Something is lost in the taking. That is the verb, after all, to take a picture. To remove a moment of time from its surrounding moments.
What drives us to record all these things we think and see and feel? And why isn’t reality enough, why do we seek out stories of imaginary people and places created by others? What is it about our lives that it isn’t enough to live them, that we seek out virtual worlds and virtual communities, bonding with like-minded people while shutting out an entire world of possibility that surrounds us?
How is a diary, a blog, a photograph, a novel like a prison?
And why do we crave it so?