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The Blog Bog
By Matthew Paris
Inventions create situations for Artists that they lacked in previews ages. A musician with only a bone flute, a drum made of goat skin and his voce is going to produce another kind of achievement than a rock band with huge and complex electronic amplification or a symphony orchestra.
A poet who is dependent on live performance and his memory in a world without writing is not going to be able to deliver his verses to as many people as effectively as people with access to printing book or delivery systems using computers. One of the genres computers have foaled that has only partial models in newspaper columns, enraged radio polemicists or stand up comedy routines is the blog.
Perhaps the first blog is Montaigne's essays. Thoreau's journals or Emerson's essays are effusions which were they alive now they would have put in blogs. In his time Emerson delivered them nimbly as lectures going on tour from town hall to town hall in rural villages. Yet blogs don't make a living for anyone as lectures did for Emerson. They are a harvest of passing enthusiasms which have nothing to do with money.
The blog is a virtual pulpit from which anyone can say anything. The endorsing bloggers for poets are the ones who reflect in an idiosyncratic and surprising way anything they experience. They are wags filled with opinions. If they are literary they tend to have some of the qualities of naturalist or confessional writing.
They don't witness a large action as much as reflect the meandering eddies we experience in real time while large actions are occurring. They don't have plots or resolutions; the stories they tell don't go anywhere in any Euclidean way.
I'm going at first to review some of the blogs I know about. I'd be grateful if readers would suggest that I read the blogs that they value but are unknown to me.<>
Greg Znajda's Blog
Greg Znajda's Blog is a harrowing and heroic account of male vulnerability. There is nothing leek it in all literature outside of Tolstoy's The Death Of Ivan Ilich. Tolstoy's novella is about a very ordinary man and all the conventional ways people react to signs of his mortality; nothing about Greg Znajda is conventional or passive as the rather banal Ivan Ilich is.
Grey Znajda grew up on the Chicago streets, is a man of a thousand interests including the deeper arts of master carpentry and the mysteries of wood, a black belt master competing in tournaments in France, a teacher whose elevated spirituality and caring for his pupils in his martial arts classes is legendary in that windy city.
At around 50 this adept got a throat cancer; he was left after an operation with enormous pain from the surgical wound and a strangled voce as a kind of talisman of his own human frailty. His blog is a long record of his wrestle with not merely his physical debilities but his deep, honest and unsparing insight into himself and his world.
Unlike Job, Greg Znajda doesn't have any institutional beliefs that can sustain him in this sea-change in his life. If anything his various troubles push him in a sort of Hellenic way toward his insights. Much of his bog reflects in extraordinary ways on ordinary situations of an outsider whose honesty makes for some very intense and unforgettable reading.
The experience of vulnerability drives Greg Znajda to examine every aspect of a life that isn't quite an impenetrable fortress as he'd like it to be. We can all resonate with that observation. He is divorced, is sharing bringing up a daughter. He at once wants to connected as much as he can with his child yet is aware that she is separate from him.
He wants to drive his life forward; yet at fifty he is filled with a sense of his own baggage as a man he didn't have when he was much younger.
The prose of this blog is particularly strong; it is filled with the ferocity and deep anger at mortality of a man who has come up from the ashes and has well earned skills at life, one who at once is a skeptic add philosopher yet does not want to be other than impeccable in life and not be dependent on anybody.
It is absolutely unsentimental blog. He will not allow himself a refuge in some eddy of sugared consolation. He even makes a virtue of his desperation; his very troubles push him to illuminations that he mgmt not have achieved otherwise. It's a blog superficially about himself but really about everybody.
This extraordinary running narrative, still going as he is, can be taken as an ordinary metaphor for human frailty by anyone who has the drive and philosophical ambition of this singular blogger, one who in middle age realizes in a dramatic way that he has deeply annoying mortal limitations.
R. Scott Bakker's blog
This great writer of science fantasy, a form seemingly at its apogee in the accounts of seven foot tall heros, wizards, and political ambition in the sword and Saturday tales of Robert E. Howard in the 1930s, has a blog remarkable for his mixture of very recondite language and sometimes blue strains of inferential English we are all familiar with from the street.
It's a strange blend of rhetoric from one whose novel: The Darkness That Comes Before, is caviar for anyone who likes a wordslinging genius with the soul of a poet. In real life, Bakker is in a way the ultimate provincial, a Canadian who lives in western Canada and teaches in an obscure to us college here in Batman's Gotham.
One of the pleasures of R. Scott Bakker's blog might be comparing his lapidary prose in his novels with the swagger and sometimes populist bent of his language, a rhetorical palette no less out to astound the reader with its giddy range of English.
Bakker doesn't offer a whole lot about his personal life except that he can be very contentious at a party; his reflections on contemporary science and ideas have an echo of his raucous conversational style, a blend really vertiginous in its wild oscillation between contemporary and hermetic philosophy and the insinuating and inferential character of vulgar street argot.
One can infer from this blog though Bakker is rarely direct about it that he is a sometimes cantankerous and tendentious genius never loathe to be and flaunt the rare bird that he is.
This blog is particularly valuable since Bakker is a great novelist in a field most people thought had been mined to death even by arch nacral mages many decades ago. In a curious way his blog and his novels converge on examinations of human power, often the central subject of science fantasy. It's nice to know that somebody like Bakker, alive in the upper part of the planet, is netting and sniffing some of the more arcane winds of the world along with these momentary illuminations.
It's significant that Bakker isn't either in his blog or novels rooting himself anywhere in the physical world. He sees himself as many people did after the 60s aa a part of an informal global guild of seekers. The inferential lack of physically defined space in the computer realms certainly mirrors such a vertiginous cognitive sense.<>