Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Blog Is Not A Book

To define what a blog is, it might be best to first determine what a blog is not. A blog is not a book. It is not a comic book, a magazine, or a novel. It is not a ‘zine, or a journal, or a diary. But it can be all of those.

A blog can host pictures, though I’m still learning how. (And why, exactly?) It can contain music, provided by an outside audio distribution platform like SoundCloud or ­­­­ReverbNation, and even short films and videos from YouTube and QuickTime, I think.

The limits are very few.

But you cannot cuddle up on your couch with a blog. Well, unless you have one of those tablet PC’s. Or one of those smart phones that you actually need to squint or wear glasses to see.

Recently the frequency of my blogging has been extreme. When I started this I had this mad need to get my whole Chapbook published as quick as possible. But I wanted to stretch it out a bit, and so only published one a day, four or five times a week, until I had all 27 poems on line.

But now that I’ve finished, I wonder what exactly I will do with this blog.

It came to me while watching the Facebook movie that a blog is actually a legitimate means of selfpublishing. The Mark Zuckerbeg character had this blog that he was working on while simultaneously creating his first version of the Facebook for Harvard. (Great scene where the twin-fratboys are amazed and pissed at how he could create this thing all in one night, all while ripping into his ex- on a blog. “A guy who builds a nice chair doesn’t owe money to everyone who ever has built a chair.”)

Publish or die, the mantra that was instilled in me under Chris Fink’s tutelage while at San Jose State. A blog could be just as vital for me. Sort of like those punk rock ‘zines from the 80’s and 90’s. Or like the underground comix of R. Crumb and H. Kurtzman, the early MAD Magazines, or Frank Kozik and Charles Bukowski, lowbrow fiction and poetry – Keep on Truckin’. The counterculture stuff. The Grateful Dead. And that punk rock attitude, do it yourself. There’s nobody to stop me from publishing a blog … except me.

And so I did it.

I figure, a blog takes the best of DIY publishing and marries it to the technology of the 21st Century. And now that its no longer fashionable, not like 10 years ago when it seemed like everyone had a blog, it seems to me like something I could really get into!

But man, there’s some awful blogs out there. Some blogs you read, they have their daily post, their weekly post, whatever, and all it is is some fortune cookie philosophy or some bumpersticker quote – Save the Whales, or This is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life. Or some droll like that. Or a picture of a dead Osama bin Laden. Whoopee … can’t you just post that to your Facebook page? Why waste a whole blog to show that, to say that? Was it necessary? Who did it help?

Not that I want my blog to be the next Ulysses – or even in the same league with Bukowski and R. Crumb. But I do not want to let it descend into some superficial ego-feeding thing that could just as easily become my next fb status. And I do not want it to become an on-line diary so some nutcase from Rochester can follow what I had for breakfast and what I did over the weekend and what my kids are up to. That’s not what this is for.

And now I’ve gone back to defining what my blog is by defining what it is not.

Droll …

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