Monday, August 03, 2009

The Book of the Blog

At my father’s suggestion, I have begun the arduous task of archiving my blog posts into a single document. All were originally written and saved in Microsoft Word, but by the time they are posted (and often after), many edits have taken place outside of Word. I can either copy them from my blog or go back to the original documents and re-edit them. Although I have chosen the former, more editing is still needed. In addition to correcting the typos and ambiguities that I always find, there are stylistic elements that can improve the form while leaving the substance intact. My goal is to compile many of my musings over the past almost four years into one coherent manuscript; one that might find it’s way to publication at some future date. The more immediate goal is simply to collect these many posts into a package that makes some sense. Whether or not this project will be worthy of submission is a decision that is still a long way out.

So far I have actually converted my first three months of posts (December 2005 to February 2006). I have also included the comments left from others. My original intent was to include everything - every post, every comment. After re-reading not only those I have converted, but also most of the entries from 2006, my plan has changed. For a variety of reasons, there are many posts that are not going to be included and I am thinking I will leave out the comments as well, although neither decision is set in stone. The comments, though public, are personal and many of the posts are no longer (and maybe never were) relevant. Again, this project is nowhere close to being finished and everything is subject to change, but to simply reproduce a “blog” in print seems rather pointless. It is, after all, already right here.

Since starting this blog in December 2005, much has happened in my life and a great deal of it is represented in my writing, some of it in great detail and some in more abstract terms. In every case, I have tried to honestly translate into words and punctuation (and sometimes pictures) the lessons I have learned, the trials, the tribulations, the successes and the not so successful. Early on I was more prolific and more idealistic while my more recent work has appeared less frequently, irregularly and, although still laced with idealism, it is decidedly less so. As I re-remember the circumstances surrounding those older pieces, I see the thoughts I recorded in the moment with a different perspective. It serves to remind me just how far I’ve come… and how far there is left to go.

Some of my work I read with a tinge of embarrassment, wondering what I was thinking when I posted it. Other pieces I am extremely proud of, even with the passage of time. And none of it is “perfect.” But all of it - the good, the bad and the ugly - remains in my archives, though much of it will be left out of anything I submit to a publisher - if and when that day comes. Also, I have been tempted (but so far resisted) to add commentary to many of the pieces written so long ago, but additional reflection will be a likely addition to any “book of the blog” that might spring from this. Mostly I am struck with the contradiction in what I thought would be a relatively easy task and a reality that is much different. I mean… it’s already written, right? True, but it is not complete in its current form – there is much more to do, more editing to be sure, but also much more writing.

At the very least, this will be a compilation of a transformational part of my life that I can leave for my children, their children and the many generations to come. And that alone is enough to motivate me. If it appeals to a larger audience, so be it, but the benefit is not necessarily one of monetary gain, but one that pays far greater dividends. Although mine is a story of tragedy and triumph, I am not unique – many have overcome much more and everyone in his or her own way has had demons to face. This is simply the documentation of my experience, if it helps just one other person through to the other side, it has served its purpose.

4 comments:

lynne121698 said...

that's the kinda shit that makes crazy peeps, like me, think I might have something worth writting about...thanks a lot MIKE!
just keep posting, writting, blogging....oh whatever this is you do...I have actually started drawing after 15 years because of this freakin' 25 year plan

elle said...

what an awesome concept. I have been reading backwards through blog posts of my own lately and reflecting on where I am and where I have been, and while my posts are way too sketch-like to be polished into book form, yours have the clean edges and relate-ability to do well. I wish you nothing but luck in this venture- whatever it ends up being!

Kim Williams said...

great project and no matter where it leads, a profound journey to take.

of course, now i'm thinking about all that i have written since my first blog post in 2002...

Steve Cary said...

Michael, I think it's a wonderful idea. I personally caution against further editing of past writings. Your writing style has developed over the years, as have your topics, insights and clearly you as a person.

The subtext, for me, of a book of a blog would be the personal, idealistic and spiritual development of the author. By reworking the earlier posts to fit the man and the writer you are today, it removes the ability for the reader to watch your progression. Again, just my thoughts. Of course I've always preferred to read rough drafts because I feel I get closer to the writers true intention.