Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘blog’

To blog or not to blog?

In Photography, Technology, Writers, Writing on March 17, 2012 at 5:53 am

I should clear up something I said in a previous post. I think I was disparaging toward my friends in the blogging community.

I went off on a rant regarding the word blog (and by inference blogging and blogger). I am sensitive to words and how they are used, even to what they look like. The word “impactful,” as an example. I simply cannot accept that word or its usage. I even think it is visually an ugly word. Like, I don’t need to go into details, like do I?

It’s not just the written word. Several spoken phrases in common currency drive me nuts. For instance: “It’s all good,” “reach-out” and “Everything happens for a reason.” Any of one of these will send me running, ears covered. It’s not all good, obviously. And please, call me or write me, but don’t “reach out” to me. You’re not Frankenstein’s monster. Everything happens for a reason? So…is karma the reason behind everything? Or perhaps a fore-ordained plan about which we are witless? (Interestingly, in my experience most of the folks using this phrase also, incongruously, claim they have free will. ) See how easily I can be set off? The word “blog” has the same effect.

Leaving aside my proclivities regarding things under my skin, I must release old discriminations. Blogging, the word and the activity, is here to stay. The question of writing vis-a-vie blogging is an inconsequential battle being waged nowhere but in my head. (If the battles in my head were only understood clearly…but that is another matter.) I confess that I’m an old-school elitist. It’s a mantle I can’t seem to shake. Elitism is haughty and snarky. Who needs that? The older I get, the less attractive is that position. (Maybe it works for a younger man, firm in his opinions, but maturity can wear away such sharp corners–or polish them to a razor edge, depending on the direction in which you choose to focus effort.)

I am certain Montaigne, a personal hero and influence, would have embraced the forum–blogging–and that is good enough for me. This is not just my opinion. Sarah Blackwell, Montaigne’s most recent biographer, commented in the Paris Review that, “Bloggers might be surprised to hear that they are keeping alive a tradition created more than four centuries ago.” Blackwell’s piece, appropriately, was titled “What Bloggers Owe Montaigne.” (I reviewed her Montaigne book, How to Live, last year.)

If I am sounding a little defensive, it is because I am feeling defensive–a little. The blogger-writer question for me is analogous to what has occurred in photography. It once was that only photographers had cameras. Now we all have cameras. That does not make us all photographers. Nor does having a blog necessarily make one a writer. That was my original train of thought. But as so often is the case, the train took the wrong track and ended up at the wrong station.

As I re-read this, I note that I settle no claim here, resolved nothing but to exercise my outcry. Regardless, I believe Montaigne would approve.

Thanks for reading.

What the Hell?

In Business, Reading on June 11, 2006 at 7:33 pm


When I die does this blog die with me? Or, rather, does a bit of it, like a clipped toe nail forgotten on the tile floor, remain indefinitely until someone comes along and cleans it up: “Yep, he’s gone. Better clean this mess.” I was in Paris only five days, but guess philosophy is in the water–that at least is what they would have you think; as they must think stupid is in American water. (An easy assumption to make of a place where the bread is so bad by comparison.)

By What the hell? I mean what the hell have I been doing since February when I last posted to this sorry excuse for a blogg. As I said, I’ve been to Paris, also Maine, where I fulfilled a life-long dream to buy a house on the coast, a condo properly, but on the coast nonetheless, at least until the ice cap melts it gone, which might be any damn hour. It was E.B. White that set me on this path years ago, writing: “Once in everyone’s life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep. I think of those five years in Maine as the time when this happened to me.”

Reading too, since I last posted, figuring that first I am a reader, then everything else, getting hooked on a Peguin Editor’s list of the Great Books of the 20th Century, being a big fan of lists and an advocate of self-improvement (believing that literature can accomplish such a thing!). Twenty books total, only six of which I’ve read previously:

Heart of Darkness (Conrad),

Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez),

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joyce),

Women in Love (Lawrence);

So I’ve knocked off Dellio’s White Noise, which though wonderful and brilliant, seems debatable as one of the greats, but time will tell, and now, to the west coast and back again, On the Road, with Jack Kerouac. (In between, filling in three hours at Allie’s graduation, with Roth’s new novel, Everyman–thank god for college book stores open on graduation day.)

Also, since February, grinding halfway through 100 Gentlemen of Baltimore, the book project I have set upon, a collection of 100 portraits and interviews with 100 men living on the streets of Baltimore, where it is estimated the homeless population is between 3000 and 5000; a project which keeps a camera at my side and sharpens the tools of this Bodhisattva wanna-be.

And next? Next is this afternoon, sitting quietly with books at my elbow and faithful Maggie snoring as her sun-beam shifts and me working hard to remember that next is now.