Community, Confessions, and Cyberspace
We’ve discussed this in my writer’s group – the wave of confessional poetry in the 60s and 70s as the personal became the political, and the glut these days of memoirs – some written by hip people in their 30s and which comprise really just a collection of witty and well-written bits – yet make no larger connection to the world and so leave me with a “so what?” and others by folks who have “important” stories to tell – have stories that do connect to larger issues in life, yet the stories fail on some level because they are not well-written.
Back to confessional poetry – or poetry that can smack of sentiment (as in my just-moments-ago I Dreamt of You post and past Charlie Poems posts). My concern is that though it’s often important for me to work out “issues” and feelings through my writing, can the work appeal to a larger audience – or rather – an audience? (And there's another issue - who is the audience in Cyberspace?) In some way, can I transform what is for me a very personal experience – and yet one that is also universal in its truth and reality – into a piece that connects on a deeper level with a reader – that becomes art – not just narcissist revelation? I think I often fail in that endeavor – half of what I write I never post. And I think even in what I post, I often fail to move beyond the self-centered and into a world that shares humanity in a fresh or compelling way. There’s a difference between wearing your heart on your sleeve and moaning, wailing, revealing your angst just to reveal it and creating a common and beautifully expressed capsule of the experience for others to share and connect to.
Oh what am I saying in these tortured sentences? I post my work – my poems, my social critiques – in cyberspace as part of a blogging community but is it really a community? Who comes by to call? Who responds? I check out other blogs and sometimes comment and then check back –and perhaps a conversation gets going – a back-and-forth dialogue embedded in the comments on someone’s particular post. But is this a real community? I might check out someone who has posted on my blog, or who has commented on a blog I visit – poke about and see – who are they? But do I know? Can you tell? Because I write and advocate for writing as a way of thinking, learning, sharing, connecting, I should be able to say – YES! Words reveal who you are and join you to a larger community – but I am not sure that is so. I am not so sure that blogging democratizes writing (nor am I sure I want writing to be democratized – hmmm – there’s a topic for a whole piece, eh?) or builds bridges between worlds or collaboratively constructs knowledge and understanding.
This post makes no sense, rambles and loops back on its self, yet I’ll release it out into the void nonetheless.