Instead of ‘now vs. then,’ different ‘nows’ — this now vs. that now

I grant that I have this new publishing approach that I like. That doesn’t mean I should judge others for not having this idea. But after I blogged last night, I thought of a way to explain, a simple way to explain, what I like about blogging just bits of my journal — and not introducing them as journal bits (which is a newer thing — not putting “journal” in the post title, but only at the very end, where I cite it kinda as a Works Cited source). Instead of thinking about moments as “now vs. then” (where “then” could refer to future or past, expected or prior (in the sequence) moments) — instead of that, think of “different nows” — this now vs. that now. Since we live (are alive) only now, we can’t live through — experience — a “then” moment, not directly.  “Then” is an abstraction, verging on story, that arbitrary construct. …

And this “different nows” is subtle but it’s the key, I think, behind why (as to why) I like my publishing of bits — a paragraph or so, each idea as roughly paragraph-length.

I like my publishing of bits from journals because each bit was written at/during a “now” — and so, different writings in any (all) journals pages are just the product of different nows.  … Royko writing his columns at different times, those are writings written for others within a historical (political, cultural, societal) context, written for the moment. And they don’t have much shelf life past the moment. They are merely historical documents. But because I’m not writing to an audience — I’m writing journals to a readership of one (of me) — well, then, it’s ever-present. I think something and then I write it. My ideas are fresh from my mind, and meant to be read only by my mind, at nearly the same time as I think them. I’m not thinking about when my audience will read my column — today, next week, tomorrow, whatever, So since I’m not in time, I’m timeless. I’m not writing to or for any moment but the very present moment, the now, and so somehow the texts seem alive to the reading moment of years later.

Of course, my journal texts are also historical documents. If you look at the date, the text is what I wrote on that date. By extension, it’s what I thought about on that date, and I couldn’t have known then what would happen next. So I do cite date and journal and page at the bottom of my text-selection.

I haven’t gotten feedback from M or Mom or Doug or readers making comments. I’m going on my own interpretation and adjudication. But also, I don’t seem to require others’ feedback. I’m not making a carving that’s smoothed for the public. What I’m making has some sharp edges, and that’s OK. You can touch my sculpture (as an image-metaphor for my blogs of journal bits), but carefully, mindfully, attentively.

And I wondered just now if I were feeling I had to defend myself and my project — nope. Sure, I am publishing these, making these publicly available, but I’m not promoting them. I’m not saying people should come read these. I’m not Disneyland, creating something thrilling (pandering to those who like speeds, scares, through roller coasters, which is most people) and safe (no real risk in riding a roller coaster) — or, there is real risk — ride could break — but the roller coaster marketers want to downplay that, make people feel safe.

I feel I could talk more about my blogs of journal bits — how I’m both putting particular flavor, concerns, specificity into an ostensibly dull, monolithic adulthood experience — and I’m capturing some kind of subtle-but-interesting ideas, interesting not in the history of human experience (or of human written-about experience) but interesting in a subtle way. Maybe my written-in-the-now blog posts also draw readers’ attention to their own present (in that my blog posts are subtly weird, that I’m not participating with new entries in familiar forms, like the one-panel meme is a form, like the op-ed column is a familiar form).

[From journal of Sat., 18 April 2020, Journal 321, page 157-160]

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