Mon, 21, May 2001 09:05:00 PM

by Charles Miller on May 21, 2001

Charles Notes, a year later: (This makes less sense now it's been transferred from LJ to my weblog :) )

This post is a distillation of a lot of conversations I've had over the past few months, and a couple of comments I made in other peoples journals, and it's about why I'm really not a journal kind of guy. It might turn out to be rather long. I'm not going to use lj-cut though, because damnit this is not a blog. You don't get a teaser. You either get the whole thing or nothing at all.

I've known for a very long time that I'm not the sort of person who keeps a journal in private. Every previous attempt has lasted approximately one week, filling a few pages of the year-sized book that was bought for that pages, and then vanishing into the bottom of a desk drawer or cardboard box. When I was fifteen, it was a requirement of the high-school English class I was in to keep a journal, at least three pages of an exercise book per week. The teacher wouldn't read them, of course, he'd just glance over to make sure you had filled in three pages, and sign the top of the last one so he'd know where to look next week.

It's amazing how quickly you can write three pages of meaningless stream-of-consciousness nonsense. A friend of mine just used to write random words, but it's a lot easier to pick random words while glancing - language has very obvious patterns.

It was about the same time in my life that I realised I was not a poet. I've written a few poems that were better than average, but when it comes to poetry, better-than-average is still crap. There's a parallel here, I think - just as a lot of people I know online are journallers, a lot are amateur poets. Since there's only really one person online whose poetry I've liked, and far too many that I've had to cringe at, I much prefer being subjected to the journals. [I'm getting ahead of myself, I think...]

Even more disastrous is my public journalling. Because since people can see it, I occasionally get guilty and feel I have to write something. This is stupid, because there are only two reasons I have this LJ account:

  1. So I can read friends-only posts in other peoples journals.
  2. It's free. (You have a right to be annoyed that an early-adopter is wasting his account like this)

So why don't I journal? I love writing, I love sharing little bits of thoughts I have with other people. What I don't like, is sharing bits of myself. I am a very closed individual. I know that a lot of the time I annoy, or even hurt people who love me because I just don't talk about what's going on in my life unless I really desperately need to reach out. I hold my cards very close to my chest, and a lot of the time I don't know why I do. Maybe I'm convinced my life isn't interesting enough. Maybe I'm scared of being judged. Maybe I just can't be bothered. Probably all three and more.

I think that's the difference between the writing I do here, and the writing I do there. A journal is sequential, and focused on the writer. I prefer it when the writing ends up in an amorphous cloud, where the question is "what it's about", rather than "who it's about". It's the difference between writing a diary, and writing a column. Some of the things I write may be personal, but I don't want to write about me, I want to write about stuff that isn't me, just from my perspective.

I guess I could do that in lj, but the context is just all wrong. People come to a journal looking for a way into the person who is writing it. It's a highly personal medium, it doesn't foster detachment.

I like detachment

I woke up this morning with a bad hangover, and my ego was missing again. This happens all the time, it's detachable.

You know, the music thing needs to be expanded - I mean, I listened to about ten songs over the course of getting this written, and I have to choose one of them.

Previously: Thu, 03, May 2001 01:02:00 PM

Next: Thu, 24, May 2001 11:38:00 PM