Blog Field Reports: A Proposal
The blogs I read are often riffing on other blogs, and I've been swirling around the Blog Circuit of late trying, among other things, to get a sense of the larger conversations people are having.
Most times I'm witness to only half of it. I don't follow links that often (though I probably should), and so I miss out on what the other half said. Sometimes three or four are in on the joke, and the blog obviously continues a conversation, or picks up on a theme, first introduced elsewhere, at a reading, for example. I should perhaps get on the road more often, too.
An appeal from a lonely blogger? Hardly.
In my travels around the Blog Circuit (by the way, I'm a big fan of back-channel contact and link exchange, so please let me know if I haven't seen your blog and should), I've started to pay closer attention not just to what people are writing (always interesting) but also to the emerging and developing themes and conditions of each domain. In some cases, bloggers act deliberately. In others, themes and conditions emerge slowly and, perhaps, accidently, and the blogging basically generates its own unique ecosystem.
I think it's time for these themes and conditions (maybe predilections, approaches, guises, tropes, values, forms, etc.) to be documented in some way, pressed into the record.
Things change (proof of that right here), but I do think many in the Circuit (and elsewhere) have invested broadly in setting up -- or at least nurturing -- a certain *regime* for their blogs, making choices that reveal likes, dislikes, and sensibilities.
More importantly, a sense-of-things emerges that becomes particularized, specialized, the mark maybe of a given literary activity really only possible within a given blog domain as assembled by its assembler.
So what's the proposal? A series of "field reports" documenting blog works to be written this summer by anyone interested, then collected somehow (print or web, which I'll take care of) for some form of distribution.
The analog of course would be the book review, although in this case the last pages of these "books" have not been written, time is an uncertain variable, and conventional authoring functions both are and are not relevant. Getting "around" each blog for something like a review would in effect be one of the challenges.
And clearly, just what a blog "field report" might look like is indeed part of the experiment, the game. We'll figure out the rules (and the outcome, the object) as we go along. To start: I personally don't want to theorize individual blogs so much as document their uses over time in relation to a set of emerging themes or approaches or questions.
For example, why is Ernesto never neutral? What has Fait Accompli accomplished over the last few months? Why does Jism, well, do just that? Define prrrowess. What does it take to Nether? Why do we need a well-nourished moon?
I'd like to do a few of these myself, obviously, but I thought I'd throw it out here in advance to see if there are others beginning to get interested in the way smaller pieces fit into larger puzzles.
So, consider this a call to all would-be blog field reporters. Contact me back-channel with questions or concerns, or just starting writing and we'll take it from there.