Saturday, May 10, 2008


Being now back from America, I wonder now if it is too late to write about my time there.

I shall try. But not in this entry.

The below is perhaps something I 'should' not have written.

Recently a friend commented that my posts tend to be unstructured, and too absorbed in the mere presentation of the workings of my psyche; of interest, no doubt, to me (this is true) but not really, in his estimation, to the general reader. He even summoned up the analogy of a man talking to himself on a bus to represent why I may not be of much appeal.

This has discouraged me and made me wonder that this may be the reason, rather than just bad luck or cosmic injustice, why I get far fewer comments than he does (yes, I know, it remains to be argued why quantity of comments necessarily signifies much anyway). He even suggested that I might find it difficult to change, which led me to wonder whether he felt that I should give up the whole blogging enterprise. Maybe I will.

I am thinking that the context in which to situate his reaction involves two questions. First, is he correct in saying I am unstructured, and very self-absorbed, or self-revolving. Second, if he is correct, does this matter? This second question implies, for me, the related question: am I boring as a writer, especially to those who don't know me from my personal life.

Ultimately, the practical corollary of this is: Should I change, and if so how should I justify this to myself in terms other than that I have merely submitted to his critique?

It is an awkward, slightly painful issue. I have always had difficulty accepting criticism. I don’t know why. Maybe it is a response to a perceived lack of needed love. Or maybe it’s because I am grossly narcissistic and imperialistic, as it were, Caligula to anyone who would question my self-imagined glory (yet this would not be an answer in-itself, but must be explained at a deeper psychological level). For some reason, I am inclined to identity a focussed criticism of some aspect of my existence with its entire refutation; a defensive all-or-nothing engagement with my critic that can leave me struggling for my life. Presumably, this would be put down to some kind of core ontological insecurity.

Often I go on the offensive, which is probably extremely annoying to my critic. I sometimes want to get the critic to examine the basis or bases of his criticism such that he might then question it or even withdraw it. This won’t necessarily mean that I denied all validity to what he said but is I think an attempt to abridge the abyss of separation that I often note arising when a critic resorts to pass judgement.

Oh well, I told him I might try to be more objective, but I wonder if I do this how this blog might start to become less and less mine and more that of an abstracted, fictional persona; you know, the kind we use to write academic essays, or to write to relatives out of duty, or to the bank manager.

I suppose as in much, the answer between internal and external, subjective and objective, personal and public, is balance.

What do I know, apart from that 2+2 is 4 (because of the rules implicit in the terms we use).


Anonymous said...

i wouldn't attach too much important to the number of comments. It's not the best guide to how many readers you have. Better to get a sitemeter or statcounter - they're free and easy to apply, and it can get quite addictive seeing the weird places people are reading your blog from.

May said...

1. Why should you care about what a single person says?

2. Have you noticed that the most popular literary blogs hardly get any comments?