Friday, December 17, 2004

And Speaking of "Still Here"...

This blog just finished it's third year of existence. Three years ago today, I wrote my first post in what has become perhaps the most important writing experience of my life... if not the most important, then second only to the discovery, after attempting to write a novel one summer, that I would never be a writer until I went to college and learned where to put apostrophes and how to use a semicolon.

I have learned a great deal about myself these last three years. I've remembered things that I'd thought were forgotten about my grim childhood and my grotesque adolescence and my drunken young-adulthood. I've worked out long-standing issues simply by writing them down where others can read them. I've begun to explore and throw light on the deepest darkest pits of my psyche in this forum, and have received love and support from a community of unexpected friends, many of whome I've never actually laid eyes on, and very few of whom I would ever have had a chance to know otherwise.

I have learned even more about writing. I've discovered that honesty really matters in the gist, not in the details, and that fudging a detail for the sake of the narrative is not only allowable, it is often necessary... for as delicious as details can be, they can distract from the real truth of the story; yet if you fudge on the meaning of the details, if you replace details in order to save face or to redirect attention (rather than to make a sentence flow better or to obviate reams of backup description), you lose the truth of what you were trying to say.

I have learned how to better engage an audience with my writing, and also learned that there's no point in having an audience if it is not your own voice that you use... for it is an easy pitfall to disguise one's own voice to make it more accessible, but if in so doing you also disguise yourself and lose your own truth, it was a pointless bargain (like one of those Twilight Zone episodes with the patented Ironic Twists, such as the guy who survives a holocaust in a library and has endless years to read in peace, then breaks his glasses; or the guy who wishes for immortality and kills his wife in order to experience the electric chair, then ends up with a life sentence in prison).

So, Happy Birthday to Mannersism; here's to many happy returns of the day. And this time, I'm not going to promise to redesign the site. I might someday do it, I might even move to another domain-name someday, as I have been thinking of doing for quite a while (the unexpected difficulty of making people understand that there are two esses in Mannersism has been unspeakably annoying), I'm done with making promises that I may or may not keep.

If you're one of those types who likes to see things evolve (as I am), why not have a tiptoe through my Archives to see how I have developed over the last three years? I will be doing so this weekend, too.

But before I go, I want to take a moment to thank Philo for getting me started on this thing. I owe a debt of gratitude that can never be sufficiently repaid.

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