I’ve always been adamant that I am not a blogger. “You have a blog, right?" “I have a website where I write about music but it’s not a blog really. It’s more of an online magazine. There’s no commenting, the articles are longer, I try to think them out more.” ”Hmm…Ok.”.
For at least three years I’ve considered writing a piece for my website titled “Erasingclouds is NOT a Blog”, but every time I started thinking it out it seemed too bitter, too anachronistic, too narcissistic. Besides, since I’ve managed to update the site only a handful of times during the last two years, why would anyone want to hear my thought process on what I’m not doing? Just do the thing, for chrissakes.
My main issue with music blogs is that I’ve read too many (most of them, it sometimes seems) that just put up a links to a song and write a few not especially thoughtful sentences about it. I also collapse the rise of blogs together with some general negative trends I see in music writing: listening to an album just once or twice before writing about it, focusing exclusively on finding the newest thing (and then forgetting about it a year later, when it’s no longer the newest), not taking the time to understand the historical context for music before making declarative statements about it, not listening closely enough, and getting too swayed by hype/buzz/trends.
Yet I hate being the old curmudgeon. It doesn’t suit me. And here I am, setting aside my precious “magazine” for a while and starting a cursed blog. Instead of standing on some ethical high ground against the blog format, I’m embracing it. Why? It seems like a no-brainer right now. I don’t have as much time as I want for writing, and it’s a format that allows for not having much time, since it privileges brevity and spontaneity. The lack of free time I feel in life is partly related to being a parent of a two-year-old, partly to increased responsibilities at my job, partly to being a home owner and partly some mysterious disappearance of time that I can never rationalize or grab hold of.
As a Christmas gift I received a book by a French food scientist/writer named Edouard DePomiane. The book is titled Cooking in 10 Minutes or The Adaptation to the Rhythm of Our Time. It was first published in 1930. I love the second half of that title; it resonates with me. I feel like life is moving fast. I don’t think people have time to read long articles about music on the Internet. I still gladly write them for another website, but I don’t have the time to write them in more than one place. And I definitely don’t have time to write them about all or most (or even a respectable share) of the hundreds of new albums I hear each year.
I need to plan less, do more. The Internet seems all about that right now, so I’m adapting to keep pace with the rhythm of our time.
I’m still old-fashioned. I miss seeing films on film. I miss taking photos on film. I wish I wrote more letters and put them in the mail. I subscribe to magazines. I walk out to my front yard every morning and pick up my newspaper. I own, and buy, records, cassettes and CDs. I have a landline phone. I read books printed on paper, and I hope to one day write one. With that hope I place all of the big, unfulfilled ideas I have for articles and article series – everything I imagined I was doing with my website but never did, or only did halfway.
Meanwhile, on this blog I’ll be doing my best to track my year in music, 2013, in all the directions that goes. I’ll be making up for all the times last year where I meant to write about a great album and never did. I’ll be indulging my interest of the moment, new or old. Above all else, I’ll be writing more often. I’ll be keeping things flowing. I won’t be disappearing for months. I won’t over-analyze my next move. I’ll be a blogger -- figuring out what that means to me and whether I can live with it.
I’m excited about this right now. I tell you, it's not going to be the hippest or snazziest blog, but it is going to have a lot of ideas, it is going to go all over the place (music-wise), and I am going to have fun writing it. At the start of DePomiane’s book, he writes this, and I feel similarly:
“First of all I must tell you that this is a lovely book, because I have only got as far as the first page. I have just sat down to write. I am happy, with the happiness of beginning a fresh task.”