Wednesday, June 15, 2005

On Blogging

And here we have yet another self-referential post from the blogger who, in his previous post, had suggested that this blog is not really about himself. :)

In comments to my previous post, Pam poses two interesting questions, "Are a person's thoughts and ideas any less a reflection of them than their personality and biographical details? What does it mean to get to "know" someone through blogland?"

Man, I certainly hope that my thoughts are ideas aren't necessarily a reflection of me as a person. Or do I? I imagine that the more profound response would be that this blog represents a side of me that many people who know me in person might not know -- energetic, bold, opinionated, sincere, passionate, and at least trying to be witty/funny. About Asian American poetry, and perhaps I'm suggesting about life as well.

This blog is almost a wish-fulfillment blog in the sense that I, the blogger, am becoming someone I want to become and at the same time am a bit frightened of becoming. As I noted in the previous post, I am performing as commentator and critic. I am also creating a persona that I'd claimed didn't represent the real person.

But Pam was right to call me out on this one. Because being a "performer," "commenter," "critic" -- regardless of what I want to call myself -- is at least partly a representation of self. My thoughts and ideas, and the way I phrase them in writing, are at least partly a representation of who I essentally am. On balance, I still feel that my biographical details and personality in person are probably more indicative of me as a person, but that is open to debate. And it's an important debate for poets and anyone interested in poetry to have, I think, because it deals with the whole language of the poetry vs. person of the poet question. It is also an interesting issue for any writer of any stripe to contemplate as well.

So, in answer to the second question, I concede that people who read this blog, whether I want them to or not, do at least "know" a part of me. I'm not at all sure if I like that or not -- at least through this particular blog on Asian American poetry. That is, some people who may like me in person may be turned off by some of the opinions on this blog. But then again, some people who may have never known me in any way may like me through this blog as well. I guess it's not that much different from real life -- chance remarks, innuendos, glances, etc. can draw us towards, or repel us from, different people. The hope is that they draw much more than repel, but it's hard to figure out sometimes.


Blogger pam said...

hey Roger,

Good thoughts. It occurs to me that yours is one of the few blogs I read that is set up for an intentional (and public) community, one composed of people you might not already know personally. A lot of the other poet-bloggers I read started their blogging as an online extension of the social/literary scenes (SF or NYC, e.g.) they were already involved in physically. So a lot of these bloggers were already friends, or at least known to one another on some personal level, before they started developing their blog personas. This seems really different from what you are trying to do. I see your blog as trying to set up a public forum for discussing issues and ideas that you probably aren't getting enough of in everyday life. And for expanding this discussion into the public sphere. In this sense you've got the added challenge of starting off cold, starting off right from the bat as an already public persona. So I can imagine this brings up all sorts of issues about what kinds of private vs. public aspects of your persona you want to present up here.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

"I see your blog as trying to set up a public forum for discussing issues and ideas that you probably aren't getting enough of in everyday life. And for expanding this discussion into the public sphere."

Yes, that's it! Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! :)

Seriously, though, I do feel like my public blog voice is at least somewhat different from my in-real-life voice, phone voice, e-mail voice, or even my comments voice.

6:59 PM  

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