Dear Reader

Sich Auskotzen
Sich Auskotzen, Berlin, 2010

I just read an article on Wikipedia about something called hypergraphia. It means an overwhelming urge to write. I don't think I'd quite qualify—and, in fact, I think it says something about our society that there is such a diagnosis.

Nevertheless, I do have an urge to write. I've been trying to make sense of that urge.

First and foremost, I write to make sense of my own thoughts and feelings. I deal with painful stuff by writing about it. I deal with pleasurable stuff by writing about it. If I'm trying to learn something new, I write down whatever it is I think I've learned. When it comes to pain and pleasure, writing helps me face whatever it is, make sense of it, and eventually let it go and move on. When it comes to things I'm interested in, I find that I only really learn anything once I try to explain it to someone else—by writing it down.

Writing online has been a part of my life since the early 1990's. Since then, I've been active in four on-line communities. I eventually drifted off each of them. As of this writing, I'm without one. That makes this blog the main outlet for my urge to write.

Yet, I've never been able to write without having someone or something in mind to write for. I have attempted diaries, but they always peter out in a few days. There's a lot of stuff sitting around my computer and even some cardboard boxes somewhere, but even that has always been written for somebody. I enjoyed writing essays at school as much as I enjoyed writing letters, or posts at an Internet forum, or my old photography website, or now this blog.

My relationship with the social aspect of writing is conflicted. I need someone to write for, yet I resent the feeling of pressure that inevitably comes with it. Without someone to write to, or for, writing feels pointless and masturbatory; there's no focus, no structure to shape my words around. Yet, at the same time, any real public puts pressure on me. I feel like I should write what I imagine they want to read, avoid writing things I imagine they don't want to read. I hate that feeling, and it brings out the worst in me. I don't want write in a vacuum, nor do I want to write in order to get readers, or only to entertain the readers I may have. So I try to find a balance. Put another way, I try to minimize the attachments that come with writing for a public.

Ultimately, I don't really know what I want to do with this blog, beyond having it serve as an outlet for my urge to write. I do know that I enjoy connecting with people with whom I find the same wavelength, even if they have the poor taste to hold opinions different from mine. I guess that would make it a secondary goal of mine. Beyond that, I have no idea. Not much of a mission statement, this, but that's the best I can do.

If you've read this far, welcome. If you find what you see here interesting, great. If not, thanks for passing by, and best wishes finding whatever it is you're looking for, both here and in life in general.

That is all.

6 comments:

  1. I am a big fan of your intricate writing especially around photography and your old photography related site is a gem. It's a little disheartening to see that you are no more writing on that site any more.
    I usually don't get provoked to subscribe to RSS of personal blogs but the details in your writing have made me an immediate fan.
    I live currently in Tampere. Hopefully someday would be nice to catch up on your thoughts in person over a coffee or a drink.

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  2. Interesting thoughts on writing - I can relate to the conflict between writing for yourself and writing for a perceived audience. Writing certainly can provide that door to be able to find people on a similar wavelegnth - something I've always found quite difficult. Keep on writing!

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  3. cant find a regular email address for you anywhere here or at Pontifications where I came from having Googled for 'film grain filter'.
    Just to say
    Thanks for your download & all the info - my jaw did hit the floor having set 'overlay'.

    sincerely BP

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  4. I just discovered your blog via your photography website, via a post by a friend on FB... and reading what you have wrote, not only here, but also in your blog posts and in your 'about me' section was an interesting experience: not only were we born in the same country, we speak the same amount of languages, have travelled extensively but we also share this strange urge to write that finds itself stuck between the need for a public and the need for a sense of freedom in what is expected/desired by this "imaginary" audience we need to write to.

    It's refreshing to read all of this from another person's perspective. I just jotted down these few lines as a way to say thank you. Thank you for writing and for sharing your thoughts... it all makes me feel a little more 'normal' - if that is anything one is ever to wish to feel like ;)
    There seems to be a certain sense of comfort in knowing one is not alone in this vast world filled with endless kinds of minds, desires, hopes, dreams and fears.

    Wishing you all the best, and much more,
    Julia

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  5. Julia, thank you. That was deeply touching. Thank you for taking the time and thought to write it.

    I wish you and yours all the best as well.

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  6. Today I visited your photography site and, while I didn't read a lot of it yet, I really like it! Your how-tos and lessons are very interesting! I consider myself somewhat smart when it comes to photo-theory :) but your site gives a lot of theoretical/practical information, knowledge that comes from experience (for example your article "The faithful 50") and nice background stuff (like about the Summicron/Summilux story) that I didn't know before. I think I can learn a lot from it and that I will be inspired by it. Thanks!

    Dirk

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