Originally uploaded by skron.
What an interesting prompt. The strange thing is that the two things I am doing right now, blogging and taking pictures could cause this to happen. How so? They both make you observe your life through a lens of sorts.
Sometimes that lens sharpens things. For example, I have been thinking of late that I notice the structure of the world more since I have been taking more photographs. For example the shapes that tree branches take, especially now that the leaves are nearly fallen and the branches emerge more starkly. Today I drove through a part of Chicago only a few blocks from my home, but one I didn’t know well. I saw some lovely old homes and an interesting out-door art exhibit I had no idea existed.
On the other hand, if one looks too long through a lens, one may forget to join in on the action. At a party, the camera is an excuse not to interact. On a vacation one can forget to participate. For example, on a diving vacation I took years ago (before kids prevented this sort of play from happening), someone on our dive boat spent so much time with his video camera, he seemed to forget why he was there. He was so busy staging memories that during one dive outing he made us reenter the water because his first shot had failed. In the evening he wanted us to sit around and review the day on film.
Blogging, too, can make one self-conscious. Instead of reading an article, I am analyzing it for its bloggability. Not to mention the addictive quality that blogging can have. It is not just the time spent writing, which may after all be time well-spent, but the time spent surfing other blogs, responding to comments, and trying to drum up readers. Shouldn’t I be sleeping right now? I have been on-line so much of late that my right hand is getting tendonitis.
It is strange too, the dilemmas that blogging raises. There are issues of privacy. I shouldn’t write things that might shame my family members. I shouldn’t talk too openly about my work so as not to violate the privacy of my patients. And I may mention things in my blog that I may not choose to share with my patients, although I have no illusions about privacy on the web. In a way my blog is an alter ego that I share only with strangers. When I chat with other bloggers on-line am I living my own life or a fictitious one?
Nonetheless, Freud would have honored a life well-examined and blogging does fit that role. Writing is a dream I have had since I wrote my first story at the age of 5 or 6 (complete with illustrations). If this isn’t just a passing fad for me, it may help me develop a part of myself that might otherwise have been suppressed.So if I am a passenger, I am also the pilot of this vessel.
Quotation is from Diane Ackerman--and no I haven't read her stuff. But it should be on my "to read some day" list.