What’s a blog to do when it’s lived with itself for too long?
Bottledworder began on an impulse as a first attempt at blogging with plenty of enthusiasm, some talent but little idea of the possibilities and limitations of the blogosphere.
Despite having read vast amounts of material on the internet and having much knowledge of writing, I must confess, from the perspective of what I know now, that my approach to blogging at the beginning was rather bookish.
The Bookish Approach
I thought blogging was going to be a one way street.
I thought I would write, people would read. I would have my fare on display and people would either be dazzled or say meh and move on. I would present material, I would organize posts, I would guide readers so that my best material was most easily accessible as it would be in a book. All I needed to do was to make it easy for the reader.
I’d decide what was best and I’d decide how to hold my reader’s hand.
The predetermined reverse chronological order of blogs did present a challenge to this approach but I was sure I’d work out the details.
My Old Theme
The themes I gravitated towards then tended to be somewhat minimalistic and static in their display. Because of my personal preference, they also tended to have less sharp angles, more pastel shades, less contrast colours and fewer distractions of images, widgets, moving sliders or haphazard boxes and shapes strewn across the screen.
I thought this would be best for my usually reflective prose.
So the theme I chose was Coraline and I stuck with it.
When I think about what I did then now, I feel like the way I dressed the blog was the screen equivalent of a rather particular little girl dressed in a white, crisp dress with blue satin sashes, rather worried about the folds and creases, curtseying at a party where others were having fun tackling others in pillow fights, throwing cakes, splashing in the pool and shouting at the top of their voices making a lot of noise.
I hesitate to call her prim but I must say she was trying to be rather particular.
The Blog Artist
When I started the blog, I thought artistry, at least in a blog about writing, reading and reflection was going to be about controlled reading and navigation, about a pretty, subtle, understated, nuanced display, about putting myself out there for people to read.
I thought blogging, my blogging, would be about words.
But this blog has outgrown that pretty little white-and-blue frock now. It’s grown a little messy. It wants to splash about a little.
Why? Because I learnt a few things about art and artistry through blogging on my little corner of the internet.
Art is hard work. Art is perfection. Art is a Japanese tea party.
But art is also messy. Art is pillow fights. Art is experimentation. Art is splashing about. Art is heady. Art is exuberance but art is also failure.
Art is strife. Art is noise. Art is discussion. Art is a clamour of voices. Art defines, yet art defies definitions.
Art is about expertise. Art is about control. But art is also about giving up that control to others.
I learnt that blogging is about people and both blogs and people are ephemeral. A blog may become permanent but permanence can never be its goal. A blog finds satisfaction not necessarily through permanence or excellence but simply through the fact that it exists.
Hence, on my little corner of the internet, I’ll get messy with a few different themes. I’ll try some and then I hope that I’ll find one that will grow with Bottledworder.
I’ll stop worrying that readers will be distracted by something or the other because I won’t pretend to know what’s best.
So Bottledworder will head for the theme wardrobe now and try on a few themes for the party.