pro Writing a Web Log

How many days is it acceptable to let pass when writing a blog? I do not know. I have not consulted social media with this question. I do not care, but I also have enough sense to know that gleaning some consensus from social media could be helpful in negotiating how to handle or manage content on social media–is it “though?” I have never developed the habit of writing day-in and day-in again in any of the journals I have kept over the years, now numbering several decades. Writing or not writing has become my to be or not; it must be every writers. Being a writer is the alpha and omega of who I am, of what I am–what am I? I could ask. I never really know what I think until I write, so however much thinking reveals who I am, what I say becoming somehow what I am, I must not be able to fully know who I am or what I am unless I write. I am genuinely asking this question from time to time, who am I? The other, what am I? just theme in variation. Who I am and what I am are flip sides of the same coin myself in one minting? But how many days is too many to let pass before I write again in my blog? I get the sense that something should be said nearly every day. How many entries in one day are also too many?

I do not know the answers to these questions, yet I am not sure I am actually asking here. I do have my own sense of what a blog is, although this remains at present amorphous, but that, too, mostly out of the mainstream, how my contemporaneity accepts changeableness. I could not articulate with confidence what others might be able to venture with assurance, an answer to the question, What is a blog? I do know that it is a web log, and that the word ‘log’ has something to do with what a ship’s captain keeps. I have said this before abut the log, what it means to keep a log, or what a log could be. I am sure that a captain’s log does have something in common with a personal journal although it has nothing in common with one, unless anyone who keeps a personal journal does so with the idea that others will read it. A ship’s captain’s log is a public record, actually, as is a web log. Facts are what they are. The internet is a sea; my web site is a ship, how could I miss this? We used to say surfing the web, so the idea that the internet is an ocean with waves to navigate is a good analogy.

Is this, what I herein keep, though, a blog? A web log; a matter of keeping a record of happenings? Not exactly, but a good deal of this happens herein. What happens herein has more to do with column writing for newspapers than other kinds of journalism, mostly set by the constraints of space, mostly kept to 200 to 300 hundred words, perhaps one typed double spaced page. It is not the blog I write when I am writing in the pages section, though, the place where I collect the essays I have written for this literary review, one or two that might be upwards of 20 to 30 pages in length. This journal of ideas and opinions and facts and information and arguments written in the form of essays, more trials of ideas, as I have said elsewhere in this website confirms to what standards of writing?  To essay means to try. What is on trial, though? Too many things to list here, I could say.

In the blog section, I might extend the writing beyond the one page constraint and work out essays that are then collected in the Pages section. Everything written herein, though, has the essay form as its model, even the 200 word entries. The review is more importantly a repository of the literary essay–as fore mentioned, and as will be mentioned again from time to time in other entries, other essays. I have outlined the form in one or two letters from the editor before this one, another letter from the editor–expect others; expect many. Are letters, essays? Of course they are or can be. Sometimes letters are lyric, which is neither narrative nor expository. I am not at the moment going to explicate any of them

Who I am with respect to this review, of which the web log is a part? I am the Editor-in-Chief. You know the title of the review, The Falling Leaf Review; so, I am the Editor-in-Chief of The Falling Leaf Review, and this is a perpetually publishing literary journal that I had once called The Essay Review. It seems self explanatory why I would call it this, The Essay Review, its principal focus or intention or purpose is the literary essay, as the heading over the pages collection infers, Essays, Essays, Essays.

I could say that I am the Publishing Editor, which is what I really am, and perhaps I will in time agree to calling myself such. At present, I have no aversion to using Publishing Editor; I just also use Editor-in-Chief. I have always liked the title, Editor-in-Chief. It is as much a matter of taste as it is anything else. Do I think the latter’s less pretentious? How is calling myself Editor-in-Chief less pretentious than calling me the Publishing Editor of The Falling Leaf Review? Why would I think that using the moniker, Publishing Editor is pretentious or more so than using Editor-in-Chief? Is it the hyphenation in the latter that I like? I recall an essay by Teddy Roosevelt about hyphenated Americans, or the fact in his mind that there are no hyphenated Americans. His was a tricky argument and one that many today might find as part of the problem to achieving greater inclusion, at least for this who are or who perceive themselves still excluded. I do understand the initial take on this, but then most if us read at a level less than we assume, and I have found that too many educated Americans are not literate enough for their supposed education or their position at work.

I cannot imagine that either title is more or less pretentious, not if I think about them long enough. Does being Editor-in-Chief allow me to achieve a more intimate role than would being Publishing Editor? If yes, how so? I am not sure either way. I can see how some might think the former is more intimate than the latter in his relationship to the content. I can’t allow myself to be a snob and imagine that being the Editor-in-Chief has a less remote connection to the matter and material of the essays than being the publishing editor would. I cannot accept that an Editor-in-Chief is closer to what we imagine the role of editor is when we have even an inkling of what literary means or should mean. There are prejudices against finance and management of a kind from artists and writers, I know. I have had them myself. I shouldn’t believe that the latter title of Publishing Editor is for a role that only has editorship attached because the Publisher, who puts up the money, also wants to control the content–this, in itself, is an adolescently conceived prejudice against finance, which is to say there might be more rational prejudices against finance, something with which I agree.

Prejudices or no prejudices–it is virtually impossible not to have prejudices–honestly appraising them when they arise is the best manner with which to handle them. Believing that one is completely free of prejudices is in itself a prejudgement. I am the Publishing Editor of The Falling Leaf Review, thereby, the Editor-in-Chief. By being the latter, I am in control of the content in an intimate way, or again, so the prejudice goes. I am also the Publisher because I decide how the money gets spent. I fulfill the roles of Publisher and Editor. Maybe I should simply say that I am the editor–only this. But to what end?

Moreover, I am the only author. What then must I do about concerns for what kind of editorship I have in relationship to this review, my review? I am the Publisher-Editor-Writer. Okay. So, I am like the man who wants to make a movie, and in turn writes a script, raises his own money and directs the film by taking camera in hand, becoming both cameraman and cinematographer. Perhaps he too edits the shots in the editing room, having himself already made the choices of how the movie will be photographed. This, in the final analysis, is something akin to what I do here for “The Falling Leaf Review.” I am the review’s auteur. 

So then, is The Falling Leaf Review  one of the little presses, the small literary magazines? For certain it is. It is in the tradition of the small literary journals that had their heyday between the two world wars of the last century, particularly those arising in Paris, London and New York. What this has to do with The Falling Leaf Review is in the manner of orientation–do I expressly favor avant-garde aesthetic values at present? I am remiss to find them, actually; I cannot get at an intelligible or intelligent definition of anything avant-garde today in what I see. To say that all art today is avant-garde is one of the more heinous expressions endorsing conformity, conformity, conformity, much the way we find in totalitarian societies whereby everything is conservatively revolutionary, as in the former Soviet Union or The People’s Republic of China. Don’t think they did not have art and artists in Nazis Germany or in Franco’s Spain or the Soviet Union. In fact, I would say that artists in these societies of more overt control probably understood the nature of freedom and their own being free or not being free better than we do in the most sophisticatedly controlling society in history. And I know many of my readers will object, balk, reject this notion; I’m sure there are many who would be vehement if not violent in their dis-understanding. Diversity in the university is no less dogmatically asserted in the media and the academy the older universality had been. In fact, we have become oppressively universal about our diversity. The rhetoric of diversity makes this clear; the slogan making in the media enforces this.

I do though have an acute understanding of the history of avant-garde movements, and in this have an appreciation for their purpose, their contribution, their integrity. There is far too much pandering to ideas of being avant-garde without actually being so; in fact, there is a lot more conformity in the masquerade of being avant-garde that we have in our popular arts than could ever be sustained by any integral avant-garde movement. So much for the cookie-cutter MFA programs and how they have managed just the right pinch of subversion to be stirred into the stew made by the power structure that controls all expression by giving just enough space for acceptable and manageable subversive thought to arise. This we hope to avoid–hope is not exactly the word we are looking for–will and desire is what we need. We will avoid this attempt by power to control subversion.

Power controls subversion by giving space for a little of it to arise; we want more of it. It’s the theory of inoculation at work that power employs. Let’s get every one inoculated against subversive expression by exposing them to a little of it; yes,  against anything meaningfully avant-garde, we have been inoculated. The mandates we follow can be expressed by anyone who had an understanding of Truth, which we in our culture and our civilization do not. Our society’s guiding metaphysics–itself an anti-metaphysical metaphysics–founded on the principals that there is no Truth and there are no truths and doubt is the highest form of wisdom lead us to an overarching and all encompassing doubt in knowledge or doubt for the possibility of knowledge. Yes, in our culture, if you look more closely and examine the arguments and the rhetoric employed, the diction used, you will hear, Knowledge is impossible; There is no Truth; Doubt is the highest wisdom. I know I have said this before; I know I will say it again. May I have the strength never to believe I have said it enough–not so long as our persistence in this metaphysical travesty has enabled power to become more powerful, money to become more monied, and the elite to become more entrenched in their elitist tendencies and policy making.

From the Editor will be the call for a particular kind of letter/essay. But as I have made it clear in these pages, I am the writer of everything in this Web Journal, I am The Falling Leaf Review. And as I have said for The October Revue, another web journal of the literary variety that I have published: The Revue’s the Thing.

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