Telling a Story

Loren Webster has taken his new addictionfascination with PhotoShop and combined it with philosophical reminisces of cars he’s owned into a set of really lovely posts, beginning with this one about a boy and his Studebaker.

I like every form of writing I find in weblogs, being more interested in the person and/or work rather any specific type, but there’s a special place in my heart for writings such as this: works that add art or photographs or poetry or music, sometimes with asides from history or linguistics or philosophy; all mixed in, subtly, with personal views and a little personal history. It’s the type of writing I love to do most, and enjoy reading whenever the whimsy strikes any of you. Even within the technology writings, I like those that sprinkle humor and humanity among all the angle brackets and arguments of which is better: Part A or Part B.

But as Anil Dash wrote recently, someone somewhere will say this isn’t weblogging. And though I think we can safely say that not everyone loves Anil (“Just joking Anil! Truce!”), he’s hit it dead on when he writes:

One good sign that a community is maturing is that some of the earlier or more influential members start trying to dictate how it should be done. Use more bold letters! Don’t use comments! Insert more pictures! Whatever the rule, it’s generally being used to assert authority over the nascent community, or to defend some arbitrary choices that have been made and are now being questioned.

This came up this weekend in another context, circumstances and participants withheld to protect me, because the lord knows if I don’t watch my butt no one else will; and as usual it grates on me and saddens me because we put a great deal of our creative effort into works that shouldn’t even exist according to these people. Worse, to some of these arbiters of great weblogging, doing so demeans the seriousness of this medium, yada yada yada.

Every year there is a new crop of people going out into the world armed with formal concepts and rules about how this all works; and every year we then have to follow along behind, tagging the clean, careful concepts with the purple and red graffiti of revolt and trashing the rules like the anarchists we are.

I have contributed to a book on weblogging in the past, but if I were asked to write a “Weblogging for Dummies” book now, it would look as follows:

Chapter One:

Page one:

“Begin.”

Now I’ve just saved you all a lot of money, which you can soon spend on limited edition “Burningbird” refrigerator magnets. Collect as many as you can; trade ‘em with your friends.

And stop by Loren’s and share your own car story.

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