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Sunday, 14 March 2004

sub text: a meta-morpho-blog

Topic: Shy Lux

I still have this seventeen hour project to get started finished by Tuesday, so procrastination is rampant, hereabouts. There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation. Hence, the past two weeks have involved mucho reading, film watching, and browsing of blogs. And the more blogs I read, somehow the less I want to keep one myself.
It's not that I don't find blogs interesting - frequently the personalised, subjective, unpolished viewpoint strikes me as far more engaging than the Soho House arse licking of your average journalists' take on life. What unnerves me is that feeling of knowing something that isn't deliberately told. It's when you've read a blog for a while, looked at patterns and repetitions, and somehow the blogger has unintentionally revealed too much.

I've got to circumvent the navelgazing, though to point out my context: that right now, I'm plagued by repeated nightmares. They work about at about a 60:40 ratio of 'I hate Tybalt with every fibre of my being' to 'I hate blogging'. The latter species have me waking up yelling in shock (although still prefereable to the quiet unerring antipathy of the former.) My morning coffee is regularly interrupted by a dizzying surprise at my strength of negative emotion about both.
Derby says that dreams and nightmares are a safe environment in which to work out and process unsafe emotions. She thinks they're about expelling ideas and feelings, in order to create a space, into which new experiences and people can move. A contained environment to co-ordinate your most feared responses to uncontained things.
Funny, that's what I would have thought the blog was. Apparently not.

My first (and best) degree subject was Literature, and I - like most people - enjoy reading the subtext of any written or spoken communication. I have to practise this anyway at work, and to exacerbate this, I'm not that good at going with my instincts in real life situations, so I guess I've over developed my tendency to do it with the written word.
It's difficult, when reading blogs, not to provide an imaginary face behind the html, or to pad things out with a few hidden truths that read against the dominant narrative.
The blogs that have put the willies up me lately (to whom I don't and am not going to link), are the ones where it's not so hard to read between the lines.
The ones where you find yourself trying not to see a human torn up in the struggle to avoid realising his behaviour is selfish and nasty to others. (I mean, really, can I blame them? Who ever blogs an argument and paints themselves honestly in the wrong?)
The ones where all the commenting and and cliquey patronage reveal a desire to be more important and worthy than the blogger fears they actually are.
I know these people do want feedback, because they invite comments. Somehow I also know they don't want brutal feedback, or honest-but-unfriendly comments. They've laid bare what they like to think of as their soul on the screen - if a more realistic, warts and all portrait of themselves at the same time flows into the margins, well; they don't want you 'trolling' by pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, and his liposuction scars are getting ropey.
Jesus, I wouldn't want it.
It's an obvious truism that everyone feels a social pressure to maintain a facade - the man slitting his own throat even as he calls for help - but can I maintain a convincing facade? Would I even want to? And that's what today's rather badly written, badly thought out, crappy post is about. If I can see these other blogs and be fairly sure that their owners are lying through their happy-go-lucky teeth about who they are - then what unpalatable truths can people read here about me?
And the scariest thing is that I'm pretty sure I know what they read. They read the interior narrative of someone absolutely unutterably neverendingly fascinated with herself.

That's the bit that I find shameful. And that's the bit I don't like about my blog.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:48 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 14 March 2004 9:28 PM GMT
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Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 7:50 PM GMT

Name: em
Home Page:

"the interior narrative of someone absolutely unutterably neverendingly fascinated with herself."

and why is this so wrong? if we don't scrutinize ourselves and weed out the total crap behaviors and attitudes who will? yes, sometimes it's hard to see ourselves as wrong, but on occasion, we do, thank goodness. and to have this window into other perhaps like-minded people stumbling through life in 2004, well, it's a mighty big bonus, if you ask me. but you didn't so i'll shut up and go away now.

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 8:06 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

No - I did, Em. Thanks. Brutal and / or honest comments always appreciated.

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 8:14 PM GMT

Name: Legomen
Home Page:

I've been trying to articulate a comment but I can't after several goes, so I'll call it quits incase I say something I don't mean.
Just to let you know that it hasn't disappeared into the ether...

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 8:17 PM GMT

Name: Krystal

what you said about literature caught my eye, it rung a bell..I feel like a pervert reading your blog each day, strangely addicted wanting to feel closer but feeling myself moving away from being able to talk to you directly, face to face, eye to eye with each word I read on screen. I watched Moonlight Mile today and was touched by its honesty....I think that's what you're trying to do with your blog, to be honest and that's really hard but very worthwhile - even if you don't pull it off the attemp is inspiring. Maybe it doesn't matter so much what you think about your blog but it's more to do with all the little chain reactions that you set off with your writing - you've made me think about what's happened in Spain in a way I wouldn't have done and you've made me think about intimacy in a different sort of way. - it's brave, it's an attempt to be honest and it's funny've got a good eye too.

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 8:19 PM GMT

Name: em
Home Page:

hope you didn't take it as 'brutal' tho--i didn't mean to be harsh.

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 8:29 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

No, I didn't, Em, but I wouldn't have minded if you were, also. Perhaps that's part of the problem.

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 8:58 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Thanks, K. That's well reassuring, actually. I didn't know you read the blog, actually! I hope you don't feel put off from IRL communication ... I was talking to Derby about your email offer of soapy suds yesterday, and saying that I wanted to hook up with you, but simultaneously didn't want anyone to see the dreadful state of my dirty knickers. Somehow, though, the blog seems as dirty as the knickers. :)

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 9:00 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oh, I lost a really long reply to Sarah about lesbian clothing codes yesterday - it's damn infuriating, isn't it? Welcome back from France, anyway.

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 9:27 PM GMT

Name: be
Home Page:

true about it being shameful

Sunday, 14 March 2004 - 9:36 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Thanks for giving your opinion. Yes, that's why I said it. I like your site; I used to read it last summer, as Riverbend linked to it. You never blogged what you got in your A levels last summer, after your post about finishing your exams - I hope you did well?

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 1:52 AM GMT

Name: Norman

..." the interior narrative of someone absolutely unutterably neverendingly fascinated with herself.

That's the bit that I find shameful. And that's the bit I don't like about my blog."
Jesus, lighten up will yer? As the auther of the best written,sometime funniest, sometime sadest, always entertaining blog, Lady your'e the greatest!..Now don't go sending me a rude reply.............norman

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 2:12 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

< Cliffy from Cheers > "Echh, Normy..." < / Cliffy >

No, it's okay, I'm not always always rude to commenters, Norman. Just a bit depressive right now.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 2:33 AM GMT

Name: e
Home Page:

Like pimples on your own nose, you can always see the bits which bug you far more than can other people. I read your blog for your amazing ability to translate the relatively mundane into thoughful, almost spiritual experiences. The fact that you are a thinking, intelligent person shines through very clearly, and that's what draws me to your blog. That and the astonishing, breathtaking writing.
Quite brutally, I am not interested in your private life, so although I may know things about your private life from what you reveal here, I would not go looking for them nor would necessarily pick up on the sub-text. You however, in the throes of a crisis of confidence, are picking nits from your words in a way that I do not. You are noticing things in your writing which you are probably also finding irritating in yourself.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 2:53 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Yes, as usual, e, you hit the sauce on the money, to mix every metaphor I can think of. I'm irritating and depressing myself at the moment, you're right. And the blog, as a distorting mirror, is irritating me along with it.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 11:48 AM GMT

Name: Tora
Home Page:

Glad you like the site : )

I did ok in my A-levels, but not as good as I was expected to!


Monday, 15 March 2004 - 2:31 PM GMT

Name: e
Home Page:

I love that expression! To coin your own dirty laudry is truly duodenum.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 2:56 PM GMT

Name: pan
Home Page:

weeeellll . . . actually I *do* like reading the personal bits from other people's blogs. I guess the reasons are that if you read soemone's blog for long enough you do start to identify with them, or rather with the public face they present, and it all starts to become fascinating. the nation as a whole is insanely addicted to soap operas and those are about entirely ficticious people whereas some blogs at least are true and much more interesting for it.

Plus reading about other people's personal, financial and hygenic breakdown makes you feel a little bit better about your own.

But i think you are right about disliking the blog because it represents a mirror to yourslef, warts and all, therefore if you aren't that happy, you won't like your blog much - seems pretty logical. Being able to go off (and hopefully back on) your blog indicates that you are being open and honest about what you write. I like it anyway.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 3:31 PM GMT

Name: Creepy Lesbo
Home Page:

God. Now I'm paranoid that people read between the lines and have me out as some sort of evil troll. Of course it's all perspective and a lot of it is how I feel about something which isn't the way others see it at all. ExWife had a go at me at the start about it but I told her I had a persona and that the things I say weren't always what I thought - they were just funny etc. I think as the time has gone on though I tend to just say what I like now. @#%$! the pressures from elsewhere. I say what I like and only self edit if I'm going to reveal myself or someone else too obviously. ALthough saying that, I've noticed I'm saying a lot of what is in my blog in real life and I do find myself just hoping no one I ever meet reads my blog or they might click the two together. Problem is though you end up paranoid if you let it get too bad - 'did I tell them that or did they read it on the blog?'. Frankly as long as they don't mention it to me I try not to care as much as possible. I can't live my life in fear. I just need to learn to accept that. But I do still wonder who you are referring to and hope it isn't me.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 5:20 PM GMT

Name: sarah

I can't read anything other than what you write; your style is a lot different to some of the blogs I read. Which is not to say I don't find it incredibly deep and beautiful and ver ver good. Whatever unpalatable truths you have, your hiding them dead well.

Now, are you going to tell me about the clothes thing or what?

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 6:13 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Ah, the curse of the blogger is in what you don't get done while you blog about not doing it. Join the club, Tora. Never mind, your site benefited from the extra attention. :)

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 6:14 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Again with a dirty knickers reference. Worrying theme. ;-)
Duodenum sounds like a deodorant somehow...

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 6:16 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Pan said: reading about other people's personal, financial and hygenic breakdown [...]

Smell my finger. (and, cheers)

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 6:18 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oooookay, gimme a minute to make a vague effeminate - nay, indeed, pansified - attempt at my deadline, and I'll blog the clothes theory on Wednesday.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 6:25 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I'm absolutely not referring to you, Creepy. Your blog is the single most searingly addictively honest blog I've ever seen. It's inimitable. I get freaked at myself for being stalkerish and clicking on it five times a day for updates, and have to pretend I don't mind if it's not.
In fact, I'm stunned that you can be that honest and forthright if people from your daily life read it. (am I misinterpreting? did you imply ExWife reads your blog?)
There was one point when ParanoidGirl was being weird in your blog version of reality, and I used to wonder if she secretly read your blog, last month, but then the ramifications sent my mind squirrelly, and I decided not to think about the secrets within secrets within secrets that suggested any more.
I know what you mena a little bit about just going ahead and writing anyway - Tybalt used to read my blog, and so do many of her friends. Finally, I just told her if she had a brain, she'd stop reading it, and decided to write as if she didn't. I get a bit of a freaky scare when people I know comment on here, because mostly I've wiped it from my mind that I sent the URL to everyone I know. You couldn't write at all if you just thought about who's reading.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 6:27 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Example of a shamefully stalkerish admission - when you update, I text and MSN my friends to check they've read it, and we chat about what you wrote... :)

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 7:46 PM GMT

Name: Nursie
Home Page:

Yes yes. "I. Me. Mine." as George said. But ya know, I don't write to be read. I write to stay sane. I write because its free therapy for me. Why do I enable comments? Yes, it's because I like to know that I'm not the only doofus/crazy chick on the block. It's nice to know that yer not a freak. I honestly thought I was before blogging. If anything, blogging has caused me to think LESS about myself. I'm not the only one going through the things I go through, and that's nice, that's very nice indeed.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 7:51 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I just worry about what the ramifications are when the world is your therapist. Surely it means one no longer needs to achieve any real self knowledge? After all, we can all feign it pretty easily on our blogs, instead.

PS Yep, you're doing therapy pretty damn well over there at the moment. Too awed to comment on 'Shut Up'.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 8:40 PM GMT

Name: Cyn
Home Page:

*And the scariest thing is that I'm pretty sure I know what they read. They read the interior narrative of someone absolutely unutterably neverendingly fascinated with herself.
That's the bit that I find shameful. And that's the bit I don't like about my blog.*

If you were American, it would bother you not that people may think of you as "facinated with (yourself)."
Over here we've taken navel-gazing to heights never before seen--and we (they--I'm only half Yank) are incredibly proud of ourselves.

You otoh, write about your interior world but your witty, insightful, sometimes slightly skewed, references to the "outer" world often put it all in delightful context for your loyal ;) readers.

Reading through your comments often takes more time than reading entire posts. With few exceptions, the quality of the comments is quite high. I believe that reflects on you, Vanessa.

Many comments on this post are right on the money, so I won't repeat the praise, assurances, and justifications that they've ably offered for you to continue blogging and not feel shamed.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 9:17 PM GMT

Name: Rose
Home Page:

You are a fascinating being. Your words are fascinating, your point of view is fascinating, because you are true to yourself (so it seems). It is rare for one to be true to herself/himself; honest people are few and far between.

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 9:31 PM GMT

Name: Rose
Home Page:

This poem is dedicated to you.


You are a fascinating being.
Your words are fascinating,
your point of view is fascinating,
because you are true to yourself,
so it seems.
It is rare for one to be true to herself;
honest people are few and far between.

Copyright C. Rose Aguilar

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 9:34 PM GMT

Name: Sharon
Home Page:

I came over to thank you for leaving a comment, and find this! LOL.
So, thank you for the reassurance on the hugging thing. It's good to know that it wasn't exclusive to my own little slice of reality. And I encourage brutal feedback. I'd rather know my writing is crap before I submit it to a publisher. ;)

I can't believe you didn't go farther in BlogMadness. Such wonderful writing!

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 11:26 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I hadn't thought about the transatlantic difference in outlook, but, as ever, it makes sense. I do know that about 60% of this blog's readers are from the States, which surprises me, given how parochial and Penge-centred it reads... !
I reckon most UK readers would slap me one and tell me to get on with it. The outpouring of praise from American and Canadian readers is lovely and flattering, but it's slightly hard for dour Northern Europeans to take without wincing at your own egotism in not protesting.

So there you go, i'll try not to protest. And yes, I think my blog gets better comments than most. Better than the posts, at any rate... :)

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 11:27 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Cheers, Rose! See, that is so un-English. And I do think that the majority of people are honest and fair, still, events in Madrid notwithstanding. But that's a lovely thing to do. Um, cheers!

Monday, 15 March 2004 - 11:30 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Well it wasn't an implicit critique of your blog, Sharon, honest! yours is linked and regularly visited, and I've also been wondering how to wind your description of your old neighbourhood housing into a meeting at work, actually. It's a regular read for me, now, and your writing is really powerful.

Oh god, this comments thread is turning into a right bloody love-in, isn't it? It's just not British, I tell you! I feel soiled now....

Tuesday, 16 March 2004 - 7:26 PM GMT

Name: emma
Home Page:

Lately I've thought of this:
blogging- therapy, self-indulgent whining, whatever...

But I think it helps me be less "me me me" in the 'real world'. When I got a little corner to talk about me, for my things, my problems, it takes the need to do that all the other time. In that way it's a therapist. Hopefully a good one...

I read blogs like I read books (apart from those people's blogs I've actually gotten to know more). I read them for the stories, the writing, I am not really interested in the real person.

Wednesday, 17 March 2004 - 7:34 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I think you're right about it taking up a part of your voice in the offline zone. But I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Does it not silence us? I mean, everything on the net is reduced to chatter, really, in the end.

Wednesday, 17 March 2004 - 6:38 PM GMT

Name: Sharon
Home Page:

I actually saw that it wasn't about my blog in particular, and thank you for your kind words. It seemed like a good place to say that I, for one, want harsh comments.
And you can swipe any part of the descriptions of my old neighborhood housing, as long as it's not getting published.

Monday, 22 March 2004 - 12:31 PM GMT

Name: Creepy Lesbo
Home Page:

I find that quite sweet actually. It's odd because half the time you think 'ah, there's noone out there who actually READS what I post, they just click through or do searches for 'lesbian sex' etc and get me and then close it again. The other half I sit there mouth agape wondering how I manage to get fanmail when I'm just some pleb in London. I find it amusing that a few days after I made the 'can't worry about it to much post' I'm being forced into shutting down Creepy Lesbo.
That's instant karma for you....

But thank you to you and your friends for reading so stalkishly! :-D

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