My GPA went down because of this site.
Ha! I love Tumblr to death, but before this year, I rarely social networked. I created my first Tumblr account on December 27, 2009. At this time I didn’t know what formspring.me is, and I had just deactivated my Facebook. I had been active on but three websites: eBay, Wikipedia, and Stereogum. Now I commonly visit /mu/, Tumblr, Pitchfork, formspring.me, and a bunch of other sites. What I’m trying to say is: it’s almost certain that your Internet usage is going to marginally increase when you get a Tumblr. Unfortunately, to a small but terrible degree, blogging has become a competition. At least for me. There’s this often-subconscious feeling when browsing websites to post anything cool on Tumblr. To be the first to share something that connects with you.
Then the feeling came over me as I was reading The Awakening. I fall for certain phrases, sentences, paragraphs — this one really struck me. I felt a strong impulse to get out of my chair and share it to the web. I didn’t do it immediately, and I’m not averse to sharing favorite excerpts and quotations, but as Douglas Rushkoff has said: everything these days is being taken out of context.
This is one of the reasons I’m leaving Tumblr as “adverted” — another bro with a blog and a bunch of things he wants to share with the world. The other reason is direct. [see first sentence] I spend too much time online. My grades have suffered.
But my break from Tumblr — the near-perfect website — is only going to be for a few weeks. I have an idea, which stems from a combination of three things: Martin Dressler (a book), an episode of Douglas Rushkoff’s radio show (listen when you get a chance!), and Tumblr (every goddamn aspect of it).
In the Douglas Rushkoff episode the host talks to Mark Pesce about sharing. Pesce mentions a book he is “writing” — Share This Book! — and how he’s going to make it a community project. Not clear whether it’s just the ideas Pesce wants to take for his book (contrasted with the original content), but it’s undeniably a 21st century concept to even think about a book without a set number of authors. This isn’t a collection of quotations or jokes — it’s a narrative! Written by anonymous!
In Martin Dressler, a Steven Millhauser novel set in the late 19th century, the titular character keeps building his profile in New York — he’s a bellboy at fourteen, creates a cafe at eighteen (or so), etc. Eventually he starts designing hotels; his final project, the Grand Cosmo, is so inclusive, so infinite, and so luxurious that ones never needs to leave it. It’s no longer a hotel. It has simulations of forrest and all the entertainment one could dream of … which is precisely why people dislike it. There’s a sense of completion which annoys the never-satiated mind.
I want to know if Tumblr works the same way. I want to create a narrative which is limitless in its format. Reading is great, right? You get to fill in the caps with your mind. Images and emotions are largely your job. How about photos? Although emotion may me more obvious, all the words are gone. Audio? I love audio, because it conjures up a vast array of images. (As much as reading does that, I love the technical aspects of writing and often see the two-dimensionality of novels.) Then there’s video, but television and film are oh-so different. (Marshall McLuhan refers to film as a “hot” medium, while television is “cool.”) Tumblr represents virtually all media. Of course Blogger does, along with most websites — but Tumblr gives attention to all of them equally. The fact that most posts have text in them is purely the results of its users. (Also: I know that four of the seven options are text. But the extra text options are simply very useful.)
I wrote a stupid fiction blog at Blogger; a few of the kids at my high school regularly read my silly posts. What struck me at my stay on Blogger was how little fiction was represented in blogging. Narratives! Anyway: I wrote an ongoing tale of slightly-altered versions of kids from my school doing things which weren’t hard to believe. That it was fiction was obvious in some ways; in others, it truly wasn’t.
Here’s my proposition: I’m going to write a fiction blog. Wait, I’m already lying! Although a lot of it will be written, so much content will be pictures and sounds; and although I’ll be its organizer, the majority of information is going to come from you. It’s okay; I’m not going to solicit everyone for their help. Originally — because I predict few people will throw themselves at me — it’ll be a me and a couple of IRL friends making fiction. We’ll see how it goes.
To a greater degree, the only character which I will be creating is the one which represents me — “adverted” until otherwise notified. Everyone that takes part will choose their own identity. But consider this: if Mary Winecooler tells me that her character has a manly voice, then audio posts involving her (which she has to create and publish) shall include that sort of voice.
Damn it — I have none of this worked out. Luckily I have a few good friends and they will get this idea off its feet.
Notes: firstly, if anyone has already begun a similar or identical narrative, please tell me. I want to see how it worked out. I also don’t want to be labeled a plagiarizer. Secondly, I’ll be getting a new URL for my narrative. The next post (I’m expecting it to be in less than a month) will tell you both the URL for the new blog and a hell of a lot more details which I’ll be writing down in some bizarre thing called a “notebook.” Lastly, contact info:
- if you want to be involved email me at wordyousaid[at]gmail[dot]com
- Ask me a question … which I won’t answer … at least for a while
- Send me tweets of encouragement or disapproval
I’ll miss you all! I love you all! Stay healthy and please, please, if you want to take part or you think this is a stupid idea tell me so!