The contents of my mind turned inside out
I don’t want to waste many words in writing a preliminary to this blog. (At least to begin with I want to write, not to write about writing. Excessive self-consciousness can be the enemy of writing and I don’t want to give it the chance to poison this blog before it’s even begun. Besides, I don’t want to make this into a moment of high ritual complete with over earnest statements and a ridiculous self-importance. And so I resist the temptation to write mission statements or manifestoes, to endow this blog with articles of faith or a founding myth. This is a part of the internet where I write what I think. In time it might come to be more than that, and I might come to have a more sophisticated conception of it, but right now this blog is just going to be the contents of my mind turned inside out and put somewhat bashfully on display.
I have to say something more, though, so that my words aren’t seen to come from nowhere. Insofar as this blog will have any substantive unity it will come from my preoccupations with questions about what it is like to live now – what it is to be a child of Blair, a bemused extra of postmodernity, a prisoner of late capitalism. I want to understand myself and I can’t do that unless I understand what it is like to live in this political and cultural environment. I need to get under the skin of life and see what’s there, to work out what the inescapable conditions of thinking and acting are in Britain at this moment of history. So I’m going to go looking for Britain – in its politics and its media, in the books it reads, in the films it watches and in the intellectual traditions that it inhabits. Who we are, who we really are, endlessly fascinates me and it’s what I want to extemporize about and sport over here.
The blogosphere is foreign to me, so I won’t embarrass myself by trying to generalise about it here. But to me this blank page is something that’s just mine: something inalienably and peculiarly mine. In a world of constraint this is a place where the same rules don’t apply; there is no fealty, and hence no need for all of the dissimulation and self-obfuscation that society forces us to practise daily if we want to survive. I just hope that the blinking cursor and the blank page will cheer me, provide a sanctuary when I need one and, more than either, provoke me; they have a capricious, wilful nature and can just as easily turn against you and start practising terror.
But that’s quite enough prefatory self-indulgence.