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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The "Real" World

I woke up this morning wondering why people like reading other people’s blogs? Is it the same reason why we tune into “Survivor” or “The Apprentice” (my personal favorite)? We’ve known ever since MTV’s “Real World” that we are endlessly fascinated by other people’s minutia. We are drawn to their inner realities.
I’m interested in this question because I happen to be studying creative nonfiction writing, a genre which includes memoir and the personal reflection essay. My classmates constantly ask themselves, “Will people want to read about me?”
Annie Dillard says, “Don’t write about yourself…Boring people talk about themselves.” But this statement stands in the face of things like reality TV, myspace, and blogging, whole megabytes and minutes taken up with the details of our personal lives. We write about ourselves; we talk about ourselves; we plaster ourselves all over the web.
One of my schoolmates told me that a writer must be a little delusional to survive. I think he’s right. We’re all a little delusional, or at the very best self-involved. The fact is, I love clicking onto Mandy’s blog to read about her personal book list, and I’m delighted by Sam’s picture of burnt toast. Brandon and Lisa’s blog about England has become a routine part of my week. Every Monday I clear space on my desk to eat my lunch and look through their latest pictures of England. And I am delusional enough to believe someone will be equally delighted by my world.


Anonymous Heidi i said...

Oh what a joy to be reminded of the beauty words can have! At the moment I am caught up in the harshness of research writing, statistical analysis and really big words like hierarchical regression analysis that I am not even sure how to spell let alone understand! So, Christin my friend, it was a joy to get your email and spend a few stolen minutes reading about your world - what a blessing to "hear" your voice again! It seems as if your delusion is itself a delusion as I for one am interested in your world!

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The writing is good. I'll be back.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

So far, so good.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Darren Campbell said...

Christin, I think culture is in a search for intimacy. We enjoy other peoples "personal" because we have a need to be personal, to be "known." Isn't it ironic that the internet - an inpersonal device, is the vehicle that we use to stay connected to each other.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Darren this is such a GREAT point! Megan Daum wrote an essay called "On the Fringes of the Physical World" where she talks about how she got sucked into a internet dating relationship. At the time people were saying that internet would prove human communication obsolete. Daum wrote, "But curiously, the Internet,...was having the opposite effect. My interaction with PFSlider was more human than much of what I experienced in the daylight realm of live beings. I was...relishing the safety of the distance by opting to be truthful rather than doling out the white lies that have become the staple of real life."
So the hypothesis is: people crave safety, honesty, and initmacy on the internet because they are not finding it in real life...

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Julia Brunet said...

People are hungry for connection. When we watch reality TV we often relate to the ones who are like us or to the ones we wish we were like. We also find an appreciation for some that are not like us. I am very drawn in by your words, Christin. There is much wisdom to be shared from you and I am glad you are finding the freedom to share.

5:03 PM  

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