March 13th, 2002

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Another election primary; perhaps it is a sign
of an affection for the politics of the personal
that I was much more interested in whether
a friendly acquaintance won justice of the peace
in a precinct I don't live in than I was in
who won the state wide nominations.
I commented on a chess game score for an questioner. I've let my Internet Chess Club membership lapse. Maybe I need to play in a "real live" tournament again. Personal google question today: etimology of the word "blog".
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on livejournal; a first impression

I've been very impressed with the journals I've seen, by and large. They can serve so many functions. Tonight a journal I have taken to regularly following took a curious turn. One journalist (doesn't really matter who) has a really winning writing style, and has actually developed a kind of fan base of friends and random commenters. This is not surprising, as her journal is absolutely dynamite stuff--witty, incisive, brainy without being stuffy,
great photos. The journal is highly confessional, and
even has a romance plotted in the mix with another journal member. One author whose work I find intermittently quite funny (but who, in a story best left out/left for another entry, inexplicably (to me, anyway) hurt my feelings based on the briefest acquaintance in an odd on line "conceptual performance art" context), is Sandra Tsing Loh. She has one quote that I find really applicable in the livejournal context: "All autobiography is fiction". The on-line journalist whose work I've been following tonight posted
a sort of confession against confession. A plea that
she edits her postings about her relationships and all the stuff about her relationships is stuff only she and her
beau understand (my paraphrase is inexact), and, if I'm muddling through it right (a muddle her post cautions generically against) that nobody should post on her journal comments about the personal things in her journals on this topic. Now, for a few weeks I've been reading these interesting journal matters, intrigued that such a fine writer could make a journal so rich. Yet, tonight's journal entry has me confused--the asynchrony between the highly confessional nature of the usual journal saga, and tonight's plea for privacy is a bit jarring. This leads me to a strong first impression of the livejournal process.
I see it as something kind of like that PG Wodehouse tag line that he wrote his novels like musical comedies, because there are two types of writers,those who do what he does, or those who get to the heart of things and don't give a damn. When I first set up my journal, someone on
the board told me the amusing story of a coworker whose highly critical journal entries were discovered by the Powers that Be, with excrutiating results for her. I resolved that my livejournal would be about
what interests me, general topics, and not highly personal things (arguably, my ST Loh comment above broke that rule; that's a "danger" in these things). I think at the surface I have enough to write about, without the need for highly confessional material. As to the "confessional" journal writer who wrote "against confession", I think that one would always assume that her story would be edited, a form of "real fiction" if you will, so that no reader could really understand the he and she of her relationship in issue. Yet, tonight, a fervent plea for a form of privacy about her public journal. Needless to say, the journal entry contained no space for reader comments. What a curious thing this livejournal is....but I have enjoyed the woman's work, nonetheless.

3 great mail art cards in today. Nacowafer sent me an invite to her edible art thing that was simply absolutely well done. What a fun hobby!
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On insight

A high school nativity scene;
middle school shepherds,
eighth grade angels;
wise men with asbestos beards,
mary and joseph, from the senior class.

Standing on church steps, surrounding
a plastic baby jesus,
for the benefit of passersby;
because grace comes packaged from
time to time
in felt robes over tennis shoes.

People come and stand in the cold,
in sub-freezing temperatures,
where the scene is illumined
on church steps
by two hundred watt bulbs,
accompanied by Handel.

The experience is in the story told;
sometimes the nativity story,
sometimes the story of admiration
for lost youth,
sometimes in the personal acquaintance
of the viewer with the viewed.

One is a mother, one wishes to be a lover,
two teach magi in high school.
Each takes a tale home,
though each tale is different.

Yet, the storytellers use no words,
pose, as if frozen, in freezing weather,
and the stories that the hearers take,
are stories the viewers bring to the tale.