Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Date Updated: Never

This morning I'm cruising around LJ in one of those pointless but interesting dawn patrol exercises. One journal found with the random key features an LJ'er who is both rather goth with mock delusions of divinity. Another journal features dozens of polls, along with a post about attending a "knife-fighting seminar". Meanwhile, the AOL Instant Messenger function, apparently suffering from some filter lapse I've committed without realizing it, keeps offering me invitations to chats with users with handles like "freesex4U", all of which I decline. At least I can be popular, so long as those who determine popularity are software spyders who invite everyone. I wouldn't want to be part of a club that wouldn't have me for a member, to reverse the old phrase. Maybe the world will change someday, and my invitations will come from IM'ers such as "Intellectualdiscussion" or "truewittyandpleasantfriend", but so far the wrong spyders are on my part of the web.

I like to read old entries in folks' journals on my friends' list, to try to see what secrets I have missed during daily reading. I also like the "Memories" sections and the websites. I must resume my old habit of reading my friends' friends lists. I read a lot of interesting journals that way. I like user bios and pithy posts and even photos of people I'll never meet.

I found one journal set up by an LJ friend which was elaborately populated with interests, but which had no entries. I love that part of the userinfo: "Date updated: never". That makes a statement, though I'm not sure exactly what the statement might be.

Lately the old Bruce Springsteen song lyric keeps running through my head: "it's so hard to be a saint when you're just a boy out on the street", but in fact, I've never really been out on the street in this sense, so the image is all imagination for me. It's rather like Bowie's Thin White Duke--one has every longing to relate to being one, but on somber reflection one cannot really imagine how to do so. I think that rock music works best when it creates these little fantasyscapes to visit. In our local alternative paper I read an interview with a Georgia band who desperately want to be Lyrnrd Skynrd. Everyone's gotta have a goal. I desperately wanted to be Elvis Costello or Brian Eno, but I came out more like Daniel Johnston or the Maytag repairman. I like that a weblog lets one find one's own inner Maytag repairman.

I read up on this curious somebodies journal, which uses montages of quotes from permanent users' journals to assemble "new" posts. At first, it was quite jarring to be quoted in this journal, but now that I understand the point of the thing a bit better, I feel a curious comfort in seeing my words put there in (again) curious lack of context.

The first month I was on LJ was quite invigorating. Using the random key to read hundreds of journals, commenting in the few that really caught my eye. I'll never forget what fun it was when someone first put me on their "friends" list, as I did not even know how the concept worked when it happened. Suddenly, I had a friend. What a curious thing.

I think perhaps the enthusiasm of those days rejuvenated me somehow. I would read so many "random" journals before I'd comment on one. Each one on which I'd comment had something which really caught my eye. Now, when I have a friends' list who generate such fascinating entries, it's too easy to stop searching out new journals to read. I think I'll change my spots, and be a more searching leopard. Just now I took a slight break to random up a few journals. Favorite quote: "thanks for the chips and chat".

Of course, meanwhile the e mail these days continues to assure me of untold fortunes in Sierra Leone awaiting only my social security number to claim, as well as astonishing drugs that will make me in all respects more capable of doing things I might find desirable to do with the supposedly 19/f people who send me other junk e mails.
There's a lot of longing in this old world, but taking miracle drugs in hopes of meeting people who are 19/f are not really among mine.

Perhaps I should start a secret journal. I have, like what? four journals now? One is a chess club journal for my chess club that hasn't gotten off the ground (but will this Fall), but the other three are actually about me. But I know that many of my LJ friends keep "hidden" journals in which they can discuss things that they do not feel comfortable discussing in their more public journals. The problem, I suppose, is that while I am sure I have the requisite number of private and non-public devices and desires, I am not sure that they are any more journal-worthy than the public ones I express here. I still think that the "keep it public" musical-comedy format succeeds best, despite its limitations. Sometimes I think it would be fun to experiment with filters, such as the "seemingly brave but actual fragile rah rah positive thinking" filter or the "I know nothing about art or creativity" filter. But so far, I'm still all public, no filters. It's not really a "point of pride", as an internet mole or troll could easily send me "friends only" in the future, and I could imagine making filtered or friends-only posts in the future. But I am interested with how public I can be with a very public journal and still feel that I retain my privacy. I suppose it ties into my theory of the banality of secrets. I think that secrets are endlessly banal, rarely worth keeping, and yet I keep secrets for people as an occupation. I am the guardian of the banal, and I take my sacred quest seriously. Who knows, though? Perhaps the allure of a secret journal is that I can commit banality in private. I have little imagination, though, and know nothing about art and creativity. I'd probably name it gurdonsecrets.

I am one of those people who essentially never kept a paper journal. I did write some autobio material when I was just out of college, which is almost laughably embarrassing to read now. What embarrasses me? How soupy it all sounds, and yet how much of it might have been written yesterday. I know the Puritans journaled in order to track their daily spiritual progress. But I wonder how many Puritans read their diaries and said "still me".

Lately I find that I want interconnection more and more. This is not a bad thing, but it is a thing I note. I want to read and understand. I don't need to meet people, though I rather enjoy doing so. But I need to understand, to connect, to do whatever the real-life equivalent is of "grokking the fullness", with the proviso that no cannibalistic soups be involved.

This weekend we go to Colorado, where we will hike in deep woods and escape from the moments which creep forth in their petty pace.
I'm really looking forward to the escape into cooler weather and taller trees. As with all trips, this one brings a small pang, though. I have this image of spending Labor Day weekend at home, perhaps fishing in the little park sunfish pond. I have an alternate image of spending it at my parents, with whom I spoke last night after a few weeks of being out of touch. I am one of those "phone home each week" type of people, so it is odd for me to go for weeks without phoning home. I rather wish, somehow, that I were driving home this weekend, but we will go in October instead.
Meanwhile, I hope the place we are going will let Summer hikers ride the ski lift up to the top of the mountain. I love trails "way up high", so long as I don't have to do the actual climbing to get there. As a hiker, I'm a pretty good light walker. My theme song is less "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" than "can I buy a lift ticket?".

Today I must finish a first draft of an appeal brief, get a few more routine things done, and in general, be productive. Friday afternoon we fly away. I'm already getting ready for the weekend in my mind, and here, it's just Wednesday.
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