I spoke with William S. Burroughs a few times in the final years of his life. I miss him, and recently I was shocked but happy to hear his voice again — it was coming out of the pages of Dostoyevsky.
Once, at a point that goes back to what can now be only described as another life, I found myself among a tiny group who were trying something the world had never seen: blogging. It was the day of Hotwired, Netscape Navigator, and sitting front-row at Jorn’s Robot Wisdom site as he was hard-coding the form into existence — and there were about a dozen of us carefully watching in that moment before taking it up eagerly for ourselves.
What followed in the fever pitch of the years immediately afterward was a constant passing-out of links with, what seemed like, the entire world: those were all the others who were also settling the outback with their homemade sites.
Blogging, in that 1.0 incarnation of link-filled “weblogs” — before they morphed into a kind of online diary — was like constructing a syllabus of everything you were interested in or were attracted to or that you were reading or learning at the time, an ever-expanding outline of links, to other people’s work, held together by your editorial eye.
But secretly my heart was opening out in the form of narrative prose, and I knew that the style and the mode of early blogging, with its links and facts and brevity and news, wasn’t at all what I needed to be doing — for me it was a timesink, sideshow and distraction. Soon enough I’d even feel the same about the later form, the “blogging” in diary-like entries of short commentary that would soon take over. Almost nobody was doing it for fiction, it seemed there was no online audience for that, and outside of music writing it just was not my thing. I knew that the work that did need doing, and the doing-of-it to the satisfaction of my yearning heart, meant that I’d absolutely have to stop. And so I did — I more or less fell off the net completely.
I still remain ambivalent toward current so-called social media, but this site does establish a definite return — with, this time, the work I know I have to give.