Monday, December 16, 2002

"There are a few questions, which someone in my situation will not even ask. Jean-Paul Sartre, for instance, devoted an entire little book to the question: For whom do we write? It is an interesting question, but it can also be dangerous, and I thank my lucky stars that I never had to deal with it. Let us see what the danger consists of. If a writer were to pick a social class or group that he would like, not only to delight but also influence, he would first have to examine his style to see whether it is a suitable means by which to exert influence. He will soon be assailed by doubts, and spend his time watching himself. How can he know for sure what his readers want, what they really like? He cannot very well ask each and every one. And even if he did, it wouldn't do any good. He would have to rely on his image of his would-be readers, the expectations he ascribed to them, and imagine what would have the effect on him that he would like to achieve. For whom does a writer write, then? The answer is obvious: he writes for himself."

— Imre Kertész, "Heureka!", the 2002 Nobel Lecture, now available online at the Nobel Foundation website.

My half-dozen readers may have picked up, from the odd hint or turn of phrase, that lately I've been wondering what exactly I'm blogging for. I started this weblog as a sort of experiment, but without any clear objective; I suppose I must have assumed that at some point I'd have an audience of at least a few dozen, that I'd manage to make some tentative but useful contributions to various debates of public interest, that I'd help establish a Caribbean presence in the blogosphere. Well, a quick visit to my page counter (scroll to the very bottom) suggests that this blog's impact on the world has thus far been negligible (Glenn Reynolds gets about 50,000 hits per day; my record thus far is 15.)

Now, my posting is nothing like the kind of writing Kertész discusses, but over the last couple of weeks I've come to the same conclusion: I'm writing this blog for myself, for the strange satisfaction of knowing my (incoherent, inconsequential, insufficiently thought out) ramblings are floating out on the ether, atoms in the great theoretical infinity of this invented universe (which some call the Internet). I'm not leading up to any conclusion here — merely acknowledging the awesome & selfish thrill of contributing a strand or two of myself to this impossible entity.

(Wryly noted: Glenn Reynolds admits that fast typing is the secret of his success....)

No comments: