Five Questions: pas au-dela
1. Why do you blog?
Well, at least in part as a modest public service, primarily to myself, surely, or whenever we decide to meet, but also as an offering without condition. No delusional fantasies of actual political pull, certainly, though a stronger counter-balance to the middlebrow hegemony in literature would be nice. Nothing quite as revolutionary or profound, as novel or philosophical as, indeed, some seem altogether either too quick to assert or too quick to disallow. In fact both responses strike me as the somewhat predictable result of an unhealthy over-investment in one’s “blogging personality,” frankly. Which over-investment, subtle phoria/phobia is odd, given the degree to which bloggers seem prone to commit so many cardinal sins of bad writing, generally. Nor do I place much value on the daily “practice” of blogging. I think it’s probably a vice, and for “lit-bloggers” (with whom I do not identify), especially. To seek to reconcile without serious loss the time-scales of literature (as that which seeks to come to grips with its very condition of possibility) and tabloid politics seems entirely absurd to me. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say anything. Bloggers should by no means repeat the graphomania–career-driven or otherwise–of the academic print world. I’m a firm believer in the primacy and patience of “print”, and of the standards and responsibility that process (ideally, at least) entails, but perhaps blogs at their best can induce some much-needed brevity, and even silence.
As a way to share things, certainly–often half-polished thoughts or items overlooked–or to engage in collaborative, semi-spontaneous reflection, or to take issue with certain things, ideally in small and precise and therefore meaningful ways. In truth, I often err on the side of grandiose pronouncement, but never habitually or entirely undeservedly, or without substance and insufferably so, one hopes. Sometimes, indeed often, these provocations develop into longer conversations. I also blog to be surprised. To stay curious and interested. Blogging is admittedly not the only way to accomplish this. But it is free, and democratic. And thank God, self-selecting. This was too long, I apologize.
2. Which author and/or book has most influenced you?
Between five and ten years ago I might have said David Foster Wallace, or Nabokov, or in a different vein, Thoreau. I think Romantic poetry, and some modern poetry have probably “influenced” me more than I would care to admit. Paul Celan and Walter Benjamin are writers whose extreme discretion I seek to live up to, someday. The literature of the generation of ’68, particularly in France, and to a lesser degree its cosmopolitan counterpart in America. May I get back to you on Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and Heidegger. I am often dismayed by the sheer ignorance and lack of original charity displayed by those who opportunely claim they take Derrida “seriously,” without demonstrating this at all, and especially never having read Blanchot, whose work and circle of influence forms something of an obsessional focus for me now. Not that one writer ever contains the magic key to another.
3. Which three blogs do you most visit?
4. Why do you read fiction?
One may as well ask: why read? It has to do with memory, testimony, death and love, and prosopopoeia. And maybe pinboys.
5. What makes you laugh?
My dog used to. My girlfriend, The Marx Brothers, Bill Hicks, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce and early Robin Williams at Carnegie Hall (at least the first eight times), Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, when they’re being bold. Will Self. It depends, you know, what kind of laugh.
Matt Christie blogs at pas au-delá, which can be found at: http://pasaudela.blogspot.com