I know a friend of mine will probably see this title as a reference to something he said to me recently, about writing online and real writing. I’d love to reassure him that this post is not a critique of him. Instead, I only want to chart some generic points about the “real” qualities of writing, and he and all of you are very welcome to start a discussion.
In fact, I know what he was trying to say – and both of us, being very busy at work recently, share the same feeling: we’re not writing enough literature. While being writers, we don’t compose enough poetry or prose.
First point is – what is “enough” in the world of literature? Five poems a day? One short story a day? As good as this task-setting may be, to what extent does it take into account a literary merit of these compositions? If the merit is to be taken into account, then perhaps one poem a day is quite enough. Or even one poem a week. Or does “enough” have to do with our expectations of ourselves, with the knowledge of what we have in drafts but cannot research and expand because our creative power is all but slurped by work?
But secondly – what is writing? If a writer’s task is to narrate what Language tells him/her, then any piece of writing is, by definition, “real”. The idea, arguably, is to use the tool to do your own work. I fancy a thought that it’s me who uses a blog to foster views, ideas, style, language – rather than a blog or blogging community telling me how to use a blog. Furthermore, if we look at various writers’ collected works, we will notice that they contain not only literature proper (i.e. sketches, essays, prose or poetic works of various formats and genres, plays, etc.), but also articles and even letters.
I know that I couldn’t possibly box myself into a single category, and in the past few months I became even more appreciative of the fact how wide-ranging Los Cuadernos is. Going off the idea that a blog is our space online, and off the content of posts, I resolved the issue by stating that in Los Cuadernos a book meets an arts and culture blog. What this means further is that I as the author (in the physical sense) of Los Cuadernos am not restricted to a particular kind of writing.
Do I consider the posts on this blog “real” writing? I think they all are, in one way or another. If we consider essays or original work (or translations thereof), then, yes, I would put them in a collection of works. But even as I think of posts which literary component is lesser, I can still see them being “real” writing. It doesn’t matter on what part of these posts I may build in future. I may use the idea, and thus I will use them as a writer. I may use the phrases or thoughts, and this I may do as a protagonist in a story.