63. METABLOG II ‘watershed’


There are weeks when you know exactly what you are going to write about for the Blog and then there are weeks like this one. On one such occasion in the past you resolved the problem with a METABLOG and here you are writing METABLOG II. Metablogging means Blogging about your Blog or Blogging about Blogging. So here goes.

You have to admit you’ve been depressed recently, but at one point you wrote in your precious notebook: “Perhaps depression is just the old grey cells of a redundant identity dying away inside.” And its true that since around that time you’ve been slowly feeling, not only better but different, as thought a new You might just be emerging.

You have always believed in writing as a way of objectifying your self and your thoughts, giving you a way to re-view both and to externalise and materialise what is otherwise all-too transient and effervescent. You’ve written your way through some bad, down and difficult times, the worlds sometimes having no other value than as a kind of cure, as when leeches were once applied to the body, sucking out poison through the device of a pen or a keyboard.

Today you have some new thoughts about yourself and who you are and how to live, as well as a new determination not to fall into the same old traps that sometimes undermine yourself, such as reflexes to envy, fear, shame, pride etc. Thankfully writing is here at your side, a long-term companion, friend and aid with whom to work on these problems.

There are many ways to write, and you write in many ways. As a professional you write about art for referee journals, articles that can take weeks and months and yes, even ‘years’ to resolve, in dialogue with an editor and an academic peer-review process. These are also usually unpaid but prestigious and supposed to gain you respect in important places (evidence still pending).

Then there is the slightly faster turnaround of the monthly journal where, from concept to hard-copy in the mail-box can take as little as eight to twelve weeks. This is a very satisfying way of sharing your ideas on a respected platform, in dialogue with an exciting editorial team while gaining rapid responses which engage you in current events and ideas. They sometimes pay too, which is great.

And then there is this Blog. Anyone really interested in what you are doing here this week can click on the ‘Home’ link of the Blog or scroll all the way back to the very first post and find there your original reasons for starting it. But basically, you wanted to respond to the ‘crisis’ in art writing brought about by social networks etc. as well as sharing your ideas and writing and art experiences with the community of friends you’d developed online but who may not read your art journal publications.

Another reason for starting the Blog was that you wanted to see if you could write to a certain standard on a weekly basis, and thus even attract a paying journal to invite you to write a weekly column for them.

You’d written Blogs in the past that had became too wild and wayward and so (inspired by NY Times critic Roberta Smith) started this one with traditional, print-style restrictions of a strict word-count (that you tend to bust) and a deadline of midnight on Friday (that you always hit). You also started out using only B&W pictures, and now regret not maintaining that particular aesthetic discipline as it made a difference and showed greater control.

Recently you received one or two criticisms of a certain post which the artist concerned felt was under-researched and too carelessly written. You conceded these criticisms and made some changes to the post while explaining the experimental purposes of the Blog (that is must be rapidly written, with no external editor, can be a subjective description of a fleeting experience etc) to the artist.

But you still came away concerned that you might be writing too much, too carelessly and too quickly in this the most public of all your formats, and might therefore perhaps be misleading and misrepresenting your work and abilities as a whole, and obscuring your other contributions (published in harder-to-find journals.)

An old friend recently said: “Just because you speak a lot doesn’t necessarily mean that you speak well” Very true, particularly of politicians, to whom he was referring, but the words also rang in your head as a kind of warning to you. You believe you CAN write well and have written well, and that writing well is very important, not just to you and for you but, in a way, to and for the world, for all of us. So you need to rethink what you are doing with your writing here, and perhaps be more careful with it or ‘control’ or shape it more consciously, albeit still in what feel like personal and explorative ways. Your writing represents you but it also forms you, shaping your identity,both internally and externally.

So this week’s post is a bit dry and self-reflexive, but it feels important to perhaps at least create a watershed and rethink a few things. Maybe you should bring back the original B&W-only images and make sure there are links here to your other sites (please see link to my CV/website below), works and writings, and maybe – if you can in the very short time you have to write the Blog each Friday morning – you should also strive to maintain greater discipline and constraints – not necessarily those of other journals, but your own.

Paul O’Kane CV/Website






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