|The author in less bloggy times.|
Novelist time is reptile time; novelists tend to be ruminant and brooding, nursers of ancient grievances, second-guessers, Tuesday afternoon quarterbacks, retrospectators, endlessly, like slumping hitters, studying the film of their old whiffs. You find novelists going over and over the same ground in their novels [...] configuring and reconfiguring the same little set of preoccupations, haunted by missed opportunities. That may be because getting a novel written, or a bunch of novels, means that you are going to miss a lot of opportunities, and so missing them is something you have to be not only willing but also equipped by genes and temperament to do. Blogging, I think, is largely about seizing opportunities, about pouncing, about grabbing hold of hours, events, days and nights as they are happening, sizing them up and putting them into play with language, like a juggler catching and working into his flow whatever the audience has in its pockets.
Then there's that whole business of the Comments.
The first thing that occurs to me, reading that, is that Chabon spent way too much time on that paragraph--you can tell he's new to writing for the internet. The second is that, of course, he's quite right--if you assume blogging to be a particular kind of thing. The thing he thinks it is, is, indeed, what it usually is. But one thing I like about litblogging, as opposed to, say, tech blogging, is that it specifically doesn't depend upon timeliness and close attention. It can be contemplative. One can write about things published thirty years ago, that nobody is making any money on. One can blog in reptile time, as he puts it.
The blog, like any technology, has many uses. Zen sandbox is one of them. Not that, say, responding to Anis Shivani posts is remotely zen--but engagement is a choice, level of engagement is a choice. One can ask a litblog to fit into one's writing life, to support and nurture it. Which I think this one has done for us. Otherwise we wouldn't have kept it going for (!) four years.