You’re Only As Old As You Feel…

… and I feel old today.

My right ankle has become stiff. It’s an odd thing, probably related to arthritis, but not (I think) related to my ongoing battle against gout. Gout is an unholy pain akin to having small vices attached to your bones and especially your joints, slowly crushing as miniature pixies of absolute doom cackle.

Well, maybe I’m the only one to hear the pixies.

And this time, I don’t hear the pixies.

Writing this leads me to time, and the intersection of time and information. I debated where I might deliver this information: Twitter, blog post, diary entry, muttered explitive, podcast. While each of these have their obvious differences, the one I highlighted in my mind was a combinatin of immediacy and staying time.

A muttered explitive is instant: you utter it, and then it is typically gone and forgotten. It is an outburst of thought or (more likely) raw emotion, unlikely to have any staying time at all unless you unfortunately had this outburst in the presence of witnesses, and particularly those with fragile conceptions of human behaviour.

Twitter, too, is instant, but has staying power for a few hours. There have been casual comments that I’ve made on this many-to-many instant message system which have been read and commented on hours later, at which point it was instant for the recipient. But the tweets I made yesterday have been forgotten by all — including me.

A diary entry is, in a way, instant, but has no staying power at all. It takes but a few minutes to scribble down “I feel like crap today” in a diary, but then it is pretty much gone. I don’t have any real compunction to read any book twice, let alone a book that I’ve written full of immediate thoughts that needed escape. (This is something which makes writing so difficult to me: I hate to review something, up to the point where I discover something new I want to say, or where I really want to approach the description a different way. This is not helping my academic studies either!). So they are written down, expressed more eloquently and extensively than the explitive or the tweet (I hope) and then forgotten.

The blog post is very similar to the diary entry, with less of an instant gratification and some intention (however slim) that it be read by others. But its staying power is variable. A really good blog post gets read frequently, linked to often, and spread throughout the blogosphere, carried on wings of gossip we call “social networking” and “semantic relationship”. It can have enormous staying power, becoming a reference or touchstone for people for whom it is instantly new and fresh, no matter when it was written.

The podcast is similar to the blog but for one pair of significant differences: on the one hand, a blog post can change and mutate over time, not only by the original author amending or corrected or extending his or her ideas, but also from the extensions provided by the discussion by commenters; on the other hand, a blog post is a textual medium, searchable and findable. A podcast does not have that, unless it’s full text is supplied somewhere (or at least the key phrases) and that really turns it into a blog post. Granted, podcast episodes are arguably easier to create than blog posts, just because most find it easier to speak rather than write (not necessarily in crowds, but among friends).

So, I chose a blog post. Why? A tweet is instant gratification, but it does not allow space to muse. (Although a tweet will be generated from this blog post anyway..) An uttered explitive happened anyway, almost involuntarily, but didn’t truly feel satisfying — no matter how many repetitions and variations I seemed to have tried. An audio blog was possible, but that requires an infrastructure that I haven’t yet set up. A diary suffers a similar fate, as I do not yet have a suitable book to write in (all the books I have are suitable for pocket-sized sudden notes).

I’ve heard the notion repeated numerous times that it takes a million words of crap before getting to the real proper writing. Thank you for participating in my training! 😉

But my ankle still feels like crap.

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