petite anglaise

January 11, 2005


Filed under: navel gazing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:25 am

I have a busy morning ahead so I hope to write a proper post later in the day, but I wanted to share a quote from the book I am currently reading – Non-Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk – which I think has some relevance to anyone out there who writing about their life on a daily basis, whether it be in screenplay, book or blog form. The following excerpt is taken from the essay {You are Here}, and it echoes some of the concerns I expressed here.

“..maybe we’re headed down a road toward mindless, self-obsessed lives where every event is reduced to words and camera angles. Every moment imagined through the lens of a cinematographer. Every funny or sad remark scribbled down for sale at the first opportunity.

A world Socrates couldn’t imagine, where people would examine their lives, but only in terms of movie and paperback potential.

Where story no longer follows as the result of an experience.

Now the experience happens in order to generate a story.”

I’m not selling anything here (apart from possibly my own soul). In fact I pay for a domain and an ISP, carry no google ads, and write purely for my own pleasure and amusement. But I still sometimes wonder how healthy it is…

I think the deluge (not to use the expression ‘tsunami’ because I fear it is now an ‘off limits’ word in any context other than 26 December 2004) of new visitors yesterday sent by Michele needs some explanation. It is a game played on Michele’s site to send her visitors off to discover a new blog every day. They came, they saw, they commented. Maybe some of them will even come back. But I notice my regular blogfriends were very quiet throughout. And I missed you. Come back!


  1. Hey, the Old Guard is still here!

    Palahniuk (that I discovered with Fight Club) is the only author that made me throw up while reading a book. Not because it was badly written, on the contrary, I suspect that it was his goal to provoke a physical reaction in the readers.
    The book in question is Haunted, be careful if you start that one!

    Comment by Chninkel — January 11, 2005 @ 11:31 am

  2. A thoughtful post. I feel that a blog is rather like those Tamagoshis that kids used to have that required constant attention. Any tidbit is seized upon to provide fuel for the literary fires. This also begs the question: if we are becoming self-obsessive, is the internet the creator or the medium of that obsession?

    Comment by Vernon — January 11, 2005 @ 12:03 pm

  3. ?????????? He did that to a few audience members during a recent reading tour, as well…

    Comment by adrian — January 11, 2005 @ 12:03 pm

  4. Chninkel – that book isn’t out until May?!? How did you get hold of it? Using your ‘grand pouvoir’?

    Comment by petite — January 11, 2005 @ 12:08 pm

  5. ARC on eBay?

    Comment by adrian — January 11, 2005 @ 12:12 pm

  6. or ARC reviewers copy, for reviewing purposes, or friend of Chuck…

    Comment by adrian — January 11, 2005 @ 12:14 pm

  7. Actually, it has already come out (depending on where you live…)

    Comment by adrian — January 11, 2005 @ 12:17 pm

  8. I had a digital copy of one of the novels. A friend of mine got it in the States, he went to one of Palahniuk’s readings too. I’m not sure if the book is a compilation of novels, it wasn’t clear.
    But that novel was enough to turn my stomach upside down.

    Comment by Chninkel — January 11, 2005 @ 12:22 pm

  9. I find blogging does make me more self-obsessed but also stops me boring people with huge long emails. So it’s a good thing.

    Comment by Claire — January 11, 2005 @ 12:56 pm

  10. So THAT’s what happened! :shock:

    I felt like I was in a familiar bar with the usual dozen patrons, and suddenly the place was packed with a loud, cheerful, slightly dizzy crowd of people I’d never seen before.

    Brought out my bashful side, it did. :mrgreen:

    Comment by Mathieu — January 11, 2005 @ 12:58 pm

  11. I suspect we’ve always been self-obsessed, but the blog medium allows us to publish our thoughts (however inane and trivial) more easily.

    Comment by witho — January 11, 2005 @ 12:58 pm

  12. Hi Petite, I’m still here; like Mathieu, I clam up in the presence of lots of strangers! I’m not like Claire, though; blogging does make me more self-obsessed, but I STILL write loads of huge long emails…

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — January 11, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

  13. If Blogging makes you feel better about yourself or events or even if it just makes you feel more significant in a huge world then that’s good enough to be doing it. There will always be the doom-mongers, the naysayers or those who take the rip, fine.

    I think it’s good to look at oneself as there are so many pressures in work, life, family and culture that strip away someones individuality.

    Comment by Legomen — January 11, 2005 @ 1:50 pm

  14. I’m part of the NEW guard! lol

    This is quite an interesting idea. I’ve always been a bit of a writer and journal keeper, though, and this is just a different form of journal. Except that people are READING this, so instead of being as open, I’m nurturing the more humorous side. At least, I’m trying to. Lately I’ve just been nurturing the knitting side. LOL

    Comment by Kathy — January 11, 2005 @ 3:39 pm

  15. I find your posts a pleasure to read whether funny or serious, especially when I have a nice cup of tea on the go at the same time. You use your blog to pass on opinions and ideas in an entertaining way and that’s a very positive and generous thing to do. I came across your blog quite by accident and it’s led me to a blogging world that I knew nothing about. I’m inspired to start my own. So thank you for …..not least for waking up the obsessive, introspective, self- indulgent beast within me. I’ll be neglecting the children next.

    Comment by rachel — January 11, 2005 @ 3:49 pm

  16. I suppose a mea culpa is in order. I too, was part of yesterdays onslaught.

    To your regula readers, I apologize if you felt a bit squeezed- now make room at the table and let me pull up a chair. I am a lurker no longer.

    The quote struck me- ‘The experience happens in order to generate a story.’

    Imagine, an experience that bypasses self reflection.

    Scares the hell out of me.

    Comment by sigmund, carl and alfred — January 11, 2005 @ 5:18 pm

  17. As human beings I think we are all self obsessed in one way or another, whether it remains in the head or goes on the page (or on the web). Blogging leads on to regularly read the blogs of others, so taking an interest in the ‘self obsession’ of others!

    And haven’t people always seen life experience in terms of structuring a story – even in the most minor terms? Everyday occurences find their way into coversation with friends, family and colleagues. Who hasn’t made the mental note of ‘oh I must tell so-and-so about this next time I see them’. I believe that blogging is just another extension of this, even if it becomes somewhat more refined and thoughtful.

    Comment by stressqueen — January 11, 2005 @ 6:39 pm

  18. The book sounds very interesting, thanks for pointing us to it!

    Comment by Coquette — January 11, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

  19. I did a project as part of my French degree on Eighteenth Century literature and how the epistolary novel (i.e. one made up entirely of “letters” usually made out to be genuine, e.g. Les Liaisons Dangereuses) became so popular in the latter half of the century. We have always been interested in reading about other people’s “real” experiences and intrigues. They were the blogs of their time, I guess.

    Here’s an interesting quote from Carl Jung (translated into English):

    “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes”


    Comment by witho — January 11, 2005 @ 11:15 pm

  20. marvellous Witho

    I’m feeling better already.

    Comment by petite — January 11, 2005 @ 11:30 pm

  21. p.a., do you think you could put up a big red sign saying “CELINE DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE SECURITY CODE” just above the “submit button”? Cheers, much appreciated.

    I was just saying that being as self-obsessed as the next blogger, I often am tempted to talk about me me me in my blog. However, I question my motives for wanting to do so, and I don’t actually think it would be that positive for me, as I do love “looking inside” (thanks witho, great quote), but I probably would be incapable of being completely honest in my blog, as I would worry about entertaining my readers and being liked.

    Besides, I don’t have the talent for writing that you and others are blessed with, so I’ll think I’ll just stick to writing about my job…

    Comment by céline — January 12, 2005 @ 9:44 am

  22. hello! i think it’s quite healthy having an anonymous outlet which other people can respond to, without there being any other obligations between them and you/me!

    Comment by vitriolica — January 12, 2005 @ 2:52 pm

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