prose fiction didn’t really hit

prose fiction didn’t really hit its stride until after the printing press. question: is this also true of non-fiction? what were the dominant forms for non-fiction before 1500? I seem to remember the heyday of the diary, in English lit, starting with the 1700s.

creativity and technology are connected.

how do you communicate the excitement and value of blogging?

I loved Cory Doctorow’s essay on the weblog as backup brain, and I think that concept would have appeal for many who have no interest in participating in “peer-review” blogging. I keep recommending it to C, who sends zillions of emails with neat stuff he’s found, and has a hell of a time organizing bookmarks.

for someone already drawn to writing, the weblog has the same value as the timed freewrite, the daily exercise, or any other tricks to keep writing and exercising that skill, again, regardless of its connection to the rest of the world. but here the connection begins to mean something, the link to another writer or from another writer. my experience is that writers love to talk about writing and to share their experience with like-minded souls. (so don’t be afraid of the meta-blogging; it’s what writers do.) and here’s an environment where my thoughts can draw from yours, where you can pull out a quote or a concept and take it in an entirely different direction. (what John Hiler calls the borg.)

the form matters, as much as the people do. really, I mean that. w/out the form being there, without the conventions of format and the means of production, this mighty web of words doesn’t exist, at least not this way. I am better informed, more thoughtful, more aware than I was before I came into this genre of writing and entered its world…and I was making web pages, thinking about the web, thinking about other things in the world, before last April when I started my weblog, and started reading other people’s blogs…I was writing before then, long before the web even existed. (I wrote my first poems in 1983, my first stories a couple of years after that. in 1992, when the web was brand-new, I was writing my first novella, which at the time I thought was a novel)

I seem to remember (from lit classes, reading, etc.) that it took a while, after the invention of the printing press, for writing forms to come into being that really used the new format in ways that were native to it. and that was with a technology (writing, books) that had already existed for thousands of years; but w/in that context, cheap books were a revelation – a revolution. (note that the Reformation, democratic movements, and mass literacy all follow this technological advance.)

maybe it’s not the best analogy, but today it’s what I’ve got.