ESR 5 Blog August/September 2023: Claude Nassar

The Alienation Of Writing For The Sake Of Online Publishing

There is no shortage of issues pulling at my awareness, and of which I think it is necessary and urgent to write. In moments like this, however, when sitting to write, before I put myself through the labour of formulating raging emotions into coherent lines of text, the question becomes the following: what can my writing do in the context in which it is published?

The question does not pertain to writing in general, for writing in general, for me in particular, does a lot of things. That question refers to writing texts to be published online in a context whose readership is undefined, no matter how small or how large that readership is. The readership of an online text being undefined, as I am discussing it here, is a function of the writing; it is not the data collected by the host of the website, nor the theoretical definition of a target audience of a website or a blog. Rather, an undefined readership in this case, emerges in between two concomitant sentiments that accompany writing for casual online publishing: from one side the small number of people that encounter what I write in the noise of online stimuli, and from the other side the infinite amount of people that could, theoretically, access what I publish now, and as long as the internet is sustained.

To come back to the question evoked in the first paragraph; a text, in this case a blog, does not do much for the social issues I care about. Being aware—living with the awareness—of an ongoing issue is not the same as being informed about said issue. Information is important, but also information is abundant. Most importantly there is an abundance of information shared by people that are in positions to acquire and convey information as they live and dwell in it—positions where the conveying of information is an affirmation of existence, and of life.

I do write affirmatively in other contexts, but somehow in the context of this blog, I often find myself paralysed in between the drive to write about the issues I care about, and my feeling of being alienated from such issues. This feeling makes writing itself a dwelling in alienation, which in turn affirms and reinforces a feeling of dissociation from both: the contexts I would like to write about, and the context in which I live. It is in this paralysis that I have found myself, and you have found me, repeatedly writing about writing.

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