Sunday, June 1, 2008

On revisions and archives

I'm in my office right now trying to revise a piece of writing. I have revised this particular essay at least 30 times; its scope has significantly changed, and parts of the earlier drafts are completely gone. Blogs are funny because you don't ever really revise your postings, or at least it's not what the logic of archiving advocates. The blog archives itself, and promotes new postings rather than revisions of old postings. On the other hand, with essays or stories or poems it's all we do: revise and revise and revise until the textual object is 'done'—but it's always a 'done' in scare-quotes. We know that we could never really truly be DONE. Blogs are dated, and thus literally done when the date changes. This seems to be almost an epiphany, like the end of James Joyce's "Araby": Gazing into the blog I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my postings burned with anguish and archive fever.

(Curiously, I have returned to this posting and edited it a little; I also revised "Moving Rocks" days after it was initially posted.)