Writing as catharsis

A statement of intent

Posted in Ranting and rambling by Lachlan R. Dale on August 15, 2010

It is possibly only logical and inevitable that I start off this blog with some sort of statement of intent. I have held off creating a personal blog for a long time, since the creation of one seems to amount to nothing short of a shameless admission of narcissism. Instead, I have been maintaining a number of specialist music blogs (65 Degrees Music Café and AusGrind) which inevitably creep beyond their original scope into issues of art, philosophy and the wider spectrum of music. For one, a personal blog will allow me to surpass any such contextual limitations.

I have always been compelled to write. In 2001 and at 14 years old I wrote my first music article which criticized a popular Australian radio station. I submitted it to an online music zine that I had been frequenting named antiMUSIC (note; I most definitely do not endorse this site) and expected nothing to come of it. The style was brash, arrogant, intentionally provocative and not particularly well-crafted, but it also proved rather successful. I was asked to write regular reviews, interviews and opinion pieces for the site. My articles achieved some very respectable readership numbers in the following years (120,000 unique hits a month at one stage).

More recently I have indulged in writing for writing’s sake, which I have found to be be immensely cathartic. I usually muse about philosophy, science, or sociology, usually in an effort to try and flesh out concepts or just synthesize what I have learnt – it’s like a rationalist tool that forces me to very clearly order my thoughts, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone out there – especially if you want to discover what you really think about the important issues, and how well you can justify your views to yourself.

Today while reading Christopher Hitchens’ memoirs I began considering how or where I would hypothetically be able to submit or publish some of my writing (that is of course, once I finally produce something that is complete and that I am proud of). Following that train of thought it then dawned on me that keeping my writing to myself (and thereby not opening myself up to public criticism) was quite cowardly. I considered this for some time and found that I could no longer justify keeping these words locked up forever safe from criticism. They needed to be made public – if only symbolically.

Now, I have no delusions that the things I write are of any particular insight or importance – in fact often when I re-read the words I have written in one of my infrequently stream-of-consciousness outpourings, I am inclined to cringe. I don’t particularly like my writing style. To me it comes across as quasi-intellectual and self-indulgent – but I also have a sentimental fear of losing my writing. With the creation of this blog there will always be one small, quiet corner amongst the vast vapidity of the internet with an archive of my words. Of course there will be other content here – especially relating to music, with which I am irreconcilably in love – but still that is my primary intent.

Additionally, if anyone is interested in reading my music blog, you can find here: http://www.65degrees.com.au