In this postmodern digital, post-millennial age filled with 16-year-olds going through drastic, dramatic identity crises and writhing in angst like a person who’s smoked too much bad weed that hits the lungs hard, you have these adolescents blogging about catastrophic relationship failures – the size of a 8.0 scale earthquake – and making the entire universe revolve around them. It’s such a despicable quest for identity and validation from strangers across the globe. The smiley (with its numerous devious forms) has replaced the hug, the like has replaced the warmth of a handshake – flesh meeting flesh, and browsing through blog after blog, hunting down followers is now a walk in Eden. Even the paperback or hardcover finds annihilation, because of the e-reader or iPad, which only makes you skip lines and not even visualize properly. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the young, it’s also time-traveling oldies which this post-apocalyptic wasteland called the ‘internet for acceptance’ has ensnared. And I’ve been there myself, trapped, crying for solace, watching the like button on Facebook or WordPress light up with the attention of a guard at the gate on duty during war, and fuck, I wasted time – years honestly, because if you put the hours together, you’ll get a clusterfuck of ages, which will stab you right in the stomach because you’re fucking responsible. But suffering shapes you, and it made me stop caring about likes or followers. I often unfollow and re-follow blogs, because of content reasons. Often their content appeals, and sometimes I’m disturbed. But hell, I can’t keep doing that too. I don’t want that to become my next cyber-heroin. I think too much time on the internet leads to a disassociation and a completely fragmented identity that can’t root itself on solid ground anymore, and soon you’ll find yourself talking in lols in the real world. You’ll become bat shit crazy and not in a good way. These days writing is about marketing too. Your content doesn’t have to be great, or hell, even good, if you know how to promote yourself. I find blogs about how to blog better, and I wonder if these people are writers or marketing professionals – zero imagery, zero analogy usage, zero storytelling, and just points like moles on parched skin: Do this, do this and do this. And then there are posts on blogging etiquette. Oh, for fucks sake! We aren’t at dinner at a Three Michelin Star restaurant. Now, here’s my perspective on guys flirting with women on blogs. Firstly, if you’re writing about sex, you aren’t going to get guys saying, “Lovely. Cheerio.” Well you’ll get some ‘gentlemen’ bloggers saying that, but here’s the irony: We’re not jacking off to your post with our light teasing. They are, because when you go to their blogs, you’ll find them in suits with impeccable manners, but re-blogging stuff only by women writers they literally venerate. And a lot of men can write better than those women about the same topic, but you won’t find a single re-blog of a post by a man, and these bastards who’re secret Batemans call us degenerates. Now sure, if a guy sends you something vulgar and downright disgusting, then he’s a creep. But if it’s an inside joke, or he’s just mildly teasing, you can ignore or delete, if you don’t like it, and he’ll get the point, but don’t rally up the women militia and scream ‘sexism’ because he’s probably laughing and sent you something while he chugged his beer down. And tomorrow you’re not in his head anymore. You are not the center of the universe and definitely not the center of the universe of every man who visits your blog, which isn’t even that good to begin with. Going back to content. Just write man. Write your heart out or let ideas float like bright images once the doors of perception are opened. I hope you get the allusion. And I’m talking about ideas that go against the grain of the overdone blog marketing: Fluent prose, sonnets, villanelles, satire, or nonfiction with imagery. Something different and out there, and why do you care so much about a like or a re-blog? Just let your consciousness soak your page, the syllables touching it lightly like a soft snare tap, or louder like a guitar smash. And then there’s this whole notion of staying true to yourself when you write – see, here’s the deal, your identity isn’t fixed; it’s subject to change by will or circumstances and as you evolve cognitively and emotionally, you’ll find yourself drawn away from cliché and tending to embrace the abstract or a richer, spicier storytelling, and you’ll want to experiment, to separate the artist from the artistry, or write about something alien, anticipating the trend or going against it, instead of embracing it. So, sort yourself out. Find peace in solitude if you’re lonely. Read books. Or socialize and make new friends and also write. Don’t become a social media junkie. Trust me you’re fucking with your neurotransmitters and I think getting stoned is a better, healthier way to do that!
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)