Writing the (Embodied) Self Into Being: Personal Blogging as Creative Non-Fiction & the Issue of Corporeality Online
Over the past five years, as use of the Internet – formerly better known as the realm of geeks, elites, and researchers – has become more “everyday”, the phenomenon of blogging has taken the world by storm. Never before has the voice of the people been so prominent, or the means by which to promote this voice, accessible. There are blogs discussing every topic one can imagine, and yet despite (or perhaps because of) this almost saturation of information, more and more people create, update, and read blogs every day. One of the most intriguing forms of online writing is the personal blog, wherein individuals document even the most banal minutiae of their lives for the reading pleasure of the public.
It is my contention that personal blogging forms an integral present-day element of the genre of creative non-fiction. This paper will contemplate the ways in which personal blogs contribute to the exploration and experience of selfhood – both its construction and comprehension – by thinking about the way that blogs do two things. Firstly, a personal blog – often documenting events that happen away from the keyboard – operate as a space wherein the online and offline intersect. In doing so, blogs offer snapshots not only of the author, but also of the author’s physical surroundings, and their embodied experience. A far cry from the non-corporeal sentimentality of early Internet theory, it is my argument that blogging (and being online as a blogger) is indeed very much an embodied undertaking. Place, space, location, and physicality are all important factors in the construction of online selves. Secondly, writing a blog forces the author to ‘step outside the self’ and narrate one’s own life in a creative and engaging manner for an audience, thus evoking notions of storytelling and performance in the exploration and representation of self.
Keywords: Internet, Blogging, Identity, Creative Non-fiction, Embodiment
Erin Lee Stark
PhD Candidate, Internet Studies, Curtin University of Technology