A plain page

May 30, 2004

For some time I have been entertaining the thought of a journal site with no navigation. An exercise in true minimalism, getting rid of the clutter to concentrate on writing. Where there are dated entries that stay up until the next dated entry comes along, and the old entry just gets spiked. Where the concept of ‘archives’ is considered a bore (I’ll probably just shove these writings in a drawer somewhere).

I grew tired of the format of every blog you come across, in doing something similar I began to feel constrained, I was sacrificing nowness and ephemerality. I wanted a bolder experiment, and I wanted to lose what I had already done. Just as our friends cage us into the impressions they have of us, a numbing identity can be formed for a writer by what he has written. I wanted a place to write for the moment, forgetting what has been done before.

There is something attractive about a fragment of writing existing in isolation for just a short time. Not adding to what has gone before, not suggesting anything to come. Get rid of navigation and suddenly history is gone. The repository and identity once here wiped out. A fresh page, a chance to start again. Every time. For all there is an iceberg under the water. Hard to believe looking at this page that there are half a million words beneath it, somewhere. Does it not emphasise that this is what I have to say right now?

A website that grows quite large starts to lay down strata. Some sites have to be archaeologically mined. But who has the time, who can be bothered? In the words of a satirical epitaph: ‘Here lie the remains of one who’s dead, by all accounts very interesting they said… Stop! Traveller…!’