Blogging is a 21st century art form and right now it is the most vibrant creative outlet in society. Ideas flow like water in the blogosphere and Weblogs.com ticks over with updated posts every few seconds. Anyone can publish a weblog and that's partly what makes it so vibrant. But also, there is a pioneering energy about blogging - we're not sure what we're doing but we know it is significant. These thoughts occured to me as I was reading an essay by the Indian writer V.S.Naipaul, called 'Reading And Writing: A Personal Account'. In it Naipaul wrote that the novel as an art form was at its peak in the 19th century, when it was invented:
"For sixty or seventy years in the nineteenth century the novel in Europe, developing very fast in the hands of a relay of masters, became an extraordinary tool. It did what no other literary form - essay, poem, drama, history - could do. It gave industrial or industrializing or modern society a very clear idea of itself. It showed with immediacy what hadn't been shown before; and it altered vision. Certain things in the form could be modified or played with later, but the pattern of the modern novel had been set, and its program laid out.
All of us who have come after have been derivative. We can never be the first again[....]They are the first; they didn't know it when they began, but then they do know, and they are full of excitement at the discovery. That excitement comes over to us, and there is an unrepeatable energy in the writing."
Naipaul went on to say that there is "an air of discovery" about 19th century novel writing, that disappeared when the "originators" burned themselves out. In the 20th century, cinema was the new "universal art" according to Naipaul. I'd like to go a step further and state here that blogging is the 21st century's universal art. From my PC in New Zealand, I feel as if I discover a new idea every day reading weblogs. And, to paraphrase The Carpenters, weblogging has only just begun!
Blogging is on the cusp of becoming mainstream, like the novel did during the 19th century. Witness what is happening within US politics. One of the leading Presidential candidates, Howard Dean, has tapped into blogging as a way to garner votes. Dave Winer and Lawrence Lessig amongst others are exploring this significant new path for blogging.
Yes my fellow bloggers, it's an exciting era to live in. Aren't you glad you're an Originator? ;-)