[Let me preface this by saying I am no expert on current events. In fact, I consciously avoid the news, unless something is totally saturating the airwaves and I can’t escape it—a practice of Tim Ferriss’s that I taught myself when I was 10 years old and made totally depressed and anxious by my news-addicted household.]
When I was a child, I was obsessed with Anne Frank. I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, but it had to do with the power of language and writing in preserving history, and telling a story that will live on long past the owner. It was also about living in a time and a place, however brutal and horrifying, where history was being made.
I thought about this a lot when I was watching the Gulf War on TV (like I said above, news-addicted household), and later during Somalia, and during Bosnia. A book called Zlata’s Diary came out of the Bosnian War and we were made to read it for school and of course it is much like the Diary of Anne Frank, and of course, I was a little—jealous?—of this girl’s opportunity to be the voice of a war.
During this time I dreamed of filling volumes (because I was really hoping to, uhh, not die) of hand-written journals that wouldn’t be found until after my death, when of course they would be published and I would posthumously become the voice of a generation. I still don’t know if that is the most or least narcissistic thing ever.
Well fast forward almost twenty years to the current happenings in Egypt, which I’ve been following, and what I’m finding most fascinating about this particular history-in-the-making is the namelessness and the facelessness of the uprising. Perhaps time will rewrite that, but the media does seem to be going on and on about the role of Facebook and Twitter in anonymizing and assembling a revolution.
And all this seems to tie back into a theme that just. keeps. popping up (synchronicity, I’ve recently learned, is the word); a question that has constantly plagued me and torn me from blogging, even though I’ve found myself returning to it time and time again. (My first website—Geocities what!—was in 1997, then came LiveJournal from 2001 to 2006 before I fell in love and forgot about the internet.) :
If everyone’s talking [via blogs, Facebook, Twitter], is there anyone actually listening?
While I don’t think I would, could, or should be the voice of a generation, if there is no hope of becoming that voice, or of even being heard above the cacophony, why put pen to paper? (Or fingers to keyboard, or whatever.)
Oh right. Because writing clocks in between breathing and eating for some of us. Fuck.