Sunday, July 01, 2007

Belated Happy Birthday, Blog!

I totally forgot that it was my blog's fifth anniversary last June 28. I was planning to write a commemorative, retrospective entry about blogging and writing and all that jazz, but the past three days have been quite bouncy and hectic, and the upcoming week promises to show no signs of slacking off.

There's a part of me that can't believe that I've been using this URL and this space for five years now. That's as old as Dean's daughter, Sage (am I right?). In that span of time, friendships have been forged and broken, both online and offline, two official boyfriends have come and gone, and countless lovers and one-night stands have been immortalized in abstract/emotional/poetic entries. Records of books read and loved, movies reviewed and commented upon, stories and poems written and forgotten...everything's here. It's like rifling through some strange version of a photo album, except that it's all in words instead of images.

The first entry I ever wrote started out something like this:

Introductions

So. This is the Sundial Girl's blog. Welcome.

Perhaps one should explain her name. She actually got it from Juaniyo Arcellana, who once wrote to her an e-mail with the heading, "gabriela without a sundial." She found that title intriguing -- particularly since she didn't know what Mr. Arcellana meant by that remark. However, it sounded nice, hence the name.

A few more things to know before digging into her slice of life:
1. She is over 18 years old, therefore past the age of reckoning.
2. She writes, and thinks she can live on the craft of words alone. Whoopie for idealism.
3. She lives rightsmackdab in the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands (rough estimate) in the Southeast Asia area.
4. She enjoys chocolate.
5. She's a virgin (techinically).
It's a bit funny, seeing how pretentious I actually was at 19 years old. #1 is obviously, glaringly false, as is #4. (I can't believe I actually declared this fact.) #2 is a semi-sarcastic crack, but now at least I know better. #3 is neither here nor there, but I doubt that at 19, I would have an idea that I'd be taking my masters' degree abroad, and #4 is the truest statement that still holds after five years.

It's also a bit odd to see how blog theory and cultural labels have evolved over the past five years. When I started, it wasn't quite as popular as it is now, although a number of Internet aficionados were already in the swing of things. LiveJournal was the popular platform then, and forums and chatrooms and all those mediums of communication that the Internet had to offer. I started blogging for personal reasons - a metaphorical transference from the handwritten diaries that I had kept from Grade 6 to freshman year college, and so that I could keep in touch with friends already active in the blogosphere. Now, academics have noted that blogging is a form of voyeurism - as readers, we enjoy looking at the lives of other people, getting to know them on levels that we would never know otherwise. We use their experiences as examples of how to live, how to deal with problems in real-life, we jump into the drama of their lives. As writers, it's partly a form of therapy, of exorcism; on the other hand, it's also hubris - we assume that people will be interested in our lives, in the way we perform our identities online. It's another kind of mask that we put on, we wear, under the guise of "truth" and "experience." And yet, what we reveal online is still filtered, still framed by pseudonyms and secret languages, of words that contain the experience itself, but never goes beyond it.

Still, I don't think I'd stop blogging anytime soon. There's something incredibly cathartic and pleasurable about being able to distill thoughts into words, to place them in a space that can be read (because yes, writers always like being read) and there's interaction with a miniscule public who actually follow your life - and probably because you follow theirs, too. But still, hopefully I get to write another entry like this in another five years, and then we can see how things have changed. Because, as I'm sure you've realized this by now, things always change. ^_^

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