When I started this blog I partly drew on some ideas from a diary I had kept for no specific purpose. I had been writing leisurely on it while listening to lovely music and had cherished every moment I was able to get back to it, editing sentences and musing on my pages.
Those mysterious yellow characters on a black background! And the music! What a delightful experience, my imagination flying without any obligation and only for the sake of it!
After starting the Man of Roma blog, most of this diary ideas having been used up after a few months, I began writing and thinking directly for my web log. I though gradually realised that the two experiences – my totally purposeless diary and this blog, a man-of-the-street research on all that is Roman – were very different.
My blogging activity in fact implied compulsion and purpose, readers had started to appear with their feedback, I felt I had to be up to their expectations (real or imaginary,) up to my expectations, and so on.
On the contrary my diary had been the realm of playful freedom.
I wish I could get back to that state of mind, but I don’t know if I can.
It could be I am at my best in totally purposeless activities – something my family is in the mood to remind me, now and then (and probably the reason I couldn’t make a steady profession out of my writing or musical inclinations.)
Let me play with giants a bit. Cicero [see image above,] even in his letters to his family, wrote in order to acquire fame. Montaigne instead wrote just for the hell of it. An interesting comparison – fame, or any other purpose, such as money; and mere pleasure, art for art’s sake – which can correspond to two categories of writers, bloggers etc. Although one cannot say Montaigne had absolutely no purpose.
Magister would certainly exclaim: “Playful freedom? Yours is the typical attitude of the spineless bohemian. Discipline is all, and any creative activity is a careful, painful, purposeful construction.”
I remember once Maryann (together with the Commentator, recently) pushed me in this way:
“Back to work Man of Roma!
Cloppete cloppete cloppete …”
[One of the funniest comments I’ve ever received]