Still finding myself utterly stymied about how or why to write a post-Y2K-style blog in what will soon officially the Trump era, yet still feeling compelled to do so. I’ve overthought lots and lots of potential post ideas, all vetoed for one reason or another. But as Antonio Machado said, se hace camino al andar. This week I’ve been reading a lot about and by the writer Mark Fisher, who died this week by suicide. I was not aware of his work before, but the outpouring by many thinkers I respect has been massive. A 2010 interview, recently reposted on Verso, mentions blog writing as a potential antidote to the trauma of doing a PhD, and “tricking [oneself] back into doing serious writing.”
Rowan Wilson: Your blog, k-punk, is one of the leading blogs for cultural analysis. When did you first start writing it and why did you start?
Mark Fisher: Thank you. I started it in 2003. At the time, I was working as a Philosophy lecturer in a Further Education college in Kent – I reflect on some of my experiences there in Capitalist Realism. I was then quite badly depressed – not because of teaching, which I enjoyed, but for a whole series of long-term reasons – and I started blogging as a way of getting back into writing after the traumatic experience of doing a PhD. PhD work bullies one into the idea that you can’t say anything about any subject until you’ve read every possible authority on it. But blogging seemed a more informal space, without that kind of pressure. Blogging was a way of tricking myself back into doing serious writing. I was able to con myself, thinking, “it doesn’t matter, it’s only a blog post, it’s not an academic paper”. But now I take the blog rather more seriously than writing academic papers. I was actually only aware of blogs for a short while before I started mine. But I could quite quickly see that the blog network around Simon Reynolds’ blog – which was the first network I started to read – fulfilled many of the functions that the music press used to. But it wasn’t just replicating the old music press; there were also sorts of strange, idiosyncratic blogs which couldn’t have existed in any other medium. I saw that – contrary to all the clichés – blogs didn’t have to be online diaries: they were a blank space in which writers could pursue their own lines of interest (something that it‘s increasingly difficult for writers to do in print media, for a number of reasons).
Blank spaces are often just as terrifying as they are exhilarating. I think I’ll have to start this blog by scribbling all over the pages.
Soundtrack by William Onyeabor, who also died this week. Wish I could stop meeting such tremendous talents this way.