Roughly 10 years ago, as my senior year of college was slowly winding down, I found myself talking with my freshman year roommate who was trying to explain to me what a “blog” was. At first I didn’t get it. To my mind a blog was essentially a diary, and isn’t the whole point of having a diary that you were writing down your most private thoughts as a keepsake or reminder for yourself and no one else? Weren’t they suppose to be private? Who would want to hear about every minute detail of everything I did every day? Keep in mind this was before Facebook, before Twitter, before Instagram. MySpace (God help us) was the hot new thing at the time, and even that wasn’t big on sharing your personal thoughts. I kept asking myself, “Why would anyone ever want to keep a blog?”
At first I believed the whole idea of a blog was extremely stupid, but something about my friend’s enthusiasm for it wormed its way into my brain, Inception-style, and I finally broke down the next day wanting to start my own blog. Anyone who’s read since the beginning might remember that the original version of this blog actually appeared on Blogspot, but it only lasted for a little less than three months before someone invited me to LiveJournal, which has been its home ever since. I guess at this point if I really wanted to keep with the times I would move this puppy to Tumblr, but LiveJournal has been its home for so long that it would feel like a shame to uproot it. C’est Non Un Blog did get its own Facebook page last year, so at least I guess it’s not that far behind the times.
I’ve discussed the inspiration for C’est Non Un Blog’s name here in the past, so I’ll keep this brief, but basically what happened when I was trying think of a name was that I wanted something cheeky, something clever, and something that played off the whole idea that I wasn’t even that into having a blog at the time I created it. Something I was always a big fan of was ‘The Treachery of Images’, a painting by the Belgian René Magritte, which was essentially a painting of a pipe with the words “This is not a pipe” written underneath it. Magritte’s explanation of the controversial painting was that no matter how realistically he rendered the image of a pipe in the painting it would never actually be a real pipe. He’s quoted as saying, “could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe,” I’d have been lying!” I thought that this was the perfect inspiration for what I wanted to do with my blog, but my rudimentary knowledge of French from a half-year of studies in the 7th grade betrayed me up when creating the title, since, as I was informed later by a friend and as you can see from the original image below, my French was pretty shit. What I really meant to write was “Ceci n’est pas une blog” but by the time I figured that out I had already fallen in love with the original name for my blog. And upon reflecting on my error, I felt my horribly grammatically incorrect bastardization of the French language kind of worked for what was the original inspiration for the name was anyways, so I kept it.
C’est Non Un Blog has gone through several different incarnations throughout its 10 years. At first it followed the whole diary format I had originally been so skeptical of, but that didn’t last long for several key reasons. The first and probably most important reason was that it had just gotten too personal. I had broken up with someone prior to starting the blog but naively thought that we could stay friends afterwords, which led to me immaturely dragging what should have been a private fight into the very public online world, which didn’t exactly go so well for me when things started to backfire in my face. Add to that the fact that after I left college I didn’t exactly have a whole lot of personal things to write about anyways and it became obvious to me that stating my personal opinions about real people online wasn’t exactly the best thing for me to be doing socially, confirming my original skepticism about the whole format of blogging. Another thing I was also writing about at the time was my humorous (I thought) observations about the world around me, which is something I still do, but those writings have migrated to my personal Facebook page. You’ll probably notice though that even on Facebook I rarely talk about my personal life for exactly the reasons I’ve listed above, because of those lessons I learned from that first train-wreck year of blogging.
The blog was really in trouble of disappearing at that point until I stumbled upon something new to write about that would ultimately completely change the format of the blog. I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York called Hoosick Falls in a house tucked way out in the boonies where the only things you really could do to pass the time was be outdoorsy or watch movies. Well, I hate exercise and my skin basically boils when I walk out in the sun, so watching movies was something I could do exceedingly well. I originally went to school wanting to major in filmmaking, but it became apparent to me fairly early on that my lack of a rudimentary background knowledge in even the most basic of classic films was going to be a big hindrance and life kind of took over from there. After school I had an abundance of disposable income and free time so I decided to further my education by watching every movie I could get my hands on, and what followed was a DVD library that now includes over 2,100 titles and several years worth of DVD reviews of those films. I was quite productive over all that time and I have several hundred pages worth of reviews saved in Word documents on my computer to prove it. Ultimately my own ambition got the best of me and I just couldn’t keep up with workload involved with writing about all the films I was watching. But then right about the time that I was starting to burn myself out another big life change happened that would change the format yet again.
In 2006 I moved to Seattle, which became the catalyst for several key changes in how I blogged. First, I was now living over 3,000 miles away from most of my movies, which made writing about them a bit of a challenge. On the plus side I now had access to high speed internet (back home my parents are still rocking the dial-up) which made watching videos on this new fancy site called “YouTube” (you may have heard of it) something I could actually take advantage of for the first time. This was also the time in music history when it was probably the easiest it has ever been to download free music on the internet. Finding new music and listening to it pretty much instantly was about as easy as fishing with dynamite. That combined with the fact that I also now lived a few blocks from one of the best record stores in the country–Easy Street Records–meant that my obsession with movies had now switched to music. It wasn’t an immediate switch in formats though. I still wrote about movies periodically, mainly when I discovered the Seattle International Film Festival and went hog wild there, and the videos I posted were a pretty even mix of music videos and random funny shit I found on YouTube. Like my humorous observations those eventually became things I posted on Facebook instead of the blog, but it was really my friend Amy’s insistence that I create a mixtape for her that officially sealed the fate for what is now the current incarnation of C’est Non Un Blog. Based on the music videos I was posting at the time she saw that we had pretty similar tastes in music and recognizing that I had my hand firmly stuck in the cookie jar of new music asked me if I’d share a few tracks with her, and instead of just sharing those songs with her alone I decided to share the mixtape on my blog for anyone else that might also be interested and the rest, as they say, was history. When I realized that there were more than a few people who were interested in hearing what I was listening to (I say that as if huge numbers of people actually read this) I decided to blog about music full-time, which catches us up to where we are today, 10 years later.
I’ve read a lot of my friends’ blogs over these 10 years and I’ve seen most of them dry up and disappear. My only advice to anyone looking to write a blog or keep theirs going for the long haul is just to write about what you love. If you’re not doing that then blogging becomes work, and who wants to do work when they don’t have to? What drives me to keep coming back and posting after all these years is that the things I talk about when I do post are the things I actually do really like. I’m sharing this stuff because I want you to really like it too, and if I succeed in doing that for at least one other person then I feel like this whole exercise is worth it. I’m extremely grateful for all the people who still read my poor excuse at blogging after all these years and if you’d like to keep reading just throw me a comment every once and a while to let me know you’re still out there. Better yet, I’m all for you sharing this blog with anyone you think might be interested in reading it. At heart I’m a narcissistic attention hog, so the more attention I think I have the more frequently my ego will force me post. I mean, regardless I’m going to keep writing, but every pat on the back helps keep the fire burning. Before I really start to sound like an asshole I’ll leave you with this: If you’ve ever wondered, if you have a blog and I know you have a blog, then yes, I’m still reading it, and I’m looking forward to every new post you’re willing to share with me.
Thanks again for 10 years of posting and here’s hoping there’s at least 10 more!