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I Was a Teenage Blog Queen

It all started early one spring as exams were wrapping up. My group of university friends, together 8 months of the year, were once again facing the harsh reality of being ripped away from each other, from Saskatoon to Timbuktu. Rather than trying to send emails to everyone (there were quite a few of us), we all got livejournals and started blogging, with the promise that we wouldn't tell the people at home (or wherever we were spending the summer) what we were up to.

Some of us were more successful than others.

It all started early one spring as exams were wrapping up. My group of university friends, together 8 months of the year, were once again facing the harsh reality of being ripped away from each other, from Saskatoon to Timbuktu. Rather than trying to send emails to everyone (there were quite a few of us), we all got livejournals and started blogging, with the promise that we wouldn't tell the people at home (or wherever we were spending the summer) what we were up to.

Some of us were more successful than others.

Wendy's died in late June, when her schedule at Starbucks became too hectic. Liz' was sporadic, and officially passed on when she got back to school. Diana erased hers, embarrassed by a graphic telling of an inappropriate story. I updated madly until I left for my summer job in the Internet-barren wilds of Quebec. But the bug had been implanted and I couldn't stop blogging, and even kept an online journal at different times in my life. (dying off September 12, 2001, as many did. It was too hard to write about trivialities after that.) I still have a blog on my own site, and keep a secreted-away journal for when things aren't appropriate for my own easily identifiable site.

I don't just keep a blog, though. I also read at least a few dozen journals and blogs, from Footnotes to Mopie, from my friend Morag's blog to Jenny's page. I've read WilWheaton.net. I've read William Gibson, Dave Barry and Neil Gaiman. I get something from these. I feel for the people writing them, for the people in their lives. Rob from Darn Tootin' has me worried about his daughter. I did a dance of joy when I found out the girl behind Trancejen didn't have MS after all, but something treatable, and danced even more when she announced she could see out of her blind eye.

I email these people on occasion, send them goodwill. It's more immediate than television, more intimate than a newspaper. It's something you can get online. Journal comics have their ways of touching the same emotions and hitting the same immediacy (James Kochalka's comic commemorating the shuttle crash, for instance). What they lack in words they make up for in art.

You may not know as many details of the lives of your favourite journal comic artists as you would your favorite online 'journal-ists,' but they hit the same basic points: the immediacy of the internet, the ease of self-publishing, the sense of intimacy that comes from reading about someone on a day-to-day basis and the one-way connection that comes from identifying with someone's life online.

I'm not as involved in the journal comics I read, but I'm sure one will come along some day as compelling as the day-by-day account of the lives of her cats in Bitchypoo.

 

Illustration by Bill Duncan.