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Re: conlanging and journaling

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Monday, February 11, 2008, 17:37

On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:59:43 +0000, Jan van Steenbergen wrote:

> --- Rick Harrison skrzypszy: > > > I have this vague, shapeless feeling that conlanging and writing a > > diary/journal are similar activities in some ways. > > > > If you're just doing it for yourself, you can sort of do whatever > > you want; there is no right or wrong, no preferred practice or > > unpopular options. > > > > But there is a potential audience in the shadows of the mind of > > many journal-keepers. Grandchildren? Future historians? My future > > self? For some of us the potential audience is not clearly > > defined. > > > > And the existence of a potential audience limits your options. > > > > Erm... that's all I can put into words at the moment, the rest of > > my thoughts are too amorphous to enwordulate at this stage. > > > > Has anyone blogged, posted or essayed about similarities between > > conlanging and journaling? > > Interesting thoughts! My personal feeling is slightly different, > however. I would rather compare conlanging to all those kinds of > creative activity, that people most likely perform in private, just > for themselves... Writing poetry, writing stories, writing music, > drawing, painting, sculpturing, photography, etc. Not by definition > something to be secretive about, but on the other hand, the reactions > of a potential audience, be it the internet community, be it future > generations within your own family, are not the primary reason for > doing it.
I see it the same way as you, Jan. Conlanging, to most of us, is not so much like writing a diary, it is rather like writing poetry or making music for oneself, i. e. making stuff that *could* be presented to an audience, but is made mainly for one's own pleasure - if others read and appreciate it, only the better, but it is primarily made for the author's own enjoyment. Then, of course, there are those who conlang with an explicit intention to publish it - be it that the conlang is to go into a commercial media product, to be proposed as an international auxiliary language, or whatever.
> Writing a diary is in my opinion a slightly different story. I'm not > much of a diary-writer myself, but I would say writing a diary is a > far more private kind of activity. Of course, I'm not speaking about > blogs and the like. I believe most people who write a diary rather > wouldn't want their children to read them after their death.
Yes. A diary (as opposed to a weblog, which is personal but public) is a very private affair which is explicitly *NOT* meant to be presented to anyone else, while most of us would feel no objection to publishing their conlangs on a web site (any many of us do).
> I used to write music for a couple of years, quite intensively. Most > of my work was performed, but I can't say there was a real > breakthrough. Once I got a full-time job and a family, I couldn't > uphold it any longer, and changed my path to conlanging. Although > conlanging is something I had done before, I can say it really took > the place of my composing.
I sometimes write music myself, which I intend to perform some day. Like my conlangs, my music is intended to be shared with an audience, though my main reason for making both is personal - my music and my conlangs are meant to express my thoughts and feelings, and made for my own pleasure.
> Those of us who have websites for their conlangs must surely be aware > of the fact that there may actually be people reading them. I'm not > sure how this affects conlanging itself, though. Sometimes I have > made modifications in my work as a result of feedback by readers. But > conlanging is still something I do for my own fun (or call it a > calling, if you like). Pleasing the audience is certainly not my > primary reason.
It is the same to me. I am not at all like a pop music composer who writes songs with dollar signs in his eyes. The culture of the Elves of Inis Albion is a very personal work; it is made the way it is because it is meant to reflect my personal worldview and nothing else. I *will* publish it on a web site which is now under construction, but it does not really matter that much how many people will visit that web site. While I appreciate feedback, and may pick up a suggestion from a reader, I do it entirely for my own enjoyment.
> I have the impression that nowadays there are a lot of conlangers who > actually started conlanging AFTER they saw conlangs online. They > start conlanging because there are others doing it as well. In other > ways, a bit of the opposite from Tolkien's Secret Vice story. I can't > speak for them, but it may very well be that they are very much > guided by the opinions of other conlangers.
Yes. Old Albic would not be the way it is now without the online conlanging community. Many of its features are inspired by what I saw in other people's conlangs. Well, nobody exists in isolation; we are all influenced by what we see around us. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf


Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>