The second-greatest living American writer [*] with a weblog, William Gibson, is departing the "blogosphere". This we learn from journalist Karlin Lillington, who interviewed him recently for the Irish Times. He will no longer be "terraforming" his "memes" to the "hypermesh".
Gibson told Lillington that the daily confessional might ruin his creative process. He's quite right to think so. He's an artist, which means he collects and refines ideas over time, and has a gift for organizing his language to maximal effect. Put another way, he chooses his words carefully, and he chooses the contexts in which they will have most impact. (Optimizing compiler writers will understand what we mean - blabbing webloggers probably won't).
Gibson also has great fun with signs, with semiotics, and the synthetic nature of reality - again, strangers to most webloggers, who favor the banality of consensus. As a writer, Gibson has no obligation to us to reveal his "processes" to us: but he might feel some obligation, we guess, as one of the treasures of the literary world, to continue delivering great novels. Or not. But having forsaken his "blog", we feel much more confident he will be able to preserve his mind, and be in better shape to do so.
The journal provided a voyeuristic insight to his reactions to his latest, and best novel Pattern Recognition, which he defended against comparisons to Thomas Pynchon's The Crying Of Lot 49. Quite unnecessarily, as Gibson's latest (already eulogized here) can stand up and salute when the comparison is made.
The guy has absorbed a lot of signals, in this case from designer culture, and chosen the best. It's a delight be to be transported by such a skillful writer, and there isn't a page which isn't illuminated by wit, observation and invention.
So who can fill the void left by William Gibson?
Esther Dyson has been activated, and she burst forth from her pod at a site of great symbolic significance (we won't spoil the gag - but click here) this week. Esther has lowered her already low-earth orbit to meld with the "blogosphere": and this is surely a match made in heaven.
Esther, apparently very big in the 1980s, was last seen spinning past earth here. But at least she is prepared to define the uselessness of her weblog upfront, which will save us a lot of time:
"A lot of what I do is stuff I simply can't write about: internal meetings with portfolio companies, corporate regime change, private briefings and such."
Corporate regime change!
Now you tell us if this is a net gain or a net loss. For "blogdom", it's a blow. But the rest of us can breathe a sigh of relief. ®
[*] Gibson was second-greatest only to Neal Pollack - who is the Greatest American Living Writer [book - book - sample audio], and who is as funny as sin, and has some outstanding writing on his weblog (But you must turn back to here to find the last Pollack entry before he went on sabbatical and handed it over to a six year old child with a book of rude words, and some names to drop. (You'll notice the quality plummet like a stone - it's quite dramatic.)