Obviously, the first thing that goes out the window is any notion of a finished text. The stability of text has been extensively theorised since the last century (and practised well before that) but electronic media have truly disabused us of any notions of fixity. While instability was hitherto practised through the process of revised editions and transcription, piracy and plagiarism, it was a relatively slow process that spanned years. But now I can change anything on this site as I idly swipe through my notes on a train platform. Everything you see here is only here because I have neglected to change it.
The second notion to go is the idea that these notes are now in any way casual. 1 The knowledge that these notes are being published gives them the flavour of the politician’s diary, I go through the pretence of talking to myself, with one ear cocked to hear the audience’s reaction.
These texts are, at once, both too self-conscious to be casual notes and too mutable to be ever finished.
1Of course, I don’t publish everything as soon as I take it down. That could be interesting (at least, to me) but also incoherent. The texts that appear on this book are only a fraction of the notes I gather, and I frequently publish a note years after I have actually written it down. Or only publish a note after it has been revised several times, even if I allow previous versions to become
Are all my notes, like a politician’s diaries, self-consciously written with publication in mind?