I’ve decided that I’m a terrible blogger for several reasons. The main ones are:
a) I rarely do it. And the longer it’s been, the more reluctant I am to write a post. It’s sort of like the longer you wait to take out an odoriferous bag of trash, the more foully pungent it becomes. Only with less grossness and more of a sense of, “I haven’t written anything in SO long, so whatever I write next has to be REALLY good.”
b) I don’t usually feel the need to share my unsolicited thoughts and opinions with large, undefined groups of people, ie, potentially the entire population of the world that has access to a computer. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever ever felt this need.
c) I don’t like spending any more time on the computer than is absolutely necessary. I feel like my eyes are going to turn into little glowing rectangles while the world transforms itself in a million beautiful ways outside my window.
d) I sort of neglected to respond to the first several comments that lovely people made, and subsequently resolved not to respond to ANY comments, in the spirit of fairness to all. Which, I imagine, defeats the whole purpose–or at least one of the main purposes–of a blog.
e) I over think every new blog post in a way that I never over think any other form of writing, which I don’t consider a fun use of time–it’s sort of like the mental version of a dog chasing its tail. I ask myself so many questions that I’m in danger of squashing the heart and soul of whatever it is I’ve written. For instance, does anyone want to read this? Is this too revelatory? Is this not revelatory enough and therefore, horror of horrors, BORING? Does this make me sound x, y, or z? (Never good letters with which to be associated.) Do I even care about this topic? Do I care so much about this topic that I don’t want to fling it out into the “void”? Yes, I do think of the internet as the “void,” despite you (as you are currently, kindly, reading this) having fingers and toes and nostrils, maybe a cold, a favorite chair, preferences in ice cream and secrets you’ve never told anybody–in other words, you are a very human presence filling that so-called void. And maybe that’s what is so frightening: that you may be reading this, having chosen it over starting a pot of soup or checking your e-mail or wrapping presents or working for an honest buck, and–sharp intake of breath–it MIGHT BE A TERRIBLE DISAPPOINTMENT. When I write at my desk, it’s just me and a stack of paper, a pen, and some flickering candles. No disappointment allowed.
Maybe that’s one of the things I love so much about writing. Non-blog writing, that is. It’s a safe space to discover uncharted territory, an entry into a world unknown and yet known so deeply I am surprised at how well it’s kept itself hidden. It’s a means of connecting to what’s inside myself and outside myself, beyond my control. And yet the act of writing gives me–the wielder of the pen–a certain power: over disappointment, artifice, and doubt. Power to create something that is larger than myself.
I guess I have some learning to do. About letting go and being okay, at times, with letting my words sail into the “void.” And about putting into practice the same fearlessness I’ve cultivated in writing fiction at my desk when writing a blog entry to be posted on-line. Of course, I will never force myself to post on my blog. I will only do so when I darn well feel like it. Which, I guess, is what I’ve been doing anyway.
In the meantime, I will be finishing off this bowl of cannelli-bacon-garlic soup of delight that you didn’t even know I’ve been eating as I type. Then I’ll eat a peanut butter ball (or “buckeye,” if you’re one of THOSE people). As always, I’ll be doing lots of reading, which is a good way to get work done AND pretend that I won’t be going insane for the next five months (see previous post for details).
Speaking of reading, here’s the recommendation promised in the title of this entry:
The Best American Essays of the Century, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. It would be a fun anthology to be in someday, although of course I wouldn’t be alive to see it. (Grandkids’ show-and-tell?) It’s a long book, around 600 pages, and I read only about half of the essays. (So many books, so little time!) A few of my favorites were:
“Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” –Adrienne Rich
“Total Eclipse” –Annie Dillard
“The Solace of Open Spaces” –Gretel Ehrlich
If you’ve read any of those essays, or decide to after reading this, let me know what you think. I promise I’ll respond.