W is for…
Act 1: Writing
I go through periods where I write a lot and feel confident in calling myself a writer. And then, information pills like right now, I go through periods where I am writing nothing except random blog entries and feel like a sham. These days I am telling myself that at least I have a good reason not to be writing much (a daughter who is refusing to nap during the day!) but I’m not so sure it matters. I have countless notebooks filled with the starts and stops and outlines of stories that have never been finished. Stories that have never been seen by anyone’s eyes but my own and I think it is a fear thing that I need to overcome. Have you ever read the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield? He talks about how we are all out to sabotage ourselves because that is easier than looking the real problem in the face. So true. It is much easier to make excuses about why I am not writing: too busy, too poor, too tired etc. than it is to sit down and face the creative demons. I don’t want to be my own saboteur but at the moment it is all I can do to make it through the day with my teeth brushed by the end of it. So right now, this blog is my only writing space. Life is fluid and this will change eventually.
Act 2: It doesn’t matter what you write
I wrote the above a couple of days ago. Yesterday I received this comment waiting for me on the article I wrote about memory: You really have it rough – such weighty concerns! First no T.V. and now this!
When people leave comments like that I usually e-mail them back and try and start a dialogue. However, the mysterious “ER” who left this comment left a fake e-mail address. I’m not posting this comment just to defend myself though – I’m posting it because it serves as a reminder of something I learned a long time ago: it doesn’t matter what you write, people will read what they want. I was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper when I was studying journalism and I royally pissed off a couple people with an editorial I had written. The editorial was about the attendance rule they had for many of the programs, including mine. The rule, although I may not be remembering it correctly, was that if you missed three classes with out an excuse you got kicked out of the program. Maybe it was three classes in a row? People rarely got kicked out, no matter how many classes they missed so it obviously wasn’t strictly enforced. We knew about the rule going into the program and everyone signed something saying they understood and agreed. In the editorial I said that I was of two minds about the rule: some people needed the push to attend classes and since it was a competitive program and there were lots of people who didn’t get in (or at least that is what they told us) maybe it served as a good reminded that we were there to learn. Also, since tax payers pay for a large portion of our schooling it serves as a reminder that we aren’t the only ones spending money for our education. I said I wasn’t totally against the attendence rule, or else I wouldn’t have signed the agreement – but at the same time I thought some of our instructors should also follow the rule since they had a tendency to hold “study sessions” which meant they didn’t show up for class. I interviewed people who were both for and against the rule. And then one student showed up at the newsroom door with a letter and railed against me for supporting the rule when she was mature enough to make her own decisions and had a family to support so she couldn’t always come to class etc etc. Like I said, I was of two minds about the rule – but she only read that I was saying everyone who didn’t attend class should be kicked out. That wasn’t what I said at all.
I could write that my favourite colour is red and some people would read that my favourite colour is pink and there is nothing I can do about it.* I can write that we got rid of our T.V. and someone will interpret it as my saying “woe is me, we got rid of our T.V.” when I interpreted it as a happy event.
Act 3: Why I blog
When I started blogging many years ago I did it as a form of therapy. I was lonely. I was depressed. I had just moved back to my hometown but really had no friends here. Blogging opened up a whole new world for me and some of the people I connected with online in those early days I am still in contact with today. I’m much happier now. I don’t feel the need to write about what others might perceive as “weighty concerns” and have never pretended that this particular blog incarnation is anything but my rambling thoughts – and now baby pictures. I write this blog mostly for me. I write it because most days it is the only writing I get done. I know it isn’t for everyone and that doesn’t bother me. I could be deeper, or more salacious, I could be bitchy (but I’m not in real life so why pretend to be online), I could write about sex or about issues the Mister and I have with each other** but we prefer to hammer those out ourselves. Also, this current blog is a way for me to keep in contact with my Mum and my sister and they really – really – appreciate my not writing about sex. I could sign up for all sorts of ‘promote your blog’ sites but I haven’t yet. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
So, my dear “ER”, I’m sorry that my blog bored or annoyed you but you can just move along and find your “weighty concerns” elsewhere – the blogosphere is a big place and there is something out there for everyone.
*If I had to pick one colour it would probably be green.
**Although, seriously, he just over-nuked my tea in the microwave and now I can’t drink it. What a jerk. Can you believe how hard my life is?