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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

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Who Put the “Blah” in Blogging? Oh, I Did.

The title of my last post explains why it’s been five months since I’ve written here. I had enjoyed blogging but hit a wall and hit it hard. I thought too much about audience and shut down. Basic Peter Elbow stuff.

It didn’t help that I know some terrific bloggers who balance head and heart in their writing while posting enough content to readers interested. Most important, they care what readers think, but they’re really doing it for themselves, which is a generous gift to one’s readers.

Not posting felt good for about a month. Then I wanted to but got busy with my day job, so I didn’t have time to focus on blog posts that mattered-but-not-that-much. So I didn’t post, but the not-doing didn’t feel good so much as it felt relieving, as it does when I avoid the pressure of other challenges that I really don’t want to avoid. Writing, even a silly ole blog, meant too much. What could I write about writing, tutoring, teaching, learning, politics, being gay, and other topics important to me, that hadn’t been said before and more effectively?

I’m not fishing for compliments. I know that I’ve written some things that others have enjoyed for whatever reason. The point is that I tripped myself up. I fell to the ground, and it was just too easy to lie there.

It’s like party conversation. You’d find me near a corner or along a wall talking to one or two people, getting really into the discussion and probably saying geniunely interesting things I didn’t realize I’d be talking about. I love that. I’d also love to be the person who feels comfortable making the announcement about the honored guest. Sure, I could do that kind of thing, but would forget what I meant to say and, instead, say genuinely disjointed things I never meant to be talking about.

I’ve realized that, although a blog is a public space that anybody with an internet connection can find, it’s more like the quiet space where you explore ideas. Or at least it’s better to think of it that way.

In the last few months, I started playing with poetry again, which I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I read some of the poetry I’ve accumulated over many years, and I didn’t hate it. I started revising some poems and had a great time doing it.

I’d forgotten how poetry makes sense. It makes sense on some level, many levels, but not as explicitly as prose. Like getting zapped by a magic wand or getting caught up with someone you knoooooooow is bad for you. If you don’t like a poem, maybe you don’t get it because it’s more sophisticated than you, or maybe you get it but just don’t like it. Whatever. Shuffle the pile and read another one.

Your relationship with a poem is less likely to make sense than with a prose piece. I stress: *less likely*. Because I have read some stories that did some fucked-up shit to me, and I loved every word of them. Although the feeling of the whole was greater the meaning of any particular part. I’m still working on *doing* that, creating that feeling in the prose I write. I have much to learn, I admit, but some of the responsibility falls on readers. I’d like an agreement with readers, something like, “Fine, I’ll write with mad skills, but you’ve got to loosen up and not interpret what you read so fucking literally.”

So I’m rebooting. Gonna blog. Gonna enjoy it. I care, but, you know, really, who cares?


2 Responses

  1. A successful blog is like a beast you have to feed regularly. I don’t worry so much about an audience when I blog. I really should to draw in more readers. I just write about what is on my mind, and I try to make it informative when I can.

  2. I also worry about the balance of blogging and “more substantive” writing. Blogging is like morning exercise, airing out musty rooms. But it’s time-consuming, and competes with all the everything-else that swallows up hours.

    One can only hope that it will entertain a few (if not ourselves), keep verbiage flowing, and enhance the other writing we hold so dear – creative and otherwise.

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