Monday, February 2, 2009

On the blog, part 1

It's the week of my "Blog-o-versary," and I've got blogging on my mind. Okay, I've frequently got blogging on my mind anyway. Just ask my family. Ada routinely points out when something would be "good on the blog." And now I have people actually asking when I'm going to post, which I find oddly thrilling--as though someone has ordered a subscription to my "magazine."

Except this isn't a magazine. Or a diary. Or a gallery. Or a conventional conversation. Or an essay. I would like it to be all of those things, and it has shadows of each playing behind it.

What is this blog, anyway, and why am I so heady for writing it?

The first thing I can say for sure about it is that I am writing almost every day now, and that is the biggest boon of this blog. There were many periods of my life in which I wrote on a daily basis: As an undergraduate, I majored in English (quelle surprise!) and wrote papers constantly. For various other jobs I've had: I wrote ad copy for a publishing copy, and promotional materials and procedure for a university, and a human resources manual for a private company. In graduate school, I wrote countless papers on rhetoric, composition, education, and all sorts of topics related to these. And I started writing poetry. In earnest.
In between these times, I've written overly long letters to friends and intimidated them unintentionally by the length of my notes--a few people been apologetic that they can't write back at such length.
Even when I was teaching English, I wrote the assignments with my students--that is to say, I assigned myself the task of writing the same topics the students did--a very worthwhile exercise for determining if an assignment "worked" or "flopped." In the same vein, I wrote daily "feedback" for myself to recap the day's discussions, and to figure out if I was taking the class in the right direction. I also wrote massive letters of feedback for each student, and my assignments were written with the detail of a novella (quelle surprise, you say).

During that time, we also started the process for adoption Ada, and as part of it, I was asked to write a brief history of myself. You can imagine how shocked the social worker was to receive my 26-page, single-spaced piece. Brief it was not, but important for me to write, yes. And important that Ada have it one day for herself, to see me at that moment, on the brink of parenthood. The real audience for that history, as I pointed out to the social worker, was me. And future Ada.

I am verbose.

But for a few years, I was silent, at least in writing. My letters dwindled to postcards, my poems dried up. My essays and pontifications in writings....gone.

Some of my energy went to making art--sewing, painting, etc--but much of it went to folding clothes, cleaning bathrooms, morning sickness, and just life. I wasn't able to blend the writing and the doing.

Enter the blog.

As you know from this post alone, I continue to pour my heart out. From a rhetorical perspective, the blog is a perfect space for this type of writing. My friend La Belette Rouge wrote an amazing post today on writing her way through something without knowing her destination, and that is what my blog posts are so much of the time: writing through and creating a space.

Having a blog has allowed me to literally create a space (with images, spacing, color, photos, etc) in which I can pour my heart out and find out where I am in the world. In that regard, it's like a diary. But because of the audience of you, dear reader who has made it through this meandering, this writing has more of a shape. It is shaped like the space between me and you.

I am a generous and more selfless in real life. But on paper, I am a selfish writer, going on and on. I have never meant to intimidate with the length of the letters or the posts I write. I write and write to capture the play of words that run through my mind all the time, like insects beating against the night window. Like a lepidopterist, I pin the thoughts to the wall of the blog and examine them to see if they are light and lovely like butterflies or dark and insidious like moths. They are, invariably, both. And some fly away. And as with all collectors, it is really only me who is most pleased by my collection of words... I look back at what I've captured and I see myself.

If you have made it this far through this post, I thank you for sharing this odd and sometimes disturbing or tiresome collection. ...

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La Belette Rouge said...

Happpy blogoversary to you, dear Kirie!!

I am so glad you found my blog and I yours. You are such an extemely generous blogger, writer and friend. I see your sharing so much and writing so very enthusiastically as a gift you give your readers.

Like you, blogging created a writing discipline. I never thought I would write every day. Before I started blogging I had been totally mute, I had given up the identity as writer because writers write and I wasn't. It really is amazing how blogging change your life. My life is changed by knowing you. I am so glad you began this blog and that you share with is so much of yourself.

Thank you for the lovely shout out.
p.s. your writing is NEVER tiresome;reading your writing is a joy.

The Storialist said...

Yes, congratulations are in order!

I would never call you a selfish writer. Actually, Annie Dillard advises never to be selfish with writing (by which she means hoarding material---choosing to withhold writing) seems you are open and forthcoming, which is not a mark of selfishness.

More and more I think that to be a writer requires the practice of writing, and writing often. Not publishing, not lecturing, not selling thousands of books.

You have readers who look forward to your writing every day. Not every author can claim this!

Thanks for this post. May many, many more follow it, and creativity flood all areas of your life.

Lisa said...

I've recently become a reader and I'm so glad to know you via this blog. I love your easy writing style, the variety of topics and your ability to write about things in a way that makes them compelling and easy to relate to.

Congratulations on our blog's anniversary and may you continue to write well into the future!

Hilary said...

You are verbose, indeed. And I LOVE it. And can relate to it! I am verbose, too, as evidenced by many of my emails to you, which are more brief compositions than reasonable messages. But, you're not verbose without purpose. You don't go on and on for the express purpose of hearing yourself talk.

I realize that this statement will sound vain, but I don't know many people personally who are better writers than I. They're better cooks and better at math and better actors and, certainly, better in business. But writing is something I'm better at than many. You, however, are one of the people whose writing I look up to. Your words are beautiful, compelling, so easy to relate to; it inspires me. I'm one of those waiting for you to post most days, wondering when the new one's going to be up. And I see something to aspire to in pretty much every entry, either personally (your open heart letters are inspired and brilliant, and I still want to make that stew), or in your poetry and prose (which makes me a better writer).

Thank you for this blog, Kir. We're lucky readers, we are.

-- Hils

Julianne said...

I don't find your blog tiresome at all. I think that everyone who blogs should write exactly what they want to.

It is their time and space to be creative in and I celebrate the differences in all my blogging buddies.

I don't really know what I started blogging. I guess maybe to see if I could. I never thought of myself as writer, and am very critical of myself and my written word. The good thing is; I am not trying to prove anything or be a writer. I am just really trying to get better at expressing myself on paper. I enjoy the day to day happenings of all my blogging buddies.

susan said...

Congratulations on the blog anniversary. Your posts really are very well written and capture an essential self in transition.. as we all are.

I'm glad to know you through a virtual landscape where we travel to unknown destinations in good company.

Kirie said...

Belle! Thanks for the congrats, and the sweet feedback. I love the wonderful connections this blog has given me. It's astounding. I'm so glad that we've become friends. What a world.


Kirie said...

You are generous in your praise, and I'm so glad to know you are reading and enjoying what I write.

I do attempt to be open and forthcoming--I continue to work at being accepting enough of myself to share it with others...I do know that sometimes the effort of "getting over myself" feels self-centered.

I love that blessing you sent my way. I wish the same for you, dear poet. You are an inspiration to me.
xo Kirie

Kirie said...

Lisa--I am a newcomer to your blog, as well, and I so appreciate your tone as well. Your "decloaking" recently is so brave. You are a beautiful person, and your posts are real and funny.

So good getting to know you!

Kirie said...

Hils, this is high praise. You are a real gift to me. I can't believe it took us this long to be in contact all the time, but hey--when the time is right....

I think you are so talented and expressive, and you don't really give yourself the credit you deserve. You must begin blogging on our other site, dear, and perhaps start another venture of your own. I love your writing (and your speaking) and I'm eager to see more of it. I especially love reading your comments here! What great conversations we have...on the phone, via email, and now here.

love to you!

Kirie said...

Susan, what a great world where we can make these connections! Your art stuns me, it's so full of motion and detail. I know I told you before, but it is like a gallery. This last photo of your table is like a peek into the studio. What a treat!

Thank you for reading my blog and commenting with kindness and congratulations. I look forward to getting to know you better.


Kirie said...

Thanks for saying I'm not tiresome. I swear, I feel tiresome to me some days.

You know, every once in awhile I get into a thought loop that questions of "why do I blog?" So many answers, but yours is right on. It's a creative space for expressing. Sort of like a canvas or a pad of paper. But public.

That works, and I'm so glad you're reading it. I certainly enjoy yours, and I really do admire your style--writing and design alike.


Paula said...

I enjoy your blog and writing so much. It is happy and inspirational and a wonderful thing to be able to read. Happy Blogoversary! Keep the wonderful posts coming! :)

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