Monday, February 2, 2009
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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