Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sitting in the Dark, Writing

It's the middle of the night -- everyone's finally asleep and I called my father and he still doesn't know whether he's his chronic illness has gotten significantly worse or not -- and anyway I should go to sleep, but here's something about this last week that I want to remember:

When I was at work, I had those moments when I couldn't settle down into doing the next thing and was sort of at a loose end -- I think this often or maybe even always happens after teaching -- and since I teach at 8am, it's the first thing I do and then I have a big break after it -- and so what I did about it this week was I tried to stop myself from checking my email a dozen times and clicking through webpages and instead got out my notebook to figure out what it was I should be doing. When I got unmoored, I returned to the page to get my bearings. My creative work may be going no place (I got a rejection last week from a place I thought I had a good chance with), but writing is still a home place for me. Maybe that's what being a writer means for me, nothing about publication or readers or a vision.

But then what about the place of blogging? In some ways, it's some of the most private reflective writing I do -- not like the notebook where I'm often negative without being reflective about it -- I mean I get there eventually, but I think I'm often pretty generous with myself about letting myself bitch -- it's not like the pressure of an audience to make you hurry to being a better self -- that accountability for what you're putting out into the world and who you want to be. On the other hand, this writing is also some of the most public communication; as I sit in the dark at my kitchen table, I have no control over who reads this, little over how it gets used. This is one of the outlets for the democratic voice, but not necessarily the one most likely to effect change in a political way. It's really interesting that way. I'm just forming my thoughts about it all. What do you all think about writing and blogging, blogging and politics, blogging for social justice and change?

1 comment:

Belle said...

Good question. My blog is the most public writing I've ever done; while I've written reams of stuff over the years, it's always, always been for my eyes only. My academic stuff is... self edited to the point of not even putting 99% of it out for consideration, much less publishing. So blogging has become a safe yet very public outlet and space. Discovering that people actually read it? Amazes me still.