A recent series of back-and-forth emails trying to straighten out my piddly paycheck at that other place I write for (woo-hoo! it actually pays me, albeit mostly in peanuts…), has forced me to acknowledge my extreme slacker-tude in this 2011 goal of “write more.” Wasn’t that the point of this blog? [Answer: Yes. See the Inaugural Post.] Long story short, I’ve donated some of my peanuts back to the pot by being “inactive.” GRUMP.
Even here, my last post was in July – a grand post on books (my favorite!) inspired by one of these daily emails WordPress kindly provides me with potential ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
Further reflection has me asking “why?”
I’ve long been irritated by those blogs that read like diaries better kept under the bed, never to see the light of day. There’s a level of over-sharing enabled by the ease of blogging that makes my skin crawl. I have this grand notion that my blog will be something witty, occasionally insightful, and generally delightful (… y’know, highly reflective of me as a person. 🙂 ). But NOT a cringe-worthy seething mass of over-sharing.
While ignoring that subtly nagging sense of guilt that I hadn’t been trying hard enough, I stumbled across something on an author’s blog I regularly read. She blogs every day, but she also has a bona fide readership and published books, so perhaps I’m comparing apples to oranges…
What she said was this:
“I do try to remind you that I lie by omission a lot. I write the blog about the stuff I feel like making public. It’s not about my life. It’s about certain carefully selected bits of my life, scrubbed up, costumed and professionally lit for dramatic excitement. “
A small light-bulb went off. Yep, this is part of the issue. Part of the reason one my tags here is “selectively edited chapters from the Life Story.” I tell the things that are too funny, or too real not to share, but that I CAN share, with any likely embarrassment only occurring to me. And not likely in a manner as to put me out of my day job [still required for the eating and rent paying]. So the timid bit, still unsure of this writer’s lark, whispers to that guilt … “well, there are reasons for not writing. What would you write about? The Kidney Exorcism of 2011? The highly-entertaining-but-not-necessarily-likely-to-end-well moil you’re making out of this return-to-dating thing? My daily life?
In order: No – too depressing. No – must protect the innocent. Heck no – Need something longer [and more interesting] than “Work. Gym. Finished a Book.”
Conclusion – while the advice may be “write what you know,” it’s a mite bit harder than that phrase betrays. I had to laugh tonight, while finishing Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller. It’s ostensibly a book about her mother, made all the more ironic for the fact that, throughout this book, her mother consistently refers to her first book [an auto-biography-ish book] as the Awful Book for what Fuller has shared. That’s why it’s hard to write about who you know. Sometimes they don’t like it. But sometimes, rarely perhaps, a good writer can take those hurt feelings and constant goads, and turn it into a luminous and compellingly wrought portrait that’s equal parts apology and testament of admiring affection.
I’m not quite there yet, so will be settling for writing about my perceived writer’s block instead. At least for tonight…