Friday, January 06, 2006

Why Blog?

I think it's interesting that I feel somewhat shameful, not to be blogging, but to be telling my friends, "Hey, I have a blog, come check it out." I'm not sure why this is. I think on one level, it's about feeling weird asking for attention (everybody, look at this thing I made!). On another level, it's because I don't know if what I want to say is especially interesting to anyone else (Oh, man, she expects me to read her blog...crap.).

I've been trying to figure out why I wanted to do this in the first place, given my ambivalence about having other people read it. (Because of course, I must want people to read it; if I didn't, I wouldn't have a blog, I'd have a journal - and I do have one of those, and it's for those things that I'm either too smart or too frightened to share. And I certainly wouldn't be telling people about it. So it seems weird that I feel odd about it.) But it's definitely strange to write knowing that others will read what I write. With anything else, I might tinker with it for a while before turning it over to others to see. Here, the time between composition and publication can be instantaneous, so there's an immediacy and a sense of exposure that I don't have as frequently otherwise.

And then I also feel the pressure to write with perfect grammar and punctuation. I mean, I do teach English, after all.

One reason I wanted to do this is because I knew it would give me an excuse to write, which I rarely get to do anymore. And of course, writing is one of those generative activities. It only works if you do it often - otherwise, when the muse comes, you're somewhere other than with keyboard or pen in hand, and you miss her. And you miss the writing that writing leads you to, whether it's inspired or banged out, bloody and raw, one letter at a time.

So I love having the excuse to do this because for some time now, in my regular daily life, I no longer make time to write. I used to sit down with a cup of coffee in a cafe, my work spread out in front of me - readings, articles I was working on, student papers - and always, *always*, I'd begin by writing in my journal. Sometimes I'd just note snippets of conversation or impressions of what was going on around me; sometimes I'd have thoughts about whatever I was working on or whatever relationship was foremost in my mind. But I always began with that space for my own writing before I got to anyone else's or to the writing I had to do for anyone else. And now? *This* is mostly my space.

But another reason is that I have things I need to say. I'm not necessarily sure what they are or how to say them or even that I'm brave enough to say them, but I'm hoping that this experiment will lead me to greater honesty in my own writing.

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