Friday, June 12, 2009

Perhaps it is bizarre, to be a private person and to have a blog

I've been thinking about my authentic self. Both as a person and as a writer. And, whether the two can be separated. As a blogger, my posts about my life are real. But, there is always a truth that lies beneath. Something deeper, meatier. Here, I choose what I want to write and post about. Yet, I think a real writer doesn't choose. A real writer listens to the words that come, allowing them to escape through her fingers ...falling upon the page as they may. Sometimes the words have arcs and cadences, but often the words are ragged and coarse. I am a private person, oddly enough. Perhaps it is bizarre, to be a private person and to have a blog.

I've been blogging for two years now. What do I write about? I write about the adventures of raising my GIRL and BOY, who are ten months apart. I write about feminist issues. I've occasionally written about politics. I write about my struggle to retain a sense of self separate from that of wife and mother. I've shared my infertility stories. I've written about adoption. I used to share my poetry, but have stopped doing that because it might preclude the possiblity of the work being published. It doesn't feel good or comfortable to hold that part of myself back, yet I am working on prudence. I've done a series of interviews with women called The Motherscribe Interviews. I've written about the demeaning and disturbing trend of sexually objectifying young girls in commercial media. And, I've written about the incredibly stupid and assinine self-inflicted things that have caused me humiliation.

It's been an interesting journey with the writing here. Initially I drew readers because of stories about my children. Then I had a need to write about other things and some readers left, while new readers arrived interested in what I was writing about at the time. There is always fluctuation. Whenever I get caught up in worrying about how many readers I have, or commenters, or whether my writing is "good enough", I have to take a step back and ask myself...but, WHY am I writing? And, the truth is that I am writing because I need to get the words out.

It has become so natural to write, that when I don't write, I feel toxic. There has never, ever been a time when writing didn't help. It always does. Once I allow the words to spill upon the page, I find that something is always there. It may not be riveting or lyrical, but it is there. The blog is an endless legal pad. The pages never run out. It is a place to practice. To work on my craft.

I want to be an authentic writer. Having courage to write my truth...whatever that means. I'm just not sure that place can be here. I love reading memoirs, but I don't want my blog to be a memoir. I believe that there is something just around the corner that I am not yet seeing. A path with my writing that has already been decided. I just have to keep moving. And perhaps my words will lead me there...


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17 comments:

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Look at you putting one word in front of the other.

Beautiful.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think you are an authentic writer. Whatever your write about is compelling--your writing makes it so.

flutter said...

YOU are authentic. How can your writing be anything less?

Angeline said...

*huge hugs*
Same sentiments here.... especially the last 3 paragraphs...
*huge hugs*

apathy lounge said...

I totally get you. I've had this conversation with myself before. If I don't write I get toxic...and if I do I wonder if it's good. I keep thinking that my dip in commenters is a clue and because I no longer write for the newspaper, I can't count on the presence of a paycheck to help me feel better about it all.

Jason, as himself said...

I've often considered myself a private person, too. But just look at the most intimate details of my life that I have spilled out there for anyone and everyone to read. And I do it for many of the same reasons that you do. I also have things that I would love to write about that I just can't, mostly because I know I would offend people who are close to me, but also because I have to be careful about the things that I put out there because of my occupation.

Of course, I could always keep a private journal, which I have done in the past, but it just doesn't feel the same.

I also get a bit worried from time to time about how many readers and commenters I have. Why is that? I started my blog for myself and for my sister and sisters-in-law. And now I crave continued validation from people, most of which I have never met personally.

As usual, you have made me think!

Ginaagain said...

You are an authentic writer and I have no doubt that your words are leading you somewhere. I just hope you keep letting us tag along...

Kate said...

"The blog is an endless legal pad. The pages never run out. It is a place to practice. To work on my craft."

I agree with what you said above. Me too! Me too! I'm struggling to discover what blogging means and how I can become an authentic writer too...blogging seems essential but not quite "it" for me.

Great post; got me thinking!

Lucy said...

JCK Congratulations on BlogHer of the month I believe. I just found you there today. One of the things that I wrote in my Blog was that I want to live in truth & in honesty. I write about an affair that I had while my husband was in Iraq in 2007. It can't get any more personal than that. At first I just wanted to keep it about my children but then I said, oh to hell with it. It's funny because I just had my first review sort of speak on my blog, and as I was in way to get to it I was petrified. It turned out to be a very positive post and the kind of audience that I wanted to hear from. I kept thinking what if it would have been a horrible response? I bet you it would have ruin my whole day. And trust me, you write beautifully. I'm Hispanic and I have to read my posts more than 20 times before I catch the 17th misspelling or messed up sentence. Courage to me in this Blog world is being able to write about your mistakes & everything else without fear. I know that in some instances you have to be careful but in others I know that in the end I will touch someone's life. We all share a lot of the same issues. Specially us women. Great Blog of course and very well written, please please please don't worry about that. It is good enough. Muy Perfecto :)

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

It is funny you would write this now when I have been thinking about this too. I've been thinking I want to strip down my blog design and just write. Maybe everything won't always be interesting or "amazing" but it will be doing what I got into blogging for in the first place -- to write. Great, thought provoking post. I can't wait to read more of what you write.

All Adither said...

Excellent post. I wonder about the exact same things.

painted maypole said...

i ponder, sometimes, this question of WHY I blog and what I gain from it... why I do it. This was very interesting.

happygeek said...

I've been reading MS for a long time now, and it has been so neat to watch your writing evolve.
I love the line "an endless legal pad".
What a super way to describe a writer's blog.

Cafe Pasadena said...

I appreciate this posting, as I do most, to say the least.

As I started reading this, the word "Why" begged to be asked of you. Then you asked it yourself later into your writing!

So, the next obvious question is, Why do you need to get the words out? And keep on asking, keep on digging, keep on examining ourselves. I believe most of what we do, we don't really face up to the real reason(s) for them.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Interesting for me to read this as I am going through a bit of a conflict with regard to blogging. I just can't seem to write on mine. I don't really know what it is but I am trying to remain relaxed about and think if I do that, it will just pass.

But I do still write elsewhere - just bits of this and that - in my diary in a little notebook I tote about with me. When I am prevented from writing as I have been occasionally the tension builds up very rapidly. Odd.

Your blog works for me because it reflects you - it is varied to reflect what is preoccupying you at that particular time. I like that. And you are an excellent writer of course but that in itself is not actually enough for blogs I don't think - I think the way you manage a blog and what you choose to write about are important. There are some blogs I like where the writing is not actually that good but there is a spontaneity and a voice!

Blogging is endlessly fascinating, isn't it. However did we manage without it?

phd in yogurtry said...

Yes, whatever you do, keep (your fingers) moving (across the keyboard)!

g said...

It has become so natural to write, that when I don't write, I feel toxic.

So true.

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