The idea of starting my own “writing rituals” never occurred to me until recently, but I’ve been able to think of little else since it did. I have always had a few reading rituals, especially on rainy or wintery days…or whenever in the year I decided to return once more to the chill but happy comforts of Jane Eyre or Little Women or Anne of Green Gables. Continue reading “Confessions of a non-writing writer”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about anonymous blogging, partially owing to Tiny Rubies’ post on the subject. A few weeks ago, I was toying around with similar ideas, though certainly I didn’t so eloquently put them down.
I can only say this: The new “normal,” the new online journaling environment is a struggle for me. I seem to have trouble navigating it at every turn. Back in the day (2000 to 2010-ish), I took care to leave off all identifying characteristics of myself and everyone else I knew when I wrote online. Even after talking on and offline for years, less than a handful of the other online diarists I was friends with knew the real names of the people I talked about. And boy, did I ever talk! It makes me more than a little cringe-y to imagine putting 75% of those things out there now. Then, my online diary was so indistinguishable from my paper one that while I was writing online, I totally stopped keeping the ubiquitous notebook that I had kept on my person since I was ten. I have no doubt that I over-shared with regularity, and my twenties and thirties were the most drama-infested of my life (or anyone else’s, I’d wager). Without batting an eye, I chronicled the ends and beginnings of relationships, as well as the everyday ups and downs that led to them. Most of the time, my readers even knew when I was getting a little “action.”
Jesus, I need wine just to think about it.
But I was fearless, and there’s an undeniable appeal in that, even now that I’m older and wiser. I guess I want there to be a happy medium for my online journaling, and for me as I exist here inside its entries. Presently, I put down on the page the interesting things I do and see, but I seem mostly to be stopping myself at the feeling. I know what my creative writing teachers would say if they were reading: there’s no blood going to it. I think they’re wrong; I’m just bleeding on the keyboard and on the backspace key where you all can’t see it. But yes, by the time it gets posted, a lot of it is bloodless. I only seem to find the more carefree version of myself in writing that is a decade old, and I end up re-posting that old stuff more than I would like (though I almost always have to go through it with a fine tooth comb beforehand to make sure it won’t offend anyone). It’s a strange spot to inhabit, because a big part of me really likes that there are people I actually know reading now. But again, I’m sure as hell not posting the stuff I used to.
Truth be told, I’m actually not sure about the extent to which I’d write like that again even if I felt entirely safe doing so. I grew up online, but I think the process was completed in the four or five years I spent away, when I was keeping my thoughts to myself. If I had gone back to my trusty Mead notebook in that time, I might never have come back to online journaling; but alas, I only have so much willpower, and I was using it to do other things. I put pencil to paper about twenty times in the four years I was gone, and that was it. Writing here again makes me push myself just a little bit, just enough. I tell myself I have to sit down and do this once a day, and then I have to make the rounds and read you all. It makes me move my brain around for awhile every day, and I also have to use the writing muscles that had just damned near atrophied.
I’ve said this before–I miss the community, and I’m trying to find it again. It isn’t easy, primarily because I have no idea who my community is anymore. I’m not nearly as young as I used to be, so those people who are putting it all out there and bleeding all over the interwebs aren’t my people anymore, though I can surely identify with where they are in their lives. Maybe it’s the younger me I miss. Then again, maybe I’d just like to see her again so I can slap the shit out of her.
I don’t know. I do know that I feel awfully exposed nowadays, and it’s definitely choking off my flow. I use my real name to blog here, and my mother, my husband, and my entire (real life) Facebook circle of friends have the address at their fingertips should they choose to use it. And of course, if I ever decide to trade in my SAHM card to go out and look for a real job, no HR person worth their salt would hire me without a Google search. I don’t know how the world of the employed works anymore — do people still get Dooce’d?
Eh, I’ll figure it out. I’ll get some blood flowing to it again. I guess when it comes right down to it, I’m going to have to sink or swim. Shit or get off the pot. Say something or sit down and shut up. Thank goodness I’ve never been one to back down from a fight, even when it’s with myself.
Sometimes, I feel a little less than inspired. Granted, I haven’t let the lack of inspiration stop me in the past couple weeks, but before that, I went months without writing at all. I’d feel bad about my inaction when I remembered — which was usually about the time I looked in the direction of my bookshelf and caught a glimpse of the beautiful, empty notebooks stashed there — but usually, I really didn’t think about it. Obviously, my urge to write has not always been so easily forgotten or dismissed.
In high school, for example, I carried a mid-size, spiral Mead notebook wherever I went. I wrote in class and at home, at band rehearsal and play practice. I didn’t bother to hide what I was doing, and I took more than my share of flak for doing it. Truth be told, somewhere in the back of my head, I’ve always felt a bit like Harriet the Spy when I carry around my notebooks. I can write whatever I want and it’s true and no one can debate me on it. I can think what I want to think and how I want to think it.
Writing in this forum has been an adjustment.
Nowadays, of course, my fallback excuse when I don’t get the writing done is the children, the chores, the cats, Donald Trump, The West Wing, and/or the insurmountable and all important READING LIST. Naturally, I’m only making these excuses in my own head; I set these arbitrary deadlines and quotas for myself. No one else is asking for my word count. But for some reason, it feels important that I (figuratively) get off my ass and do something, in some area of my life. There’s no two ways about it: our current political situation (which is also very personal and immediate to me and so many of the people I love) has got me down. I end up saying “fuck the diet” every day, regardless of how honorably I begin. I also say “fuck the cleaning,” “fuck the reading,” and “fuck everything else,” because even seven months later, sometimes it’s still difficult to put one foot in front of the other.
Writing makes me move. It makes me get other things done first before I can allow myself time to do it.
Today, while I was staring at the blank screen and fishing for a sentence with which to start, my sweet husband managed to convince me that instead, I should really come lay down with him and take a short nap. I never take naps, but Step-son was gone to a friend’s house, and even the cat looked exhausted. I had nothing in my head to write, so I decided to take the hand of the man I had to wait half my life to marry. Sometimes, it seems like I don’t choose him often enough or well enough, even though I try to be grateful for and mindful of every moment I get to spend with him. I slept draped over his chest like I haven’t since we were dating.
When we got up, I cooked supper and ran a load of dishes. My husband went to the store for a Coke and ended up with a pack of cigarettes and a pair of lottery tickets. We hope the lottery tickets win us enough change to send us to the Netherlands for the rest of our lives. The cigarettes are because they won’t.
Don’t worry, Mom. We’ll quit again tomorrow.
I still don’t know what to write.