Cripes! Have I really gone three weeks plus without posting here? It didn’t seem like that long. I need to get much more in the habit of posting here. To be honest, I don’t really want to, but it’s the 21st century, and people expect writers to maintain a blog, so here I am.
One positive development is that I finally have home internet established, which has made my life worlds easier.
Now, onto what seems the only subject I ever write about here–what I am going to write about. And one thing I’ve learnt in life is that no-one gives a damn about what you’re going to do, only what you’re doing.
But I realise that I’ve been overthinking this whole process. I’ve been wanting to write big, grandiose things. And I realise that I can convey big, grandiose ideas without writing big, grandiose things. I’m a firm believer in the idea that our personal stories shape our values and beliefs. And I am chock-full of little memoirs that have shaped my life and my thinking. So I think I will dig deep into my life and pull up those little snatches of stories, archetypal events that, while seemingly unimportant at the time, typified my life experience, and in this way shaped my thinking.
One more thing: I’m taking a break from Facebook for a while. It’s not good for my mental health, particularly in an election year. Which means I haven’t the foggiest idea how I’m going to publicise new entries, or anything else going on in my life, for that matter. Like many creative types who depend heavily on their ability to market themselves, I have no ability whatsoever to market myself. So I toss this blog to the wind and just hope someone catches it.
So, I do not have the promised essay. I already said that it was proving unwieldy. I’m also finding that my writing process is not conducive to a steady blogging habit (never mind that I do not have home internet access.) If I want to post something more than an update, and I want to revise it a few times over to be good enough before I make it available for human consumption, my practise is not amenable to the internet. Of course, one of the great problems with internet culture is that we value speed over accuracy, clarity, or excellence.
I am also discovering other, more disturbing things about my writing. By which I mean that I am finding I really enjoy writing poetry. I call it “disturbing” half-jokingly. Before the summer began, I vowed to never write poetry except under duress (or a professor’s assignment, which can be kind of the same thing.) But I got a hold of a good instructor who overturned the reasons that I didn’t like poetry: that much contemporary was sloppy and vague, where I value rigour, clarity, and accuracy. My misconceptions I blame on high school, the last time I had formal instruction in poetry. But I realise now that a) a high-school teacher is often forced to make compromises in order to make poetry palatable to students who Will Not Like It; b) there is only so much a teacher can teach when confined to teaching a single “unit” on poetry; and c) the average high-schooler is not ready for the more intricate nuances of contemporary poetry.
There is of course a more serious reason why I’m concerned that I am finding my greatest writing faculty to be in poetry. As someone who considers his message more important than the messenger, I worry that I will be expressing that message in the medium that receives the least care or attention in our culture, not to mention the fact that I somehow have to feed myself.
But what can I do? I soldier on. I keep cranking out poetry. And I focus on this semester–I am only a writing undergraduate. I will be taking a class this semester called “1000 Words or Less” for the express purpose of helping me to become a better online writer. The aforementioned essay series will be published here, but on my terms and in my time. It’s the only way I can do a blog.
The reality for writers these days is to maintain a public blog. This runs a bit counter to how I work, but I’m finding it necessary nonetheless. So, then, I need to take this blog phenomenon and make it fit how I work. There are two big things I’ve realised about my writing process lately:
1) I do most of my writing not related to school on weekends
2) I tend to think in fives. I spent most of my growing up with five people in my family (my mother, my two brothers, my sister, and me.) I favour a five-act structure over a three-act in writing. I tend to break up my poems in five sections.
So, you can see that the way I work fits blogging well, if I write five days’ worth of material over the weekend. And what I want to do is write series, five interrelated essays at a time.
I won’t guarantee I will write every week, at least at first. It will be more reasonable to aspire to once I can get home internet access. (I’m having unusual issues getting this set up.) But I already know the first few series I want to write, some of them having sat in my head a long time and must finally come out. The material will be social commentary and memoir, as most of what I write otherwise is poetry and fiction.
So, there. This will not and cannot sit idle anymore.