For the Love of Blog

After a few days (or weeks) away from the blog, returning to it always feels intimidating.  I worry that I have nothing of interest to write about, or that there are so many interesting things to write about that the simplicity of the blog will be overcome.  I begin posts and then, having been distracted by infant or restless pup, do away with them.

But then I start formulating blog postings in my brain while in the shower or cooking dinner.  An idea for a little essay will cruise through my mind at light speed, high-fiving my firing synapses as it goes; a word sparks the formation of a sentence that is lost before I can find a suitable piece of paper on which to write it.  I dismiss these ideas.  Or, I make them empty promises.

But then, before settling in to an hour’s worth of worry about Claire’s bottle strike (now somewhat resolved), or Ivy’s liver levels (getting better), or how I will ever begin to wrap my mind around this massive book idea in the midst of everything else that’s going on, I hear a little voice that tells me to return to the blog – as if the blog is my muse, or a counselor.  To return to the blog as if the blog has ideas for me that I cannot see or hear unless I am writing for it.

Perhaps Joyful Things is to me as the Island is to Lost: administrator of magic powers, mysterious healer, maker of bizarre connections. Or maybe it’s just here to remind me that the practice of writing, in whatever form, takes practice and requires the sort of attention I give it here as a means of exercising my brain – sort of like what running suicides does for soccer players.

Either way, whenever I’ve finished a post, I know by how my brain feels settled and a little more alive that it has been worth the time.  I would probably feel this way if I diagrammed a few sentences, too, so I’m not talking about artfulness – just that the practice and ritual of this thing is productive.  (Don’t worry – I’m not foolish enough to think that anyone else finds diagramming sentences as interesting as I do.  I would like you to keep reading Joyful Things.  Therefore, you’ll find no grammar lessons here.)

So, for the love of the blog and the love of the craft, I’m back, just in time for fall.  Enjoy!


One thought on “For the Love of Blog

  1. Oh, dang, you seduced me with the sentence diagramming, and you are absolutely correct about why to blog. The difference is that one has a right answer. Writing has so many of them (and so many wrong answers, too).

    You should know how much I diddle and tweak essays. Yes, I sit and write them in one fell swoop, so to speak. But I rearrange them for hours, sometimes. The ideas come from all over, but some of them will bubble and add things to themselves, and I’m just this simmering pot on low heat all the time, cooking everything in my brain. What doesn’t get scrambled winds up on the blog.

    No one ever asks why a guitar player picks up the guitar and plays all the songs he’s just learned or wants to learn or the songs he knows or scales or just picks. And no one asks why the soccer players meet several times a week to run the field.

    Practice is what you do so that you can write that big book. Keep yourself sharp. Make sure you aren’t going to lose readers. You practice to hold up your own confidence levels and keep your brain working like a writer’s brain, which is different because it’s not necessarily linear but it always returns to the beginning. Remember how crazy we used to think it was that John McPhee makes circles and snakes and adds his timelines? It’s because we’re not linear beasts. We only live that way, and it takes some doing to loosen up enough to tell a story the way it ought to be told—straight ahead, then back a hundred years, then on to tomorrow, then back to yesterday, then to now. The end.

    Go back and find those unfulfilled promises. Try to write a blog twice a week.


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