I must confess that I really don’t like yesterday’s entry very much. I was seriously contemplating deleting it. In fact, while we were out and about yesterday, I told my husband (let me pause here, instead of this irritating ongoing labeling of “my husband,” which I find sexist, I would much prefer to use his name, and since I plan to write many more blogs in which I will probably reference him, why don’t we dispense with his namelessness and facelessness, but until I ask him what he prefers, I will use the noun in at least one more blog since I should ask the man if he likes being anonymous . . .), back to the subject, I told my husband that I was going to delete the entry since I thought that it really didn’t “do very much.”
I waited until this morning, and then I realized that I couldn’t delete it. After all, this is a site about writing, or at least, that is what I purported it to be. Are we 100 percent all of the time when we write? I know that I’m not. Hardly. Yesterday’s entry was cannon fodder. My best friend Mari will appreciate that term. I had nothing much to say but felt compelled to say something, so I wrote about the first thing that came to mind. It was very much like the kind of writing exercise I used to use in my composition classes at the beginning of class as a writing prompt. This was the assignment: Students had to write, pen to paper, for ten minutes without stopping, which is very hard to do if you have nothing to say. If you had nothing to say, you had to write, “I have nothing to say” over and over again until you thought of something to say, which usually led to the student saying something about how stupid the assignment was, which usually led them to some other train of thought, which usually led them to something that they could write about for the remainder of the time. By the middle of the term, there were far fewer “I have nothing to say” comments and far more entries about roommates or life or whatever vexes a freshman. I really didn’t care what they were writing about; I only cared that they were writing. That was the point. I didn’t care about punctuation, structure, spelling, anything that remotely resembled rules, and they knew that, so they felt free to write. Once I had them writing, we began to step back into structure, punctuation, and all of the other things that resembled rules. No one had ever come at them completely backwards before and told them that they could play in the sandbox without rules, that they could throw sand around and not bother to build anything with it, and in so doing, I allowed them to build the kind of castles they had never considered.
I’m not claiming to be any kind of miracle worker. They didn’t turn into a class full of F. Scott Fitzgeralds or Virginia Woolf’s. But occasionally, I’d come across a glimpse of wit or promise that made it all worthwhile, or I’d make a friend who would go on to take my upper level classes or stop by and keep me abreast on his or her progress until graduation. I’d even get cards, letters, wedding announcements post graduation. I never really hated teaching composition the way that some people did for just that reason–it was an opportunity not an onus.
So back to yesterday’s entry: it was more of an exercise than an experience. I didn’t feel very attached to it, so I suppose that’s why I thought I should exorcise it from this site. After all, shouln’t my entries be witty or thoughtful or insightful or at least passionate about something? Shouldn’t I be contributing something about how I feel about writing poetry or prose? Well, not necessarily, I realized. Maybe, I can just be writing to be writing because if I am to be truly honest, the reason I developed the site in the first place, was to make myself get back to writing on a more regular basis because anyone who writes knows that to be a writer, you have to write regularly, and to be published, you have to write. No one just knocks on your door and says, ‘hey, come and write for us.’ Being back in graduate school has made me write more, but not regularly, as in daily. With this blog, I am trying to write daily, trying to make my mind think about writing daily, trying to make my creative self engage in the process at least once daily so that perhaps a wisp of a poem, a fragment of thought might lead somewhere, and I can begin to compose again. Who knows if it will be in that fiercely manic way in which I was writing during my last creative phase, but at this point, I will settle for steady. So, if I write a post that is not what I consider to be terribly engaging and I delete it, am I censoring myself or editing myself for the good of the blog or because I am vain? Do you edit your journal? Is a blog a journal? I suppose I need to determine the answers to these questions before I delete entries.
Any thoughts on this from other blog writers?