“I Put The Words Down And Push Them A Bit” ~ Evelyn Waugh

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A Calligram: A poem, phrase, or word in which shape relates to meaning

Am I A Blonger?

“If there is on earth a house with many mansions, it is the house of words” ~ E.M. Forster

Today, I did a meme on someone else’s blog; the only catch was that the answers could only be one word. Now, for most people, that would probably not be a big problem. Yes. No. One word answers come easily to many people. Red. Paris. Orchids. But you have to understand, my brain is just not wired for short, simple answers, especially not the one-word kind.

I love words. I love to roll them around on my tongue, find new ones, use obscure ones. My love affair with words has been long and faithful (on my part, at least). I mention this because it goes a long way in explaining why giving just one word answers would take me much longer than a regular meme, in which I could write whatever I wanted.

“Words are the voice of the heart.” ~ Confucius

I finally stopped struggling with this particular meme, and just went with the first word that popped into my head. If not, I would still be working on my answers, and my blog would not be written. But this leads me to another confession, one that will probably not surprise some of you:

I am a blonger. There, I said it. I admitted it. It’s out there; I’ve been vetted as a blogger and found wanting. To put it bluntly, I write blogs that are too long for regular blogs: they are blongs. Of course, I had no idea that such a thing even existed until I came across the term on another blog on which the site’s owner (are we owners? hosts? moderators? I’ll get back to that), the site’s owner used the term blong.

Now, I know that the ear may not hear the l in blong, but trust me, bonger would really not apply to me. I take too many prescription pharmaceuticals to mess with anything else. Just wanted to clarify that. But the word is blong, which I trust means long blog, hence: blong. It really isn’t a pretty word, is it? But then, neither is blog. They are both words that your ear must adjust to hearing and your spell checker refuses to acknowledge.

The point is that I cannot write pithy posts. I’ve tried.  There is too much baggage there: English Instructor at a university; writer for an art museum . . . these do not lend themselves to pithy. In fact, I used to abhor the five-paragraph paradigm for compositions, and I would go out of my way to destroy any vestiges of that construct in my composition students. I wanted them to understand that it was a format that could be used if one were totally lacking in insight and creativity, but it was not the only format allowable.

However, I know that I have my detractors, people who say that I use too many words when fewer will suffice. And in some cases, I agree. When I am in my scientific/technical mode, I use as few words as possible to say what I mean because, of course, I am writing for a specific audience type and level. When I am in my marketing mode, I write in a totally different style, the one necessitated by the product and the audience.

“Words are alive; cut them, and they bleed” ~ Emerson

But this is my blog that we’re talking about. My blog is a reflection of me, of my thoughts, feelings, dreams, and despairs. I cannot pare that down to a few paragraphs. I do tend to have convoluted sentences in which the modifiers may not be obviously apparent as I am off on a tangent, and my aim is not to parse but to create a rhythm. I have found that very few people actually pay attention to rhythm in their writing, and that’s an injustice to fiction, epistolary writing, and essays. Rhythm is not just for poetry; it is for any writing that wants to be taken seriously.

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I realize that my long blogs are not for everyone. You have to love words, and you have to understand my wit, which I will freely admit is not everyone’s cup of tea. But at the same time, I get very frustrated when I am surfing on a blogging community, and all that I see are one-sentence entries that aren’t even actually sentences (as in grammatically-correct sentences). These posts seem to belong in the realm of Twitter, which was made for short messenging, or IM (instant messenging). How can I leave a comment on a blog on which the entry is nothing more than, “Hello. I am here now.” Granted, that’s all that some people have to say, but . . .

WTF? I’m not asking for everyone to be profound or even profuse, but a “little less talk a lot more action,” as EP said.

Photographic/visual blogs are beautiful. They are not meant to be full of words because the communication format being employed is obviously visual as opposed to verbal. For most of these blogs, the visuals speak for themselves, and very often, leave me speechless because of the incredible talent that is being shared.

Blogs that are predominantly third person also kind of bother me when the site’s owner tries to pass off articles from other media as being his or her original material. If the blog’s intent is to expound upon a particular political philosophy, then it gives the site credence if sources are identified, and the writer does more than just post news; i.e., includes an editorial comment of some sort. Otherwise, what is the point? I’ll get my news from CNN, MSNBC, Salon, etc.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug” ~ Mark Twain

Please don’t misunderstand: I am not trying to establish rules for blogs. Far from it. I am only trying to explain why I cannot write short blogs and why short blogs get on my nerves. Let me break it down: After a while, some blogs that continually have very little in the way of content, tend to remind me of  some of the mainstream authors who I used to read, but no longer bother to buy. Why? Because their books are all the same now. They have found a winning formula; they are turning a new book out every year, and there is absolutely no substance in these new releases.

For example, when Patricia Cornwell first began her Kay Scarpetta series, it was groundbreaking. The character was thoroughly drawn, and the plots in the first few novels were tightly woven. But then I noticed something in the 5th and then 6th books. I was flying through them and not getting very much out of them. Cornwell was skating on her success. It happens.

Am I jealous? Well, in one sense, hell yes. Of course I’m jealous that she just has to name her next novel, and it is immediately guaranteed a space on the NYT booklist. She can name her terms. She has numerous assistants. Yes, of that I am jealous. But I am disappointed that what started out so promisingly has turned into predictable shelf-filler at warehouse stores.

But again, I digress . . .

My main point in this blog was to avow the assertion that I am a blonger. I write long blogs that are filled with digressions, prequels, sequels, and commentaries. I am unapologetic about it. I started this blog to immerse myself in writing on a regular basis. That aim has been achieved. But I have continued this blog because I have made several wonderful contacts from around the world, and I love to peruse other people’s blogs to see how other people think. I have also continued because I really love doing this.

“There is a time for many words. And there is also a time for sleep” ~ Homer

When I no longer enjoy it, I will stop. So on that note, enough for now. More later. Peace.

8 thoughts on ““I Put The Words Down And Push Them A Bit” ~ Evelyn Waugh

  1. Lita,

    I have to agree with Maureen. I find your writing inspiring and free, and that is the hardest thing for a writer to do. To free themselves from the constrictions of pre-determined intention. That is the hardest thing to do and yet when it is achieved the results are so wonderful. You are gifted and your words come from the free space inside you.

    Many years ago in college I took some pre-requisite writing class for my major, which was English. I so wanted to inspire kids to love the English language the way the I did. I never achieved that goal and I will always regret that.

    Anyway, to get back to this writing course. I had taken so many writing courses in High School that I came into this class with sort of an attitude that I already knew what I needed to know for a Creative Writing Class. I liked the Professor enough and she liked me, so all seemed well.

    Then one day she gave us an assignment. She told us to imagine that we had been born without the ability to see. She never used the word blind. She told us to imagine the world without sight, then she sent us home to describe what the color “red” meant to a person who had never even seen any color. We were all so young and that had to be one of the hardest things that I had ever done.

    What we inevitably learned from this exercise was to think out of the box and to dare to imagine a world where you could describe something without ever really having seen it. I unfortunately lost that essay many years ago, but I do remember having the profound thought that I had not done as well as I could have. I received a good enough grade in that class, but this Professor left me with that very profound understanding that you so obviously possess.

    Once again, thanks for sharing yourself with us. I can’t tell you how much being here pleases me.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. This blog really is my creative outlet at the moment. My goal is to write at least two hours every day. I had a writing teacher as an undergrad who said that if we wanted to be writers, we had to treat writing as a profession, not a hobby. He told us about his daily routine. He would get up in the morning and have coffee with his family, and then he would closet himself away for six hours. Those six hours were his job. He didn’t answer the phone, and no one bothered him unless it was absolutely necessary. He didn’t necessarily write for six hours straight, but that six hours was his time that was set aside to write, to ponder, to create. He did this every day. He now has several novels and a couple of short story compilations in print.

      I decided when I had to stop working full time and I finished school (third time around), that if I were ever going to do this, this thing called writing, then I would have to take it seriously, and so I dedicate at least two hours a day to writing. But of course, itis much longer than that. Every day, I sit down at this computer (which is giving me fits right now), and then I stare at the screen. Sometimes I wake up knowing exactly what I want my topic to be, but other times, I really have to think about it. On those days, I cruise the web, read some news, and then if I’m still not inspired, I go back and look at some of my older stuff. This almost always works.

      Once I start, I don’t stop until I’m finished. I never try to pad my entries; they simply end when I believe that they are over. I never know where I’m going until I get there, but getting there is the best part, and for me, the easiest once I finally start. It was always the starting that held me back. I just wouldn’t make the time, not find the time.

      Now, I am very deliberate, and I make the time, and I’ve found that starting is not nearly as hard as it used to be. And finishing, well that just comes naturally.

      Again, thank you so much for stopping by on a regular basis. It’s so nice to have regular readers who give me feedback. Lita

  2. Hi Lita,
    Forget about the detractors and continue to write at length.Your posts are never boring, always interesting and incredibly human. You are indeed a wordsmith and I for one feel I have actually read something worth reading when I visit your blog, unlike the one sentence posts which are appearing as legitimate blogs 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I just get so frustrated when I’m watching the blogs flash up on the screen, and there is only one word there, or something completely nonsensical. Don’t they text each other?

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