Saturday, August 18, 2007


Drama of Life and Death. Theresa Williams. Collage.

I look back at the person I was when I first started blogging and I feel she is very different from the person I am now. Once the blog fulfilled a need I had to figure out who I was artistically. I'd pushed a book out into the world but felt lost about my where to go next with my writing. I was full of doubts. I felt bogged down in my academic work. I was trying to find myself artistically and professionally.

Lately, I've been thinking about quitting the blog. I've been thinking I don't need it anymore. I'm starting to feel grounded in my writing life. My teaching excites me in ways it hasn't for a long time. I have more ideas for stories than I will ever be able to write in a lifetime. I've found out why I write and why I write about what I write about. Many of the friends I started out with in the blogging world have disappeared. Their interests, too, have changed, and they don't come here anymore. I feel a pulling away where I once felt a strong connection to others out there. This place is visited less all the time; the comments are sparse. It may be time for a change. That may mean it's time for me to quit.
On the other hand, I don't want to be a quitter. I need to sort through my feelings about all this.

If I stay, this blog will no doubt change from what it has been. It may become more an academic exploration of subjects I'm interested in, a beginning place for some things I'd like to flesh out. It may become more about my teaching, too, than it once was. I just don't know.

I'm staying for now. I'm thinking it over. I'm thinking out loud. I probably shouldn't mention it, really, but if I don't, then I'm perpetuating a sort of lie and holding it inside myself, and that has never been good for me.

Classes start on Monday. I have finished all three of my syllabi, and there are many new people who will come into my life once again. We will go on a voyage together and hopefully create bonds, and good memories.

I am going to California in September, to Big Sur, to teach workshops at Esalen again. It was overcast today, breezy. The humidity was low, the air crisp and cool. Such days make me feel alive.

I read an entire book this afternoon and evening, something I haven't done in a long time. I've been picking up books for weeks and only been able to tolerate them in short bursts. My thoughts slide away and I have to put the books aside. But I read Ianthe Brautigan's memoir straight through today. It is about how she dealt with the suicide death of her famous father, Richard Gary Brautigan. I ordered the book after doing a short review at a book group at Library Thing called books compared. Doing the review made me curious about Richard Brautigan again. I have always felt a strange connection to him, a connection I've welcomed but that has always made me a bit uneasy, too. Doing the review and reading Ianthe's book, You Can't Catch Death, makes me want to write about the connection I have with Brautigan as an attempt to understand it.

I've met some new friends at Library Thing. I even started a group over there called Art is Life. I've looked in on message boards and groups before and have been frankly appalled at what I saw: a lot of cruelty, sniping at each other, and worthless conversation. I've never seen a group I wanted to belong to. But people at Library Thing are more like I am, I feel. I am at home there.

I'm not quitting the blog yet. I haven't decided yet what to do. That is the truth.


Cynthia said...

I think that a person's blogging changes with their life. Goodness knows mine has changed, not really for the better, and I don't get the same enjoyment from it that I used to. I don't want to see you give up your blog, but only you know if it's worth it for you. It's a question we all have to ask at some point. What I hate would be losing this connection.

Gannet Girl said...

This is an epidemic!

I'm interested to hear about the Brautigan book. I remember being immersed in the father's poetry in high school.

alphawoman said...

Ever since the great exodus two years ago nothing has been the same. I plug along, not for one moment thinking I am in a league with you and Cindy, and find my "readership" has fallen off the nothing but google searches for Hippie and Gypsy. Everything evolves...did you publish the book about your trip down the Ohio?

Loren said...

I think that unless your blog evolves over time that it's going to become a burden.

My blog started out as a form of political commentary, and I still occasionally resort to that, but it slowly transformed to a a poetry blog, which became a literary blog, and then turned to a photo blog, which in turn seemed to shift to a birding blog. I doubt that it'll remain that way for too long.

Like you, I'm drawn to collages, so I wouldn't be surprised if I started making collages again, and included them in my blog.

If my blog ever keeps me from doing what i want to do, rather than serving as a means of reaching out to others who share my tastes and interests, than I'd be the first to dump it.

Judith HeartSong said...

Yes, fewer people come around and leave comments, but some good friends are still here. Mine has become more of a commitment to myself, to keep up the practice... for my kids and to record an artistic soul's life in an honest way, all the inspiration and turmoil.

It still matters to me. I would hate to lose you here, this safe haven of words and ideas and sacredness.... I also want you to be happy and fulfilled, and will support whatever decision you make.

a warm hug,


Anonymous said...

I check in here almost every day to see if something new is posted, and I'll miss the sense of connection and like mindedness if it goes away. But if the blog has served its purpose and gone stale, then... Teagrapple Rae

Jim Matthews said...

I hope you'll stick around. I'd love to read some "academic" writing. Maybe you could decipher Brautigan for me. Best~ Jim

Erin said...

I would hate to see you go, but I agree that you have to make the decision that's right for you. I come and go with my blog, but at the end of the day, it is another excuse for me to write, which isn't a bad thing.

I know exactly what you mean with this paragraph:

"It was overcast today, breezy. The humidity was low, the air crisp and cool. Such days make me feel alive."

When I was living in Honesdale (at the apartment you visited), I would leave all of the windows open longer into autumn than I should have, so I've have to wear sweaters and heavy socks around my apartment. I couldn't get enough of the change, of the crisp autumn air. It made everything seem so real and clear, while also very new.

ggw07 said...

OK I'm not going to be diplomatic or rational here. DON'T STOP!!! What's happening to this blog and perhaps your creative life is a deepening process. You are experimenting with forms, going onward. Of course the commitment to the blog is difficult if you need comments and feedback from a community as reinforcement. That was a choice made in the exodus. The friendships may be richer, although fewer perhaps. If you're about to teach a demanding semester, you may feel overwhelmed and the blog could seem a burden. The quality of the writing may be at a juncture, a turning point, again. Good. Move forward. The blog is a chrysalis. Something great is about to happen. Let it. Allow this flux in your private writing and all creative endeavors. However, the blog has been a catalyst, a welling up, a stirring pot, a boiling over, and is about to explode. Just my reaction.
That said- Of course, it's up to you. I have felt your pulling back. If daily life calls for more attention, you must heed this. If your private writing and work demands concentration, then give it. Take a breather- let go- and see what happens. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I will miss you terribly and seek you in whatever medium you choose to share.
“I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind--and to work some of those contradictions out for myself.”
-Michel de Montaigne




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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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