Posts about blogging often have a Catholic air of contrition about them: “Bless me Father, for I have sinned — I have not posted in six days.” Ach, indulge me as I cast before you a post about blogging!
Earlier this week, I published a few paragraphs about K traveling to a city in China very close to North Korea. It was freaking me out, etc. I thought maybe I could institute a practice of sharing his absence in real time because of our barky friend, Finn — but then thought the better of it. Why advertise vulnerability? (Since K’s now en route from Beijing to Newark, it’s public again).
[By the way, I don’t need my husband to be within Seoul’s radiation range to care about nuclear escalation — (in fact two others in my indivisible group and I have an appointment to speak with Representative Joe Kennedy about this next week). Let’s just say that the possibility of immediate personal harm amplifies concern].
Then I started a post about housekeeping. Part nod to the need for discrete tasks with tangible results in a world spinning out of control and part nostalgic lament. (And yes, I really am picking detritus out from between the floor boards with a fowl pin!)
The house is tidier than ever. The raking more thorough. It’s hard not to wonder: what was so impossible about keeping a neat house while the boys were growing up?
Not wanting a question so fundamentally unfair to myself to linger unanswered, I considered an exercise in prescriptive memoir. Let’s document the positive!
I have a terrible memory, but this warping of recollection in the direction of personal failing is something else. It hurts.
But then it all felt incredibly disingenuous and anyway, in the process of rereading journals to “build my case,” I kept finding stuff that highlighted my missteps. Whoops! I got jammed. Really jammed.
I consulted my dear Byron Katie and got a little unstuck.
I’m tired of taking sides.
And anyway, wouldn’t a disordered lament make me more vulnerable and therefore be more interesting than some tidy, upbeat chirp of a post, which corrective or not, is ultimately self-congratulatory?
Messy then. Less messy now. So what.
I’ll leave you with a few of the pictures I scared up. I’ve made no attempt to span the years or to be thorough in any way (you know me better than that!)
love that last photo and re stories just read this quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it.”
in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings
You do that don’t you Mo. find the perfect quote. Provide a link. It’s part of your witchcraft. Just scanned the Moth / Gaiman piece and can’t wait to follow some of the links. And it’s weirdly prescient of you, too, because I have been thinking a lot about the Moth with respect to my sister. As in: how cd I even begin to edit down all that is wrong and awful I order to make it fit into the format? It keeps coming up as a frame for the stories constantly unfolding with her. It’s partly knowing too how, even tho some of it is so awful so hard to bare it is also a little funny or something.
What a lovely trip down your memory lane. The photos tell their own story and spark memories of my own. A post is a post…whatever you want to put out there, for others or for yourself to look back on or express in a moment. Love Mo’s quote.
Hi Nancy. It’s a struggle to figure out where to disclose and what.
So true! How much, How, When, Why??? So much to consider.
The pictures of your boys could be matched photo for photo with our collection….. boys with friends, boys in onesies, boys on the trail, boys with Dad and christmas tree, boys at the beach, big boys with friends, big boys hanging out with parents……the time slips by so inexorably.
Mo is a veritable encyclopedia of quotations….our own Bartletts….and this was a good one. Also, I am with Nancy; I’ll read anything you write.
Thanks Dana. You all are really helping me to — not find my voice because it’s there in my pages every day — but to share it. To be be brave enough. To feel the connectivity that comes from being vulnerable is a powerful motivator and obviously I couldn’t do that alone. Thank you for that.
It goes without saying (but I’m saying) the family photos are simply wonderful wonderful wonderful, and about the writing…as though you’re thinking out loud, and it’s all very entertaining. It feels authentic. I often type a post and let it sit. I find I always edit – sometimes for clumsy phrasing, sometimes because something new occurred to me to include and often for the sake of discretion on behalf of others I’m talking about…and about myself.
Your process is very similar to mine. The holding off, the rewriting (I rewrite 8, 9, 10 times at least even when there are no problematic issues of disclosure or tone — just as you say for clumsy phrasing or, in my case, typos), the consideration of others in terms of what I say or don’t say.
Mmmm…makes me consider my own process. I think (at this moment anyway) that I usually write blog posts fairly quickly these days, unless I add links. I edit as I go, reread once or twice and publish. However, I will add that I am compelled to go back and fix typos, even after publishing if I notice one. Perhaps this is a trait of an English teacher’s daughter! I will also add that I can start the writing process with much of it already thought of during a commute, a shower or while waking! Other times I sit down and out something comes, that was not what I was planning. Now that your comments have inspired this reflection…I wonder what, if anything it means or matters! xoNancy
My posts used to be more spontaneous — a kind of filtered journal entry. But more these days, there’s an idea or a theme and I let it stew and burble a little. I kinda like this slow distillation. Your pieces often read like well wrought personal essays. I wonder if that’s from being an English teacher’s daughter too?
I guess I do let some things ‘brew’ for a bit, but when I go to actually write is that more spontaneous? Mmmm…
One of the biggest differences between blogging and other writing is I compose on the keyboard. Do you? That’s another difference between the spoken piece and day to day posts. That was hand written in one go.
I do write on the keyboard now. Years ago, when computers were a new thing, I had to hand write everything first and then type it up. I couldn’t think on the computer. Now it is the opposite, which is part of why I edit as I go…it is so easy to do that. Plus, I’ve completely forgotten how to spell (why doesn’t FB response box have spell check I often wonder!!! lol) Plus, my hands hurt to hand write these days. I am so clumsy with a pen. However, I do scribble notes, words, phrases to recall them.
Michelle struck a chord with me when she said “authentic.” It’s your authenticity that is compelling. I like the photos you share. The cupcake boy is very sweet; such pure enjoyment of the moment.
It’s strange to think of authenticity while creating this public persona, but then it can be an approach, a way in.
Ah, but is it a ‘persona’? When you read aloud your piece…it seemed so true, so real of a sharing…feelings deeply felt and expressed. It seems more that some of us share who we are, in a way that seems best at that time (with the considerations you have mentioned). Do I write to create a “Nancy” for the online world? Mmmm…never thought of it that way. Considering.
That term “the curated self”…. I don’t know. The read-aloud piece was a prompt response from writing class and not even edited. Those are raw. I’m used to sharing those pages to my class so it wasn’t brand new to put out there but a break through of sorts for this format. I think we all write to our readers, too.
my house is a mess, I’ve run out of excuses.
I’ve never seen a messy space in all your pictures!