Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On Writing

I clicked over to Blogger today to put together a post and found that it was down for maintenance – some database problem that they are trying to fix. I was already feeling a bit lethargic and out of sorts, so I decided to write something else, and then I got bogged down in what I was trying to write, so I went online to research a little bit, and then I got suddenly sick of the whole enterprise, and that led me to wonder why I do all this in the first place.

Why do I write? I write because that is the only way I can make sense of my world. I write because if I don’t, my head gets all muddled, and writing helps to clear it out. I write because if I don’t, I start to get irritable and distracted.

I started writing when I was just a kid, and I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me – much love to Miss Johnson at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, who told me my stories were good enough to be published – and a family who would actually read my stuff out loud with great enjoyment. I had grandparents who allowed me to use their old manual typewriter, banging sporadically away with glee. (I shudder to recall some of those early efforts, which were blatant ripoffs of Judy Blume themes.)

Now, at times I read through my blog archives, and I think, “Oh, that was pretty funny,” or “Hey, that was clever,” but not lately. I find myself less witty these days, more critical of my own writing, and that takes away from the sheer fun of it.

I do not aspire to great literary lionhood here. The blog is here for fun, to help me get my thoughts down somewhere and let me stretch my writing muscles. I was working on a book for a while, here and there, and while at first I thought how great it would be for it to be published, as soon as I started thinking that way, all the joy went out if it. It became a grind.

“How’s the book going?” people would say. And recently, when they found out I was going “back” to work, “Did Lisa finish her book?”

The answer, of course, is no. Lisa did not finish her book, and Lisa feels a bit guilty about that, because it appears that Lisa had a whole bunch of free time for almost an entire year and did not make much progress. Lisa did a whole lot of laundry and dishwashing, cooked a lot of meals, went for walks, did some yoga, blogged a bit, scored some freelance work, interviewed for various jobs, and spent a lot of time with her family.

If the book is really all that damn important, it will get written eventually. And it may even be me that writes it.

NOTE: Posted on Friday, June 9, 2006 at 1:04 PM: two days after my first attempt. Grrr.

No comments: