Sunday, August 17, 2008

Questioning the Blog

No, I’m not interrogating the blog, aiming an unbearably bright light in its twitching eyes. I’m questioning myself. Why do I do this? (Blink-blink.) Even the label, blog, sounds frivolous or unclear, like a cross between “blahblahblah” and fog or bog. Originally, I created the blog (with initial set-up help from my older daughter) so that there was a place where people could find my books and contact me. One of my literary guiding lights, C. M. Mayo, had asked me to guest blog on Madam Mayo after my second book, Stirring the Mirror, came out last August. I needed a site to link to! So, in a way, it forced my hand. On August 13, 2007, the blog was born.

Since the initial days, the blog has evolved into…well, I’m not quite sure what. Essentially, I’ve let it just happen. I don’t want to build a fence around it. I've let it sprawl. To answer my own question why, I’ve come up with the following thoughts:

  1. It places me more fully in my life.

  1. It marks passage through time, engraving mile markers along the route.

  1. It clarifies nebulous thoughts.

  1. It’s a commitment to writing and art.

  1. It’s an openness to the possibilities of art/creativity in the world, a reaching out to reel in those possibilities, to anchor and join them in a specific place.

  1. It’s an exercise in synthesis, a weaving together of threads from reading, poetry , the visual arts, nature, culture, all fleeting experience.

  1. It’s an exploration of both reality and dreams.

  1. It keeps me looking, thinking, witnessing, reading and rereading, listening, feeling and creating – cinching the ragged edges of the universe a bit closer.

  1. I like the casual, rambling style of “essay” (lyric essay?) that I feel free to write here. I like that relaxed autonomy. It lets me experiment with form, with hybrid writing, which I love.

  1. I enjoy the communication, the sharing of ideas and information. I love hearing from those who visit the blog, who have other thoughts to add, who make additional connections, who offer suggestions and expand the posts. I like the idea of a network of blogs.

  1. And, hey, I like the rare free stuff! Recently, after a brief post about Matsuo Basho, I received an e-mail from the publishers of a new collection of his work, Basho: The Complete Haiku, translated by Jane Reichhold, asking if I’d like a copy. Yes. I now have the lovely hardcover, and will focus on it soon. John Glick of Plumtree Pottery also mailed me a surprise: a beautiful, swirling universe of a ceramic tile. Thanks.

  1. Along the same theme, I’ve enjoyed receiving invitations to submit work, or requests to reprint writing and photographs from the blog.

  1. I get a thrill out of taking those photographs, then finding the right words to go with them. I like setting up little scenes, going off on tangents, letting inspiration unspool. This is serious fun.

  1. Okay, and I savor the “search for the sublime.” Those are the insightful words of Annie Dillard, writing about polar explorers: “They went, I say, partly in search of the sublime, and they found it the only way it can be found, here or there – around the edges, tucked into the corners of the days.” (Teaching a Stone to Talk, p. 41)

After a year, I’m setting no limits on the blog. I’m allowing it an amoeboid existence, the freedom to expand and contract. I’m here, waiting, meandering, open to the unfurling possibilities. I’ll end here with more of Dillard’s wisdom:

“Wherever we go, there can be only one business at hand – that of finding workable compromises between the sublimity of our ideas and the absurdity of the fact of us.”

The final quote is again from Teaching a Stone to Talk, p. 42. The photo of the colorful maple leaf (already?!) was taken –literally – on my road on 8/15/08.

12 comments:

Deborah said...

What's life -- and art -- without questions? You say it all so eloquently, in a way that resonates . . . and I know all about inhabiting stories (your earlier post)

Christine said...

Hello, Deborah...yes, questions, always questions. And some answers, too. Keep inhabiting your new "story!" Thanks so much.

Vesper de Vil said...

these are excellent articulations of reasons to continue blogging. i am passionate about it, and wish i had more time.

Annecy said...

Christine:

I loved what you said about blogging. I'd love to use, with your permission, when I start my healing and writing group and some of my students may be thinking of blogging or journaling, your piece gives writing meaning. I think one exercise can be "why?", why do we write, journal, blog, create art, take photos, etc. We do it because without it life would be lopsided. At least for me. Life becomes whole through art. I can't live without it. Keep on blogging because this open canvas in which you so authentically share your deepest thoughts and your art is like water for thirst.

Christine said...

Hello again, Ms. Vesper de Vil -- Your passion for words shows on your blog! It's not easy finding enough time for the things we love...

Christine said...

Hi, Annecy -- Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and encouragement. Of course you may use the blog with your group. I'd be honored. I like your description of the blog as an "open canvas." Great. I agree -- life would be "lopsided" without art.

Devil Mood said...

It's amazing because I can relate to all your 14 points. Some are obviously more relevant than others to me, but it goes to show that whatever this is called (the strange word blog) it is indeed so useful and enriching.
It also made me rekindle my love for blogging a little, since I've been a little unmotivated recently.

tamie said...

I absolutely relate to what you all say. I am passionate about blogging too, and I'm grateful that you've articulated so well why we all do this, Christine. Thank you.

Christine said...

Dear Devil Mood -- I'm so glad you can relate to what I wrote. Thanks for visiting...and good luck with getting motivated.

Christine said...

Thanks so much, Tamie! I appreciate your visit and comments.

anonant said...

Living like weasel?
Life is not a casual thing it is a causal thing and the questions, answers, and the odd serendipitous perfect mistake make it so wonderful.
I really enjoyed that, thank you.
peace

Christine said...

I like your words: "the odd serendipitous perfect mistake." Somehow those are the thrilling moments -- and lead us off in new directions of discovery. (The "aha" of insight?) I appreciate your visit and thoughts.