I miss blogging.
I used to blog every day. And then I went to several times a week, and then recently I’ve barely blogged at all. It’s because I’ve been so busy. The problem with getting to do all the things you want to, is that you’re doing all the things. And there are still things I want to do that I don’t have time for.
So what am I doing? I have two wonderful academic positions, both of which I love: teaching writing to undergraduates at Boston University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program. This year, I finished a novel, so I am writing, even though it’s been a while since I’ve had a short story come out. I have almost enough short stories for the next short story collection; I mean, I have enough, but I want to write one more. And then I want to write the second novel, the sequel to the one I just finished.
I’m already into describing what I want to do, aren’t I? Instead of focusing on what I’m doing. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be enough time. In these last few weeks in particular, finishing the academic semester, I’ve been exhausted, not sleeping enough and not eating very well. (I mean, I eat very healthily, or I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. But when I’m up past midnight, I get hungry again, and then I’m eating five meals a day. Like a Hobbit . . .)
So what is the problem exactly? I think it’s the sense that I’m doing so much for other people, and not doing all that much for myself. Not getting enough time to write, but also not getting to connect in the way I want to. In a way that blogging allows me to.
A friend of mine who is a writer once asked me why I do it, because it seemed to her as though it was taking time that I could be doing other work, like writing short stories. But blogging is easy for me, in a way writing short stories isn’t. It doesn’t take as much energy. And it allows me to get ideas out there, talk to people directly. I think I need that. I spend so much time talking as an authority on things. You know, I walk into a classroom and I’m the Professor. Or I’m advising a student on how to revise a story, a novel. Blogging is really the only place where I get to say, Here’s what confuses me. Here’s what my day is like. Here’s what I’m afraid of. (Failure and irrelevance, at the moment. Those are my particular fears.)
It’s the place where I get to speak without an editor.
I don’t know how much I can get back to it. There’s so much else I need to do. But I think that if I don’t get my ideas out, they get stuck in my head, and then it’s as though they’re all backed up, and they get snarled. I think I need a place to speak, and I think it needs to be public, because that’s who I am. It’s not enough for me to talk to friends. I’m a storyteller. Blogging is my way of telling the story of myself, and it allows me to get myself out of the way, so I can tell other stories as well.
Conclusion: I need a way to make sure that I’m writing. Otherwise, I get sick. I start to feel all wrong . . . And it’s important for me to write fiction, but when I can’t, blogging can fill that gap. It can keep me writing regularly, so I don’t feel as though I’ve somehow lost it . . . or lost myself. I need it the way I need to work out in the morning, or take a hot bath at the end of the day — because it keeps me healthy. I suppose the lesson here is that if you want to do it all, people will eventually let you. And then you will be doing it all, and you will go, all right, but I still need time for myself. Even if it’s writing a silly blog post!
This is me, on my way to class, on the last week of classes. With the first snowflakes of the season on my hat . . .