the reluctant blogger

photobooth e.v. de cleyre 2014Within the past few years, I’ve (mostly) stopped blogging, choosing instead to re-post a review or essay I wrote for another venue. It’s not a lack of things to say, but the unsettling feeling that one might be inadequate, or unqualified for such expression. Social media sometimes feels like shouting into an empty canyon; I can never tell if anyone is listening.

In the final issue of Wag’s Revue, editor Sandra Allen interviews Saaed Jones about publishing on the internet. When Jones states that it “moves quickly and has a short memory,” Allen adds:

“And it has a long memory. There’s an odd duality. For example if in Wag’s Revue, we published something four years ago that now I would not have published, it’s still there. I’m not going to go back and delete it. It’s part of the record, part of the archive. I’ve been thinking about how both are true.”

There is a lot of shit on the internet. There are a few posts in this blog’s archives that I’ve thought about deleting, and there are a few I trashed. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to continue to contribute, piling more content atop more content, but I’m not fully convinced that the answer to such over-saturation is withhold, to be silent.

A private person who happens to write nonfiction, I do not want to publicly document my life as it unfolds, and somewhat arrogantly thought at one time that whatever I wrote was gold and deserved a larger platform. Maybe someday, after these experiences have been properly digested and sifted for glimmers of meaning, but for now they are pyrite.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try to document in the moment. Last week, as the bus driver went rogue and left the predetermined bus route, I grabbed my phone, typed a few words, and promptly deleted them, realizing that my attempts to share the experience were taking me out of the experience.

Despite my reservations and hesitations about blogging and social media, when I spoke to a writing class via Skype yesterday, I was overwhelmingly positive about the benefits of a blog. It’s a space for growth and exploration, allowing one to find and hone their voice. A space where you can ask and answer: what is it I want to say and how can I say it? For me, the only way to find answers to those questions is to keep writing.

Nowadays, in the throes of revising a book, submitting to literary magazines and journals, and inundated with rejection, a blog is less a place for me to find my voice and more of a space where I can actually hit publish. It’s a place for letting go, both of the work itself, and the myth that it has to be perfect.


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