Yeah, it’s been a while, but I’m again starting to ask myself “Why bother?” prompted by lack of response (gotta find that Mark Bernstein post on why comments on blogs are not a great idea) but stirred to think more about it this morning by Carolyn’s tweet: “I STILL DON”T “GET” TWITTER…or blogging” and this, from Hugo Schwyzer’s weblog:
When W.H. Auden was asked by a Michigan graduate student “What can I do to become a better poet?”, he replied (this may be apocryphal) “Stop keeping a journal or writing long letters.” What Auden explained was that we do our best writing from pent-up thoughts and feelings; if we release that tension in diaries, for example, we might miss out on the chance to do some first-rate work. I am no Auden, and I am no poet. But if I want to write something that gets published somewhere other than on my blog, I need to be willing to give a bit more time to that project. This blog will continue, and fresh writing will appear here regularly — but it might just be once per week.
What struck me is Auden’s “we do our best writing from pent-up thoughts and feelings; if we release that tension in diaries, for example, we might miss out on the chance to do some first-rate work” Well I’m certainly no Auden either, and no Faulkner or even a Steele, so I don’t have high hopes of publishing outside of my weblogs and so don’t mind sharing my thoughts and writings for free.
There’s an emptiness, however; an obvious emptiness when the work is out there and read–or not–and receives no reaction at all. Sort of like Friday night at the Improv, playing to an embarrassingly quiet full house. It’s likely less emotionally upsetting to keep things private–particularly when you feel like you’re hanging yourself out there and folks are just walkin’ on by. At least if kept to oneself, one can still feel that one’s words and thoughts have value since they’re not being judged if they’re not being offered. The creative mind imagines that one’s friends are either so bored that they don’t bother stopping by, or that your work is so bad that out of pity they avoid making a remark, tip-toeing silently away.
On the other hand, even as I write so much and so often here and in Hypercompendia that I must appear to have no live friends at all, I think that it has sharpened my writing skills rather than wasted them. And I do realize that blogging is more successful if it is focused topically, rather than shotgunned as I tend to do here. My Reality’s are boring or whiny to some; Literature discussions dreadfully tedious/interesting insight–but you can see that it limits the audience. And of course, political views on Current Affairs tend to always turn people off, regardless of the passion or writing put in. Something to think about.