Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Writing on Air

I hardly ever write letters anymore. And today I wrote in my journal and saw that almost two months had passed since the last entry. Just lately, I've been at the Beast every day (see my post of 21 September), typing extempore, trying to loosen up, letting the knots work themselves out. Otherwise, my main writing outlet lately has been this blog. One of the things I journaled about today is this blogging, how different its been, how much it occupies me, the ways it confronts me. That I'm still trying to figure out my attitude to this.

One thing I am acutely aware of is that you are out there, whoever you are.

When I write a letter - which I think to be one of the most highly intimate forms of expression possible - I address a single person. When I journal, I address another single person - myself - but aware too that, from time to time, others who are close to me may enter into it. That possibility is never entirely lost, however I try to lose it. Probably because of the couple of times when that other has found and read my journal. Both times motivated by the very curiosity - though of a higher potency - as that I'm trying to awaken and address now, through this 'thin air' that the web somehow is.

Coming here, and trying to speak in a thoughtful and uninhibited way with strangers as well as with those I know, challenges in interesting ways. It gets me thinking about the circles and layers of my identity. There are the very obvious things about me, and the things that may still be only partially clear, even to me, when this journey through the world is over. So what do I share here? And whom am I addressing? I waver on these questions all the time.

I originally thought that I would post lots of story fragments here, the pieces that come from my exercises in fiction writing - ideas and sketches and dialogues and urban scenarios. There's been hardly any of that. And I find I'm writing more about the varied incidences and reflections and chance occurances of my lived life. My thoughts shift about where it should go.

Over the years I've thought a lot about the different energies and aspects of my consciousness that are expressed and explored through different forms of writing. I'm a different writer, even a different person, when I write a letter than when I'm crafting a story. And I've thought about what part of the dynamic of letter and journal writing I ought to invite into the writing of stories. It's a question about the process of developing my voice. Because voice, I've discovered, is very distinct from whatever it is I have to say, or even my purpose in saying it. Voice is the how. Voice is at the heart of the relationship between speaker and listener. It's what opens the path and extends the vision.

I've recently become fascinated by the "stats" page that Blogger makes available, that informs me when someone views my blog, what pages they go to, and what country they connect from. Today brought the surprise of a reader from Belize, one who apparently looked at several postings, including my own favorite, "Ways to Approach an Ocean", from way back on May 23. I'm fascinated by that fact. You, out there, connecting with my words and thoughts and offererings.

I'd love to know who you are out there, and to receive your thoughts about what you read here. No expectations, just my own curiosity. What buttons have I pushed, what insights have I triggered, what nerves have I irritated? I hope you'll let me know. Consider this an invitation!

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