Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Speaking Bloggish

I may speak English, but I think in Bloggish – that ongoing internal conversation that when put down on paper amounts to writing. My bloggish comes in blocks of thought, too short to be a commentary or even an essay, but just the right size for a ... post.

Even my first book, The Jim and Dan Stories, about losing my brothers a month apart, was written in blog-style blocks. At first I was confused by the format that dictated itself, the slightly disjointed short pieces that I struggled to name. Essays? Vignettes? Journal entries? In the end, when viewed as a whole, those short prose pieces wove together a story; partly an account of my brother’s last weeks; part a memoir of growing up together in a large Irish Catholic family; and part a chronicle of my personal experience coping with all-consuming grief.

It seems that my mind thinks in excerpts from a larger text that fills my mind. I don’t think in linear “start to finish” ways. I’m one of those people who thinks in flash bulletins and browses through books from back to forward. Or I look at a word like “thinking” and see “thin king” or maybe “king thinking.”

Blogging comes natural to me. It reminds me of the high school notes that my girlfriends and I wrote and passed to each other in the school corridors. Whenever we got a chance, we picked up where we left off, channeling our thoughts, as though we were taking dictation from the Muse.

Blogging also appeals to my sense of efficiency. I like to speak and receive language succinctly, but I frequently struggle to put the right words together when articulating in the moment. I know exactly what I should have said, after the fact, usually when I’m writing it down. At a recent Spoken Word Event in Floyd, it was my turn to read my poetry. “Some people write because they don’t like to talk,” I announced to the audience before clearing my throat to read, hoping the written word would speak for itself.

Being a blogger, when someone asks me how I’m doing or what’s new, I can now skip the conventional perfunctory answers and refer them to my site address. Time for a letter home? Print out a blog page and catch everyone up. And of course, the archivist in me says, “Let’s get this on the record!”

Writing is the way I synthesize whatever I’m learning at the time, but it’s also the way I catalog what I already know. With blogging, I can cross reference myself and then match the results with what others are saying.

It’s a social activity too. Eventually bloggers find each other, and so you meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. As a once prolific letter writer, I have always felt that writing is a good way to get to know one another, believing it has the potential to reveal more of one’s true self than the physical presentation can.

Don’t like small talk? Would you rather share insights? Explore topics? Are you a homebody who finds anything but the occasional social event overwhelming, or maybe superficial? Maybe you’re like me, a person who loves to get mail. You could be a blogger too, and blogs can be as light as a “pen pal central” or as serious at the watchdog political blogs that have recently been keeping the news media on its toes.

Finally, I think blogging is an act of self-sufficiency that isn't dependent on editors and publishers. Not only is it an immediate forum where you can develop your writing skills, I also believe that when you share your creative output, creativity grows larger in you.

There are lots of reasons for blogging. These are some of mine. I think I’ve been dreaming up and storing blog drafts in my head since I was a young girl. Early on, I was aware of an internal monologue, which would come through most clearly when I was off on my own, roaming the open fields of un-mowed grass and Queen Anne’s Lace in my hometown of Hull, Massachusetts. It was as if I was on a quest to perceive the world and then translate it by putting it in my own words. From there, I have arrived here… blogging on the Blue Ridge @

Note: The above was originally posted on my blog on March 26, 2005.

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