Monday, August 22, 2005

Blogworthy

Ever experience this phenomenon? You’re going about your day, and as you do, you find yourself thinking, Is this blogworthy?

I know other bloggers have written about this. And I find it happening to me a lot. One recent evening I was kneeling at the bathtub, soaping up my highly excitable dog’s nether parts after an anxiety-induced episode of lower-GI distress that in our household is referred to by the veterinary term “poopy-butt.” (It’s amazing, if you share living space with both a pet and a geriatric parent, how much of your life begins to revolve around your housemates’ bowel and bladder activities, or lack thereof.) Of all the things that I could have been pondering at this time, I couldn’t help but think, How can I make this blogworthy? What sort of pithy, Lutheresque observation about enfleshed spirituality can I make in this situation? But no lightning strikes of insight were forthcoming. Here I am…washing my dog’s butt.

After several months of keeping a weblog, I feel like a singer-songwriter phenom who, after a remarkable debut album, comes out with a disappointingly mediocre sophomore effort…because I’ve stopped writing about real life and started writing about a songwriter writing about real life.

I suppose one solution to this dilemma would be to stop blogging, go out and do some interesting things, then come back and write about them. But I don't think I want to do that. Because, ever since I was a tiny child, when I used to write, illustrate and publish (using typing paper, crayons and staples) my own books -- I've wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a writer when I got to college; I majored in advertising as a reluctant concession to my practical pater familias, but I planned to make writing my real vocation while I suffered through my day job -- like the Bronte sisters hiding their writing under their knitting, or Kafka furtively scribbling during quiet moments at the insurance office. Later on, when I entered my 30's and my young-adult vision of being a novelist or essayist or creative writing teacher grew blurrier and more distant as my idealism kept running up against the realities of adult life and the necessity of making a living, I felt a real sense of loss; a sense that I had somehow missed my window of opportunity.

The funny thing is -- and believe it or not, I just realized this the other day -- in retrospect, I've pretty much been able to do what I set out to do. I've had the good fortune to work in jobs that involve writing (and even churning out PR hackery, ad copy and newsletter natter is not a bad gig, if you like to play with words); and now I write almost every day in a medium where my work can be read by people all over the world. Who knew, back in 1966 when I was stapling together my Crayola'd opus Queen of the Animals, that I'd actually pull this off someday? It's mind-blowing. God is good.

But the even more mind-blowing thing is: I find myself headed toward another goal. But I don't know what it is. Yet. I've just begun to read Margaret Guenther's Toward Holy Ground: Spiritual Directions For the Second Half of Life , a book that found its way into my hands by a series of meaningful coincidences, and she says this is what happens when you finally grow up; you get the urge to embark on new adventures, very often in a Godward direction.

And you'll get to read about it here.

15 comments:

Tom in Ontario said...

I made my first blog entry yesterday and today I'm wondering if I'll ever have anything worthwhile to post there. I love reading your blog and there are a few other blogs I read and like so I thought, "why not give it a go?" but what to write? Last night I lay in bed thinking about some deep thoughts that I could write about today. I woke up with not a single one of those thoughts remaining in my head. Keep on writing. I'm here almost every day (except Friday, Saturday, and Sunday when I don't come to the computer).

Shalom

Andy said...

I too was once going to write the great American novel. My problem was that I'd come up with ideas for stories (kind of like the snippets of Kilgore Trout you get in Vonnegut's novels) and that would be enough for me. I kept several of them around in my mind for years but never wrote a word.

Blogging is kind of a good antidote for that because you can just slap down any old thing you happen to be thinking.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is all that useful to ask if something is "blogworthy." I think it is a good idea to consider why one writes. I enjoy your blog, but you need to do what seems right for you. Life is a dance. Yesterday's steps may not be today's steps. Dance on sister -- and enjoy! M.P.

Purechristianithink said...

I hear you. Yesterday I was laid flat with a stomach virus. Through my headaches, cramps, and wooziness I found myself thinking: what of this experience could I turn into an interesting blog entry?

HeyJules said...

I thought I was the only one that used the term "poopy butt?" SERIOUSLY!

Loved this post! What a great laugh I had and boy can I relate to the rest of it as well. I can't wait to come back and read more!

LutheranChik said...

Tom: I find writing to be a lot like the spiritual life. When inspiration hits, it comes suddenly and unbidden...but it helps to prepare a home for it by keeping to a discipline. I can't remember if it was Hemingway or Steinbeck who used to have a very disciplined, timed writing routine -- no matter what other chaos was going on, he spent the same time every day on his craft. And I used to follow Julian Cameron's Artist's Way advice of writing continuously, freeform, no self-editing, for 15 minutes every day -- even utter crap, even 15 minutes of "I don't know what to write" repeated over and over again on the page. She recommends doing this in a special notebook or journal...and, whatever you do, don't go back and read what you've written.

Of course, these days, my blog has become my daily writing discipline.;-) (And sometimes, like my old Artist's Way journals, what I write is crap.;-) As my pastor likes to say, you can't always hit it out of the park.)

LutheranChik said...

Mel: After I got my first "grownup" job, in northern Michigan, I'd spend a lot of time driving around small towns and thinking, "Someone should be writing about life here." It irked me that, with few exceptions (Jim Harrison, chronicling small-town Michigan life in books like Farmer, to name one), Southerners seemed to have the market cornered on regional fiction. My problem was, I could never get to the plot -- I enjoyed writing place descriptions and character studies so much I couldn't actually get to the story.;-) And thus ended my career as a novelist.

LutheranChik said...

Anonymous: A writer -- can't remember which one -- once noted that you're really a writer if you write because you can't help it. I figure that, as long as I can't help it, this is what I'm meant to do.

LutheranChik said...

Purechristianithink: You could have written an essay on "fear and trembling and the sickness unto death.";-)

LutheranChik said...

Heyjules: Greetings and welcome! Just a footnote that "poopy butt" is reserved for four-legged residents of the household.;-) BTW, I stopped over at your blog -- me like! I'll be back...

gekke mum said...

I linked you tonight. I enjoy reading whatever you write - so I suppose it's all been blogworthy to me. :) I have even been known to keep notes when I am hit with inspiration of different blogworthy ideas for those times when there is nothing. :) keep on keeping on.

LutheranChik said...

Thanks...and welcome!

I have a hard time keeping a notebook of ideas, because for me it's important to strike while the iron is hot -- if I scribble down a random thought and don't do anything with it for 24 hours, it's hard for me to revive my interest in it. Adult-onset ADD or something.;-)

Conrad said...

I worked in a Kennel & Grooming place in college, and I promise you, "Poopy Butt" is not that uncommon a phrase. Some people would bring their dog in for a bath just because they didn't personally want to deal with poopy but.

I can certianly understand the way that life can start revolving around functions of elimination when you have geriatric parents. I have had to run to the store to buy imodium and ex-lax and depends and tinkle pads. I do wish my mom would let me know that she isn't regular before it's been a week since her last movement though.

LutheranChik said...

Conrad: Impaction extraction -- it ain't pretty. (Or pain-free.)

Of course, since I've set out to reform my own eating habits, I've been stealthily upping the fiber content of our shared meals -- whole grain bread and pasta, flaxseed meal surreptitiously added to this or that, more fruit and veggies.;-)

LutheranChik said...

BTW, Conrad, welcome to blogdom!