Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why do I do it?

Blogging is an interesting thing and I've been noticing a shift in my blogging style lately. I'm not sure what it is--and I probably won't be able to figure it out until a year or two has passed--when I'm distant enough from the experiences I've written about to be able to see what I actually said.

I usually feel like a lot of what I write here is crap--and I usually continue feeling that way until I look back on it a long time later and then find myself missing the person that I once was. I get nostalgic and find myself, every time, grateful that I wrote about my days and my thoughts. Lately I especially feel like I don't understand the direction my writing is taking. It feels very childish and Dear Diary-esque. Still, I continue to write here. I want a record of who I've been and in the process I've ended stumbling on a very wonderful community of fellow writers, artists, and thinkers.

In some ways I haven't quite figured out how to write for this new and expanded audience. What do I say? What don't I need to say? Some of the things I talk about need more explanation than others--but it just depends on how much you already know about me. This has created an interesting writing challenge--having such a diverse audience. But at the same time I like it that the people that have known me for a long time are getting to know me better and that such easy friendships are formed with people I meet along the way.

Right now I'm drinking coffee in a tall, skinny mug that I bought at an art festival 2 years ago. I got it for my new (at the time) office because it is golden yellow at the bottom and a hazy sky blue at the top. There is a line etched in a spiral around the mug like a path and a tiny leaf impression stamped into the mug's sky. I bought this particular mug because it made me think about following my own path. I've wanted to teach ever since I was a little kid--and the last two years I've finally felt like I was actually on the path I was meant to follow. Of course, everything leading up to that experience was also a part of that path too--and still, the path continues even though I'm not even sure which way it will go.

But anyway, I didn't intend to describe the mug. What I was going to say is that right now I'm drinking coffee. It's Sunday morning and it's quiet. I need to walk the dog and my dad's dog too because he's out of town. Then I need to go to work because I need more money in order to pay for this move. I don't really want to work today. I would rather go to my studio and begin work on the series of painting that have been simmering in my head ever since our trip to Montana. I would also like to start packing because I'm impatient and because I want to get rid of a lot of stuff and organize the mess that never got organized from the last move.

What I'm starting to realize is that time, once again, is moving by quickly and another summer will have passed. Last summer, time was swallowed up by the death of my dog and my grandpa. I was a grieving zombie. After my dog, Abe, died I didn't expect anything out of myself. He is the most important being to have ever entered my life (only riveling my husband). All movement and energy for the rest of the summer was eaten up by getting the house ready to put up for sale, then moving. Now it is a new year. I'm living under different circumstances with new hurdles to jump. But I hate to see another summer go by without having been creatively productive.

Maybe that's another reason why I blog. Because then, even if paintings are left unpainted and serious writing left unwritten--at least I've still done something. Blogging has become my space where I just show up on the page. No strings attached. Some of it turns out to be crap and some of it turns out to be my best writing.

And I guess this is what it is to be an artist--TO JUST SHOW UP FOR THE WORK.

I don't want to see life get in the way of that. Writing. Painting. It IS my life.

And by the way--the coffee tastes good today.


Loralee Choate said...

Blogs and their owners often shift and flow. That's the way of it.

Frankly, I think your best posts are those with you describing a quiet moment with you, your coffee, dog and a well-loved book.


erin said...

i always feel like there is a temptation to try to say something "important" when i journal or blog. but looking back, then entries i like are the ones that describe the way the wind was one day, or what i made for dinner one night. that's what i like about your blog. there is no posturing, no sermonizing. just someone living, thinking, and taking note. oh yeah, and one of the best things i've heard about writing: 90 percent of it is butt in chair. there is this one too (and i don't know who said it): i show up at my desk because what if one day the angel came, and i wasn't there?

Anonymous said...

"Blogging has become my space where I just show up on the page. No strings attached."

That's exactly it for me as well. Blogging is currently my only real creative's a perfect format for me right now--I can dash something off quickly which Madam naps or plays with her father, and I force myself to the page by using the carrot of comments and instant gratification.

One of the things I am taking away from reading so many creative writers and thinkers is just to constantly put something out there--just show up, like you said...not everything has to be for posterity, but it has to BE in order to make space for the next thing. For whatever reason, your work is taking this form, and it needs to do so, right now, in order to find the form it will take next.

Elizabeth said...

Jess, I always enjoy your posts no matter what you write about. Your house search was inspiring! I've been thinking a lot about blogging, too and how blogs evolve. Or is it the writer that evolves? In my case, the evolution involved not my blog, but the many new blog friends I've made along the way. I'm thankful to count you among them.

My friend Robert Tolone, who first introduced me to blogging, wondered aloud about how naked we should allow our hearts to be in the very public world of blogs, reminding me that "the best art is the most naked."

Jamie said...

I'm sure it's not a coincidence that you described your mug and its reminder of your path. Perhaps blogging is like a map you've created as you've explored your life, only later realizing exactly what the path looked like, but knowing it was the right one.

gkgirl said...

i'm playing catch up today
and wanted to say
how happy i am that you found
the perfect house...

it sounds amazing!
and perhaps there is something
to be said for karma?

and life direction choices
are hard.
who would have thought
when we were kids
that it would be this hard
or take this long
to decide...
and that even after we decided,
we might still change our minds...

good luck.

paris parfait said...

Woody Allen said 95 percent of life was just showing up and he had a point. The important thing is to keep writing - no matter what - keep writing. That's what having a blog has made me do and I've stuck with it. Before starting the blog, I could go days without writing, in fact doing everything to avoid it sometimes - because it seemed like too much work. Now I think it's important just to write something, anything - as you said sometimes it's wonderful, other times, just o.k. And maybe that's the way it should be.