Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Keepers of the Land of Blog

These days, when husband and I talk, we most often debate the madness going on at his job. He comes home from work looking like a flat tire, and the venting seems to pump some air back into him. I don’t feel obligated to listen in silence. I’m sure that’s probably what I should do, what he would prefer I do… But that’s just not the woman he married.

Last Sunday, on yet another long ride home from Eugene, the conversation turned to my world instead of his. Actually, he asked me if there was anything exciting going on among my journal friends; I wonder whether he is really interested, or if asking after my gig is simply a way to avoid talking about his. My life in journal land is so much an extension of my life inside my head, that sometimes it’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins. Husband has never been much interested in the "life inside my head" part; but even he is keen enough to realize that, absent a job or other socially acceptable distraction, my blog is a big part of my life…and I think he feels a little left out. So he acts interested; and, to his credit, remembers enough about the "characters" involved to be able to make the right noises during my monologues.

This time, though, the conversation turned philosophical. Partly because there seems to be another "disturbance in the Force" of journal land going on right now. All the writers I read are wallowing through major life issues, which are manifesting themselves in different ways in the virtual pages of their blogs. It got me to thinking: perhaps this is what separates the true writers from the mere hobbyists among us. There are those who quit writing altogether, leaving us with a swan song entry explaining that they’ve written all that’s worth writing, and they’re off to spend their time on more worthwhile pursuits. ( The inference being that all these however many months of blogging have been nothing but a waste of time.) These people, in my mind, are not writers. They may be intelligent, interesting and articulate, and write very well when they choose to do so, but they have not the passion of true writers.

We’ve seen those, too, who disappear for a few days or a week or a month, then return to the ether "all better." They’ve dealt with whatever trauma needed to be resolved, and are now "over it" enough to resume writing. Their journals are kind of like crocheted afghans…very pretty showpieces, never intended for any practical use. Never-ending projects only picked up when nothing more pressing or stimulating is happening. More often than not, these people eventually lay us aside and don’t return. No warning, no goodbye...they just disappear.

From time to time, journal land is jolted by the seismic rattle of those who explode onto the blog scene, write fifteen entries a day for two weeks, then evaporate into the ozone. On to next season’s "happening" hobby… "Backwards Tibetan Barefoot Rock-Climbing"…or whatever.

And then there are the rest of us. The ones who are neither wholly satisfied with this place of literary masturbation, nor even remotely capable of walking away from it. In the midst of dealing with life issues, we don’t quit writing. Our prose might gain a new dimension from our trials. It might reveal a glimpse of a heart in mourning, or become strident as we rail against challenges to our souls. Or we may murmur peace and understanding as we gain some insight on our journey. But always, the words come. We could no more stop writing than we could stop breathing. The concept of being too busy to write is beyond our ken. Writing is what we DO. Have always done. "Journal land" is a special and unique place to cache that writing. In some ways, it may even be the perfect place. Readership and feedback—the perks of blogging that take your writing out of your head and into reality. How important is that? That incredible sense of validation can be a springboard to "bigger and better…" Or it can be all some of the more humble among us will ever need.

And we do need it, as much as any junkie ever needed any fix. Others come and go. We make friends. They go away. We stay. We write. As long as we exist, the Land of Blog—that land that straddles the border between reality and fantasy—will also exist. For us, through us, and by us.


  1. oh my gosh.....

    if you don't stop stalking my thoughts I may scream....


    Yyou and I sing the same songs Lisa....even if the songs are off key, we sing the same songs.

    This is brillant and sublime.

  2. Very well said. You have echoed many of my own thoughts and helped me take heart after another loathesome entry that I did just hours ago. I still find Journal-Land a frightening place, but that is because my own insecuritites keep rearing their ugly heads. In the end, I could never stop writing. Whether here, in my private journal, or in the many threads of ideas that I hurl at Microsoft Word without any need for response. So be it.

  3. PS:

  4. I am one of those bloggers who come and go. My written journal keeps on going (for my sanity depends on it) . The journals can become so all encompassing that I feel I need to respond and read all my faves. It gets I have to step back. And I came to the conclusion a while back that I am not a true writer...I don't know if I am a "true" anything. And that seems to be the bain of my very existence. So I keep plodding along, like a car out of gas...hoping I'll bump into something, real that I can hold onto. So if I don't always write, I just have to forgive myself.

  5. For me, it's not the writing.  I don't begin to consider myself a writer.  If I thought about the writing too much, I'd probably shy away as there are  so many wonderful, thoughtful writers here.  For me, it is the being heard.  I write in my blog like it's an open letter to many dear friends.  Or, it's to just get my thoughts out in the open...somewhere.  My writing is not art...but for me, it's a form of release.  I really can't imagine giving it up.

  6. I love this and so much of what you say is right on the money...I feel an allegiance here, too, which might sound odd, but I feel like I cannot up and leave behind people who have been so incredibly kind to me for so long.  I know how I feel when a journaler decides to leave without any explanation, and even though I am certain that the reasons are huge and nothing we can imagine, it feels like you're left drifting and wondering how and where they are.  Even when I am sick of this place, a couple of days later I am writing something in my head.  That's what I do...

  7. I cannot possibly explain to you (or anyone) how much I miss writing in (for) my journal(s) on a more or less daily basis.  I miss it terribly; there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to do what I'd like.  I'd hate to be thought of as a "fly by night" journaler because I don't consider myself as such.  The time will come when I'll be able to devote more time to my brain children.  When one's life and the people within it pull a person in so many different directions, there's only so much to go around.  Sometimes, something's gotta give.

  8. Hi Lisa,
    I just wanted to comment what a truthful entry. It kicked me in the butt so hard I ended up writing an entry about it.

    ...found you through Jodi :-)

    Take care,
    Gem :-)

  9. I have to pull the reins on my writing just to keep some order.  I could writer 24/7.  I don't think I would ever run out of things to write about.  I have never understood writer's block.  Perhaps many feel I am not a writer.  Whatever.  {shrug}

  10. Another well thought out entry.
    Christina has featured your entry in her Journal.

  11. Another wonderful entry. I'm one of those people who tend to slip in and out a bit. Not because I don't want to write, but can't seem to get my thoughts in order, things get crazy or just don't know what to say. Life can get pretty dull over here at times. Anyway, I'm so glad you keep writing, because I love to hear what you have to say. I just love your journal. ~ Lori

  12. Insightful and astute observation here.  I know the feedback and the interaction is why I blog, and right now I can't imagine stopping.  That time may come, but for now, I need and want this place.  I dither a lot about blogging.  It's time consuming.  It takes me away from other things that need doing.  It reinforces my idea that I prioritize poorly, but it nourishes me, and that's enough.

  13. Timely entry. I love your observations. I see myself in this, all over it. I have had similar feelings. I am one who will take a few days off, of my journal(public)writing, yet I never seem to stop writing. I plug away most of the time, and I am never without my trusty pen and paper, just in case. I know that when I post an entry(as I just recently did) saying I am going on hiatus. For me, it is for those that do come daily or weekly. Then I can avoid all the concerned emails(flattered though). Yet it doesn't mean I am not writing.
    Writer's block? I have found, that if I keep writing, it will work itself out. Flushes itself out. I am not an aspiring novelist by any means, being a screenwriter, the styles are so different, that to concentrate solely on a script(especially when it is not mine), it does consume me. My muse will kick and scream wanting to write something 'other' than what I need accomplished. LOL.
    This a wonderful entry Lisa...I always enjoy your entries...definitely give me food for thought:o)

  14. Journaling, blogging are a transcendant medium to me.  Getting thoughts out of my mind and into something else like a paper, a computer or a recorder is somewhat magical. I seem to be more visual and like to have pictures to trigger my thoughts.  I keep things short for my sanity...otherwise I would stay online forever losing myself in the experience.   Getting thoughts on lucky we are to know how to do that.  I have journaled on and off for years.  During tough times when I have more time due to being in bed or something has been my greatest motivation I have written  a great deal more but after the experience I taper down the writing.   Reading some of those entries now is like peeking through a window and seeing things I have long how I feel about life, people and why I am here.   Your last sentence about straddling the border between reality and fantasy waxes poetic...and I definitely like it!  Thanks for your entry and for GEM leading me to it...:)

  15. You seem to have struck a few nerves with this one, hon.


  16. Or we may murmur peace and understanding as we gain some insight on our journey.

    This line was about me wasn't it?........

  17. Great piece, Lisa!
    I don't consider myself a *writer*...for me, my journal is mostly a place to vent and air out whatever is on my mind, or just a way to capture the little bits of life that I might otherwise forget. I don't always feel like writing, for many reasons. But I've been journaling in some form since I was 10 (almost 30 years:::gasp!:::), so it seems to be something I need to do :)

  18. I knew a crotchety Afghan once. He went blind from literary masturbation.