On the Blogwagon

By

A friend muttered an under-the-breath comment the other day about the infrequent nature of my writing. That part I know of myself, that trait I don’t like very much, and that I try to press down under the water so that people can’t see the struggle’s splashes, was ushered right up to the surface for a big ol’ gulp of fresh air. It stung more than I thought it should. I suppose you could say that I’m in that “do I live my life or write about it?” stage these days, so it didn’t come as a surprise. I notice things like the bright orange yolks in the eggs I have for breakfast, like the sturdy little beginnings of trees that are springing up from the whirlybirds that fell from my maple tree into the soil around my strawberries, like the heady scent of honeysuckle and the lush, damp green that is closing in on my peripheries and around my little back yard that marks the onset of summer, then I think “I should probably write about that.” But I end up just enjoying those little things in real time and then forgetting that I ever intended to put words to them.

Herein lies my own ever-rolling cycle. I know I’m fickle. I know I’m inconstant. The struggle stems from a desire to please, if I had to put a fine point on it. I hate to disappoint. Do I write something that’s not good at all just so that I can say that I wrote something? Or do I not put anything out there until it’s perfect? It’s all pressure I put on myself, I understand this fully. I sure do wonder who reads all this stuff, though, and it begs the question: who do I write for? A dear friend put that question to me a while back and I didn’t know the answer. I wasn’t able to put a finger on who my audience is, and yet I write. They’re all in the mix: friends, family (near and far), total strangers, folks who want to know what I’m cooking on a given day, old flames, hoped-for flames, my dear mom, distant Swedish relatives. Me. Me? Me.

When my sister and I embarked on this blog-a-day journey, I don’t think we realized how mundane it would get. I think we live quietly extraordinary lives here, but it was starting to seem otherwise. I think we need to give ourselves a bit of freedom. I’ll keep telling myself that a well-edited tome need not be cranked out each day, and the task will surely take on a lighter, friendlier tone. So I’ll post, not worrying about who is catching all of my sure genius. Dear reader, get ready for a little bit of abstract nonsense from time to time.


10 Comments

  1. Margret

    Ah, Evie dear one, loved of God and so many people,

    Thank you for sharing what you see. Thank you for explaining your predicament. Thank you for being vulnerable and expressing your concerns.

    Frankly, I’m unsure how to respond. Do I do so as the struggling artist who sometimes says, “Yes! Yes! That’s how it is! I must record this; must share what I’ve seen. But what if it’s no good? What if the play of light outside my window isn’t translated effectively into my jewelry? What if the photo I see isn’t what I glimpsed through the viewfinder? What if the words I use don’t capture the essence of the experience? It appears she knows how I feel, Lord. What a relief. I’m not alone.”

    Other times I agonize, “Perfect! That piece is perfect! What I saw in my heart now has a reality, a life. Why is nobody buying my piece? Or commenting on the word picture? What’s wrong with everyone? Will I ever/only get feedback or reaction or input when I shake people by the lapels?” And then the doubts creep in, trying to convince me my work is lousy. After all, if my best efforts garner no reaction except at gunpoint (just kidding!) then, by all rights, it must be lousy, not even mediocre.

    On the other hand, as a lover of the Lord and of all His creation, I looked at what you shared and thanked Jesus for making you just the way you are. I also bookmarked your blog, adding it to the folder I’ve called “Loved Ones in the Family” where many others share the journey of life, and where their insights, challenges, and viewpoints daily encourage me.

    God bless you, Evie!

    All of Heaven’s best to you and yours,
    Margret

  2. Heather Parker

    Thank you! Just out of curiosity, are you inside my head? You just described why I have had such a hard time blogging as of late! This week I made the commitment to start again. (and still haven’t…) This really gives me a boost to do it.

  3. Shelley

    Evie,
    I guess I’m one of those ‘total strangers’ that observes the blogwagon with both longing and fear. Longing: for, even though posts here in the RR or on your blog are sporatic or abstract… they are particular and timely. Your reflections are, at times, dare I say, like the fresh underfoot crack of pine needles while I’m hiking the north shore of Lake Superior. They are refreshing, alerting my senses, spurring further thoughts of my own. Fear: for, I am not currently riding with you on the blogwagon, and all the ‘I should write about this’, ‘Isn’t the day by day construction of the robin’s nest on our front porch AMAZING?’ never even make it to my journal let alone a blog. Could I even make the leap? Maybe, someday.

    C.S. Lewis wrote, “I am sure that some are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves: for these, writing is necessary for their own development.” Isn’t that applicable for artists in all mediums? Perhaps, it’s not just freedom you need to allow yourself, but the natural ebb and flo that comes with seasons of creativity. Thank you, for being a co-creator and may many leaves unfurl as your art grows and matures.

  4. Profile photo of Eric Peters

    Eric Peters

    @ericpeters

    Ditto, Evie. Thanks for putting your current state into words. I relate. And thanks, also, for using “whirlybirds” in a sentence; my 3 year old and I, for lack of a better word, have been calling those things “helicopters.”

    By the way, if you (or anyone else) desire a free 15′ maple tree, one that sprang up from an alleged whirlybird, I’ve got one in my backyard. Its name is Ent Moot Hutch, and it longs to be claimed before I, Eric Peters, chop it down in the name of Justice and an overly shaded backyard.

  5. Mike Brown

    Just a writer wannabe, but the best things that I have written came to me all at once and were finished all in one sitting. My wife has asked me repeatedly to write a poem for a friend, but I just can’t seem to come up with anything. You folks seem to be able to make a shopping list something I would want to read to my kids at night. Thanks Evie. I’m still bummed about not being able to come to the “Moot” and eat your fine cooking.

  6. Janna

    Just added you to my google reader. Keep the posts coming, if you please, as well as the great pictures and colors. Your culinary creations look yummy — looking forward to sampling!

  7. David H

    Perhaps it is not germane, but I liked this excerpt from an essay by Gish Jen on the conflict between writing about life and simply living it.

    “One must live in order to have something to write about. That’s the commonplace wisdom, and to be engaged with the world is no bad thing; it is essential. Still the bulk of everyday life comes as an interruption. Some people maintain that everything becomes material, but in truth it does not. It is entirely possible, for starters, to have too much of one kind of material; ask anyone in a menial job. But this is the stuff of another essay.

    “Allow me to claim that at 45, a mother of young children, I have a life that is mostly not material, that I simply live. Writing competes with that life and shortens its run. I struggle not to hurry my time with my children; I endeavor to lose myself with them even as I squeeze every last minute out of the rest of the day. I calculate; I weigh; I optimize. That I may lose myself again in my work, I map out the day, the route, the menu. I duck, I duck. I hoard the hours and despair in traffic jams. Worse, I keep an eye on my involvements. I give myself freely enough to others, but only so freely. I wonder if writing is worth this last price in particular.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/04/arts/writers-on-writing-inventing-life-steals-time-living-life-begs-it-back.html?src=tp&pagewanted=print?pagewanted=all

    And if I may be so bold, I advise writing for those distant Swedish relatives. They are least likely to criticize.

  8. Loriann S.

    Dear Evie,

    How I feel your pain! When my husband and daughter were nearly killed in a crash with a drunk driver in November, 2009, I began a blog which at first kept people informed and chronicled our trip through hell. At some point during that time, I sensed the Great One urging me to write every day until November 8, 2010. Some days I want to share all the light and darkness, some days I am lazy and struggle through every word. Thankfully for me, I have an ending point (I think!), but still the writing road can be littered with my own reluctance and my own struggle with “man pleasing”. Anyway, I get it. I really get it. Thanks for expressing it so well.

    Your friend on the pilgrim road,

    Loriann

  9. Jen

    I can totally relate. I think it comes in cycles… there are times where the words can’t stop and lots of good writing comes from that, and there are times to just read, experience, and live. Because I suppose you have to do those things to have something to write about.

    I love the idea of blogging daily without worrying about audience or polish. That’s what I did when I first started experimenting with blogging years ago, and I had a lot more fun with it then. Sometimes, it’s good to lighten up and embrace the mundane.

    Yay for the “quietly extraordinary.” 🙂

  10. Profile photo of Sarah Clarkson

    Sarah Clarkson

    @sarahclarkson

    You just summed up something that is, for me, this guilty feeling in my stomach when my brain says things to me like “you’re a writer, and you haven’t written in how long?” You also made me feel immensely better.

    I too struggle with that sense of what I ought to be doing, instead of letting the living grow up into words, and not worrying about when the article/poem/story/essay is ripe. The great challenge for me is to push away the ever-recurring insecurity of wondering why I am writing at all, and just do it.

    I’m going to follow your blogs. And enjoy life along with you. I think I’ll go smell some honeysuckle (or whatever stands in its place here in dry CO!) Thanks for writing.

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