Over the past few months since I’ve developed an interest in blogging, I’ve begun to notice other’s reactions to the idea of blogging in general. Several weeks ago, someone mentioned to me that “blog” is one of the “most annoying words” connected with the Internet. I get it. The word is annoying, hence, bloggers are annoying. I’ve encountered a person here or there who will inquire at a get together,”What exactly is a ‘blog?'” hesitantly, trying to feign interest after they’ve learned that “blogging” is what I have been doing since leaving my job. The conversation goes like this…
“Hey, how have you been?
“Great, thanks. Good to see you,” I reply.
“How is work going? What school are you at again?”
“I don’t work any longer. I quit a few months ago.”
“Is everything okay? What are you doing instead?” the person inquires because no one sane would give up their job for no reason.
“I write quite a bit each day.”
“Really. What do you write?”
“Personal essays and other pieces. I’m just getting back into the habit of it after several years of not being able to find time the time. I’m really enjoying it.”
“Oh,” blink, blink…
Another person approaches us. “She has a blog. You know. On the Internet.”
“Oh,” the first person repeats, and looks uncomfortable, like I might grab my wallet and throw a photo accordion of my 13 children at her. I’m tempted, but I wouldn’t do that to my kids even if I had 13.
She and others are most likely thinking, how sad that she has come to this, wasting her time on the Internet all day. Doing nothing. One individual reacted to my writing, struggling to read what I’d written, and succumbed to muttering the words aloud as one might tackle a treatise on an Analysis of Glucose Cycles in Mammals Indigenous to the North American Piedmont and uttered in confusion, “What kind of writing….is…this? Exactly…?” I completely understoond her reaction and was sure it must be the very stylized syntax of sentences. like. this. Or, btw—wtf, yanno? Perhaps a Bwahahahahaha or a snort. Or two. Huh? = )
Ahh, the frustration of one’s writing being in the hands of an audience it wasn’t intended for. Not exactly a novel dilemma, is it? I say this knowing that writers have always struggled with how their work is received. Anything that requires another’s interpretation is subject to the same risk. I do believe, however, that a person should have an idea about a piece of writing well before getting involved with it. But maybe that’s just me. I’ve lost the source, but I remember reading a particular author who believed his readers “write his books.” Said differently, any reader brings a massive amount of information, experience, and of course, at times, ignorance to a particular reading. With that, a book is understood in an infinite number of unique ways. That perspective either allows the reader to enjoy the book, or to question why it was even considered as something which might be enjoyed. Not everyone will appreciate every type of writing. I certainly don’t.
I believe it is important to note that those of us who choose to write in this very public way, do so for a variety of reasons. I also believe that as much as it is enjoyable to have others read what I write, not everyone will appreciate all of it. Some may not like any of it. Is audience appreciation always the reason for our writing?
I write because I want to. Because I need to. Because I can. Although my mother has kept personal journals for more than 25 years, to my knowledge, no one else in my family has been interested in writing. Just more proof that I must have fallen off the turnip truck. I can’t say that a teacher in my past had anything to do with motivating me to write because very few of them assigned writing — let alone taught the craft of writing. No, I was never even forced to write the venerable Five Paragraph Essay. Ahem. And we know how many of those are published annually.
Most likely, reading has influenced my need to write, as well as a well-developed ability to observe and remember nearly everything I see. Each author has a new perspective, a different voice, a way of allowing me to see through their thoughts. With that information, words and stories of my own evolve. As much as I enjoy writing my thoughts and observations, that is all they are. The way I choose to write them is exactly that: a choice. One that I value.
Yesterday while I was perusing others’ blogs, I came across one that featured a book review. The point of the review was clear: People like myself are amateurs. The business of writing is not something we are good at. In fact, people like myself are to blame for destroying the foundations of society, and card-carrying readers of “drivel” who will hardly be lining up “to read Shakespeare.” It was stated quite plainly that writers such as myself are only about “monkey business” and that all those who count themselves as “professionals” should work to find solutions allowing “those with talent to flourish.” I do have a suggestion: Write something others would enjoy reading. Fairly basic. Writing a few sentences about writer’s block doesn’t quite cut it, though.
So let me get this straight. I’m a professional if I write about education because I was employed as an educator. But if I choose to write about my life, my observations, my opinions, my ideas—which all belong to me, are connected to me, and referenced with that which is relevant to said life, observations, opinions, and ideas—I’m an amateur? And I need to stop this “monkey business” so the “professionals” can get a word in edgewise? Interesting.
I have to confess that reading the post, some of the comments, and comments made at amazon got the best of me. I haven’t been that worked up about anything for months. Embarrassing, actually when I consider all of the very important issues I should be worked up about. But I recognized what was causing my irritation. It all seemed so like the junior high students I had worked with for many years. Smug, egocentric, cliqueish. Very much a case of, “Hello? I’ve done the seat time required for the label I’m applying to myself, and while I’m at it, I’m going to pass judgment on you, on your admirers, and hell, our quickly disintegrating society in general because:
- Bloggers exist.
- Bloggers attract attention.
- The attention is distracting others from noticing those who are more deserving.
- Like me (The Professional).
- Society is falling apart because no one reads Shakespeare.
- Or gets in line to buy Shakespeare.
- Because they’re bloggers.
- Or readers of blogs.
- Bottom dwellers.
- Destroyers of the English Language.
William Faulkner said,
“Read, read, read. Read everything— trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the masters. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.”
Well said, Bill, even though I never really enjoyed reading your writing when I was in college. Mind you, I know you’re called one of our best writers, and that you were A Professional, but I just didn’t “get” your style. Maybe I was too young to truly understand considering the experience I approached your writing with—or lack thereof. Did you actually write Sanctuary for college sophomores? You’re in good company, because Will Shakespeare isn’t my cuppa tea either. Was he A Professional? If I remember correctly, he had some issues with written English. But who am I to bring that to anyone’s attention. I’m only an amateur.
One who is contributing to the downfall of society one post at a time.
What will become of us all? Will we drown in technobabble? I doubt it. We’ve continued to survive legalese and eduspeak. We are engaged in trying to survive Dub-Yah.
But Monkey Business still abounds. Damn technology.