Hey! A friend recently emailed me and wrote just that: “Hey!” As in “Hey! Are you still alive out there?”, “Hey! What’s going on in your world?, and “Hey! Why aren’t you posting on your blog anymore? I miss reading your stuff.”
Gosh, were people reading what I wrote? I guess I knew that. I absolutely, positively did not forget about you. What occurred was something akin to this: I’m in the middle of saying something to you. Suddenly (usually mid sentence) a completely different thought enters my consciousness. I pause and struggle with which thought is the one I’m supposed to be conveying. I stop talking. A moment passes. I don’t resume talking. In fact, I lose my train of thought altogether and give you a “Where was I?” sort of look. You know that moment. I know you know that moment.
Well, that’s what happened.
As I was writing blog posts and sharing these really DEEP and THOUGHTFUL INSIGHTS with you, it also occurred to me that perhaps no one needs to hear all this stuff. Yes, once I shared amazing travel stories. Great! Interesting! Exciting! Invigorating! But now it’s random insights and everyday experiences. Mmmmm, not so exciting. I convinced myself that writing in a publicly-accessible format was a bad idea. Heck, I might embarrass myself. I might regret something I’ve posted. I might write something for which people can hold me accountable. Things like “Hey! Think I’ll start a business!” or “Hey! I want to cut outta here for a few weeks every year and travel!” Or they might come to know things about me like “Gosh, sometimes I feel extra, extra crappy.” And then, the ultimate existential query: does the world need yet another blog? “So you read about WHAT on this blog? Something about whether or not to have a farm? Huh. And something about the social constructs of contemporary society that might be contributing to our rates of depression? Don’t we have, like, I don’t know… psychologists to write about that kind of thing?” My neighbor hit the proverbial nail on the head in his comments this weekend. A few of us were walking along Upper Canyon Road on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. At one point, he related his difficulty finding appetizers with tortellini as one of the components. (It’s a long story related to a theme party – don’t ask). He lambasted the foodie bloggers from which he’d been lifting recipes. “Why do they have to write so much? Why can’t they just post the recipes? I mean, who wants to read all that other stuff??? It’s just a way for them to feel important. They all want to express themselves.” He rolled his eyes.
Yikes. What if people are rolling their eyes about me?
So mid-blog-post, I turned to keep a journal again. Small life, writing, small circle of communication. (Me to me, that is.) I do like writing in a journal. Writing consistently keeps my mind friction-free, like a good pen on paper. Everything flows; first strokes are right. When I don’t write consistently, then suddenly need to, I pause and stutter and lose a lot of time reacquainting myself with how to move thoughts from my brain to the page. It’s a bummer. So keeping a journal is a practice of sorts, like meditation or running or tai-chi. It’s also my personal treasury. My journal is a repository of thoughts, fears and feelings, sketches, descriptions of events, quotes and snippets from current reading. It’s storage of what I’ve been doing, experiencing, wanting to achieve.
All the years I was married (both times), I never kept a journal. Makes sense. While married, I shared my thoughts and experiences with my partner. I showed my guy or read aloud to him those quotes that struck me as particularly relevant or insightful. I had experiences along side him. No need to write them down — only had to look across the room and say “Remember that time we…?” Instant, shared recall. Even my thought processes, my fears and excitement and developing ideas, were stored in the treasure chest of our marriage. For good or bad, my parents provided that model. They chucked over sixty years worth of thoughts, experiences and significant objects into their shared treasury. Sixty years! I see them draw upon it all the time. Their laughter and investment in each other is a joy to observe. However, just like the long-term-job-that-comes-with-benefits-and-a-proper-retirement-package, certain things they could rely upon have proven to be elusive for me. Big chunks of my life’s treasury have disappeared. I think I’d better invest in paper instead of partners from now on.
But here’s the thing: keeping a journal is a solitary undertaking. And though I get to revisit everything and enjoy it all when I like, keeping a journal is NOT like sharing. It’s like that Zen koan. You know the one. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
…if a person has thoughts and insights and experiences but doesn’t share them with anyone, did they really happen? If they happened but weren’t communicated, is there any significance? That’s the key, I think. Significance. I’d like to be significant. Everyone would like to be significant. Right?
Writing in a journal is just me — a tree, falling. If you don’t notice or hear or share it with me or chuckle over it, what’s the point? So here’s what I’m thinking. I’ll continue to keep a journal. Gotta maintain that writing mojo. Also, I don’t want to risk losing any more big chunks of my treasury. AND I’ll resume blogging. Because there’s something important and essential about communicating and sharing my life with others.
Signing off with just one more “Hey!”. This one is for you. Hey! Thanks for tuning in occasionally. Dr. Evil says it best.
See ya ’round the blogosphere.