I want to write like no one is watching because that's when I am best able to get to the heart of things. I write to learn and to communicate, to connect. I can't seem to write free, though. I feel self-conscious and kind of stupid even for trying to keep a blog I insist isn't a blog.
I've been writing in an online "diary" for more than twelve years. I started in February 2000 just as my little family and I were in the process of moving from the Yale house to the pink house. I was still administering my father's trust, was spending gobs of time with my preschooler, was working hard not to fail in my marriage. I was writing a novel, writing poems, doing some freelance editing. I was busy and sad. I missed my father, was trying to allow myself to grieve peacefully, but the trust work overwhelmed me, and every fresh chore created a fresh wound. I discovered that diary site through a grief discussion board, I think, followed some really angry women who hated one other grieving woman to the hated woman's diary (grief does weird things to people, sometimes makes them mean), started reading her and was smitten with the process of writing true in partial publicity. (She's a lovely writer. I still read her.)
That website. Wow. It's gone through some changes, and I suspect won't be around much longer because its owner has a "real" job now and can't be arsed to take care of his space. He's just one man (with three volunteer "admins") trying to take care of what? Let me check the number of members (some paying members, some not). Ah. Close to 400,000 members, but that could be inaccurate since he doesn't much update.
That's not what this is about. I'm trying to convince myself to make the transition from writing privately to writing publicly. Why? Because I want to. I have things to share beyond the poems I'm writing for school. When I decided to start the MFA, my mantra was "Be open; be brave." I want to extend that beyond school, beyond poetry.
The blog is so different from the diary, though. Writing in the diary is like stretching or like chatting with a friend over coffee. Writing in this blog is like giving a speech to a roomful of critics without realizing I have spinach between my teeth or my skirt is caught up in my pantyhose, and I moon the room when I turn around (true story. not the speech part, but the mooning a roomful of people, teenagers, actually. yes, yes, I am a true dork and proud. those teenagers still love me).
Even though only about five people wander by to read here, I feel protective of the "characters" I normally write about easily in that less public space, including myself. I'd like to figure out a way to be open and brave without sacrificing security (I am a contradiction - a private person prone to too much self-disclosure). May not be possible.
Today, I just want to write here, straight in the window, no writing in Word and then copying and pasting. I want to allow myself to write about anything, about cold feet, about how my coffee tastes funny today, about Band Boosters, about plastic wrap, about my husband's new Corvette, my desire for a second tattoo (another one my daughter designed), how I love my changing/aging body, the section poem about lizards I thought I'd have finished by now, walking, sun.
The dog a couple of houses up the street has been barking all morning. I like him, though. He's a good dog. I don't mind his barking. I can hear him clearly from my bedroom, but not as well from this study. I want to hug his big head and tell him everything will be fine.
So, I was going to try something with this blog, thought it was time, but I was wrong. I will wait until I feel braver, less sad about some of the shifts in my life, less inclined to be hyper-sensitive. I'll get there eventually.
Sometimes words are lying assholes. What I write here or anywhere is true, maybe, in the moment I write it. But it might not be true tomorrow. Sometimes what I write is nothing. The words are just words.