Barbara's Random Thoughts

Monday, November 26, 2007

While I'm at it

I'm re-reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams, and in doing so, came across this quote which has been resonating lately:

There are all the small things you love and despise about a parent: the disappointed eyes, the mannerisms, the sound of the voice as much as the meaning of the words, that add up to that singular thing--the way you are both going to respond, whether you like it or not.


| posted by Barbara | 8:53 PM |

On writing and voice and not posting

So. I’m back. I feel like I need to post something reflective and thoughtful upon my return to the US, something about transitioning and being back and what’s next. Oh, doesn’t everyone want to know what’s next.

I’ve started several posts, attempting to get back into blogging here. And it’s not really working for me. I find that I get half-inspired to write about something, start, look at what I’ve written, self-edit, and save it as a Word document to which I shall never return.

There’s a weird parallel here. Since I’ve been back from SA, I’ve been trying to get motivated/disciplined/inspired enough to dig into writing the women’s stories that are currently on my hard drive in transcript and recorded-interview form. There are a few half-started paragraphs and some notes for one story, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

I often get the compulsion to write when I’m reading--some idea or image hits me just right, and I’ll go off on a mental tangent that I then just have to get into words. But the thing with me is that I’m a perfectionist with strong defeatist tendencies. When I hit upon something difficult to express, when I’m trying to say something in a certain way and the words aren’t coming, I quit. I feel like I can’t get it right, so I’d be better off just not doing it at all.

See, I’m better at absorbing and evaluating art than doing art. Better at the reading and the editing than at the writing. I use this as an excuse quite often. Did it this morning, actually. Then this quote came to mind:

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Well, then.

Here I am alternating between reading posts here and attempting to write a blog post. And all of the above is really an avoidance of what I was going to do this morning, which was to look over my notes and half-started paragraphs and do something with them.

I had a small conversation with David on my drive to Visalia on Friday. We talked a little about blogging and finding a public sort of voice that works. Part of my frustration with my own writing of late is that it hasn’t felt like me. I don’t know where my voice went, or at least I don’t like the one I’ve been using. Then I got an email from Sarah over the weekend in which she said how good it was to hear my voice in my writing. Hmm. It’s out there; now to get it into the public writing instead of just the emails to friends.

And, I’m going to post this before it gets relegated to a Word document for me to evaluate and discard.


| posted by Barbara | 8:42 PM |