Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Still Thinking.....


Over here at Chez Chili, we're still thinking about why we blog. I've gotten some nice comments about the post, and this one struck me:

Meg4Meg said:

When I write, I feel more whole


Yeah, me, too. I think that's part of why I do it, as well - the idea of putting words to whatever is going on and thereby tying it to expression - rather than just leaving it floating up there as amorphous experience - seems to make things more *real* somehow.

I teach English, and have a great and profound love and respect for the power of language. I'm not a "sticks and stones" kind of girl - I recognize the power that words have. Naming something makes it less scary or threatening; we're more afraid of that which we don't "know" than that which we can name and put a face on and come to some sort of terms with. It's what therapy is all about, really - putting words to experiences so that you can deal with them in productive ways. I'm not saying that blogging is therapy - though I HAVE used it to try to work through some tough stuff that I don't understand - school shootings and the like - but it serves much the same purpose of bringing things down to a concrete level so they can be properly mastered.

My best friend, though, doesn't quite see it the same way. She sent me an email that said:

I have to log in as one of those who don't get it, but I respect your need to do this. It seems like you are able to organize your thoughts through this format and it works for you. I admire how well thought out your feelings are. So often I feel like a ping pong ball. I've tried journaling and it always seems to end up as a catalog of confusion and complaints. I have felt this way about therapy too. For me, reflecting too much gets in the way of moving past stuff. I am damn sure I don't want to share that with the world!

This is part of why I blog - I WANT to hear dissenting voices and I want people to question my assertions so that I can work through them myself and decide if this really is the way I think, just as much as I want to know that people understand and agree with me every once in a while. My best friend is my best friend, in part, because she challenges me to think, to consider options I may not have considered, and to investigate not only my reasoning, but my motivations for doing and saying certain things. Many of my blogging comrades do that, too, and I'm grateful for it.


I think that Meg4Meg’s comment feeds right into what I’m trying to say here - though she says it much more succinctly than I do - that we’re all somehow incomplete without some means of expression - of COMMUNICATION - beyond ourselves. I may be misinterpreting her (and, Meg, please correct me if I am), but I think it’s more than just the writing that fills in those spaces - it’s the writing that gets put out there and taken in by other people that really slakes the hunger.

What it all comes down to is that we’re all in this together. Writing for others to see, and reading each other’s words - and commenting, the feedback is vitally important - makes us part of a larger community. I try to comment often. Even if I don’t think I have anything profound or particularly insightful to say, just shouting out from the proverbial shadows is sometimes enough to let the writers know that someone’s out here listening.

7 Comments:

Blogger organic mama said...

Writing, something I love to do and yet fear as well, makes me feel more tangible in this world, more REAL. When I write it is a creative process, but at the same time is also a psychological one; I express thoughts and ideas and fall in love, over and over, by the power and potential of the tools of our language and what I can forge with them.

2:56 PM  
Blogger The Grammar Snob said...

Writing for recreation and/or relaxation is something not very many people "get". My husband knows all about my blog, but rarely reads it. I am slightly disappointed that he doesn't seem to understand it, but he's not a writer. I've been a writer as long as I can remember and long for the written word. Technology has upgraded the way it's written, but, for me, it's still the written word. I love reading other people's thoughts as much as I love that perfect strangers can become connected.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Weed Woman said...

I think I'm seeing something here. You all seem to be very verbal in your expression and the way you relate to the world. I, on the other hand, am so very tactile and visual. The written word, or at least my written words, are somehow suspect and way too revelaing. I am not confident with them. My art and the things I make feel like they leave enough mystery around them. They are so very personal and yet not so completely revealing. They are a way for me to interact with others without getting too close. I can accept, with more grace or less, criticism of the things I make as coming from a place of more or less understanding. My words have been graded and used as a measure of my worth in school, a measure of my worth as an intelligent person. They have the power to be 'right or wrong', 'passing or failing'. For some reason I cannot blow that off as easily. Does this make any sense to you verbal folks out there?

7:34 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

It makes sense to me, WeedWoman.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for your ability to create. I think we stand in mutual awe of one another's ability to manipulate things - words and food for me and paint and metal for you - into soemthing far more than the sum of their respective parts.

You're right about the mystery of it, though. Art leaves SO much open to interpretation that, for me, it's not quite concise enough to get across what I need to get out (well, that, and the fact that I suck at creating art). Poetry is a wide open genre, too, but most of my writing is narrative or expository and not as available to too much interpretation.

There are a lot of people out there - Vanx is one of them, I think - who process their world both in words AND in art. I think it takes a special kind of crazy to be able to think in BOTH terms and to be able to join them effectively to get a bolder point across. I'm still learning how to read art: I'm not confident in my authority over artistic texts yet. Mostly through you, WeedWoman, I'm learning to approach the visual arts the way I approach poetry and learning to trust that my instincts are enough to bring me to a valid interpretation of what I see. It's something I'm still learning, though. It's hard to feel mastry of interpretation or critique over something that I can't manipulate on my own.

Which is part of why you're my best friend. See? It's that global village thing I was talking about - others filling in our missing pieces.

7:57 PM  
Blogger JRH said...

And then there's me. Verbal, not so tactile or visual. But more private. I'll write about how I feel, and even send said writing to one or two people that can relate, provide insight, empathize, whatever, but there's something about the posting it Out There that prevents me from being more than just a commenter on others' blogs.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Contrary said...

I write for fun. I'm no writer (and I can provide testamonials to this).

I blog because it's fun and cool and, well, fun.

I know, wordy, ain't I?

11:51 PM  
Blogger vanx said...

Sometimes it seems my more “reckless” blogging—I’ve written about many things on the Internet that I generally have avoided discussing with people—gets the highest level of interest, judging from the comments. There are things I write at night, go to erase in the morning, and stop myself because a comment or two indicates that what I wrote was interesting. Or else they offered an outside perspective on something I was keeping inside. Maybe they show that what I’d written was helpful to someone. For me, when I shuck off the shuck and put it out there straight, it’s a little scary. But it ends up being the more rewarding kind of blogging experience in the long run.

12:16 AM  

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