Those of you who have been following this blog for a while have probably noticed my drop in frequency where it comes to posting. A number of reasons help explain this, but most evident on my end is the sheer amount of time I’ve been spending writing and revising, to the detriment of other areas of my life.
Particularly, those, “other areas,” include making efforts to move on with my life into a new — and I should specify, desirable — job (not just the jobs that pop up on my doorstep), developing my writing practice outside of the blog format, and seriously, focusing on cultivating myself.
Reading books is one of those outlets I just haven’t been engaging, which — when done — helps tremendously with inspiring Writing…though I’m getting back on studying both English-Language-as-Craft, and Information Science. “Information Science” is coming second, as I realize just how much poor writing on the topic is out there; and you can see that I didn’t call it, “Library Science.” Maybe I don’t want to air the reasons why, right here and now…it’s an issue.
I’m a little bitter. Ten years of labor and nothing to show for it in Retirement will do that to you (granted I’m not sure when I realized that my post was not intended to be a long-term position, and that the type of work I was doing might not prepare me for the type of work I realistically wanted to do or could tolerate).
In my experience on WordPress, I’ve found plenty of other blogs posting high-quality material with only occasional updates. I am also not fond of playing to the algorithm and posting 2-3 times a week, in order to get more Views (with, then, a higher chance of more Likes and Follows). That’s especially the case when I don’t feel like being social.
If I look at that frequency of posting and I measure how long it takes for me to conceptualize, write, edit, and post any one quality entry (I mean, “quality,” as in, “could be in the running for traditional Publishing”)…I could easily work all week on this blog. I am paying WordPress; they are not paying me. The question then arises of why I dump so much time into it, especially when I’m then literally using my own First Publishing Rights and have nothing unique to offer a Publisher, who could pay me or earn me prestige.
The quick disappearance of Views after the first three days of posting is also…I guess I should say, a disappointment. For all of this, I could be taking longer in development and working outside the blog format, then seeing my name in print, in someone else’s publication. (With my permission only, let’s specify.)
That, in turn, would be to my credit if I decided I actually wanted to become Creative Writing faculty at a four-year institution, or an Academic Librarian liaising with the Creative Writing and English Departments, both of which require Master’s level training. To get into Master’s level training, I’d likely need a history of publication.
(I don’t think blogs count.)
I can also then take my time and write out my own personal journal entries…in which I can fully elucidate what I’m saying, for my own future benefit. There is only so much that I feel comfortable posting on the Web, and as I get older, that percentage shrinks. Twenty or so years ago, I felt much more unfettered, but then — at that time, my prefrontal cortex wasn’t fully developed.
Whether blogging itself can be considered, “Social Media,” I’m not sure at this point; and maybe there is no consensus; but I do know that it has served as a poultice for my lack of social engagement over the last three years. The grip of that isolation has started to loosen, however…and it’s readily apparent to me as a person who has participated in fully online as well as in-person classes, that the experiences are entirely different.
Sitting and watching a screen and listening through headphones, is not the same thing as actually being together with someone. It’s a lot safer — and when separation for safety purposes is required, it can be a more-informative option than a telephone, and can ease risk of contagion. But it isn’t a great long-term solution, when what you actually want to be doing is just sitting next to your friend and talking to them. We develop ways to digitize our interactions, but nothing will fully replace what we’re trying to replicate. There are ways to ease collaboration, but seriously…some of these classes really need in-person instruction, and in-the-moment feedback and correction.
I should say, be as safe as you can, if you’re meeting with other people: it has been three years, and I know many people are at their wit’s end with isolation. But there are ways to realistically reduce unnecessary risk, that can help protect you, the ones you care about, and your broader community.
As regards Writing… this overlaps with my current psychological struggles, which indicates why I’m drawing away from it. Essentially, I’ve observed a theme of stagnation and looking back towards the past, in my work. This is what I wrestled with in my last draft of the last major project I worked on (late 2022), and it’s an issue not only there, but also across the broader range of my psyche, outside of writing. Multiple members of my family have noticed the same pattern going on in other relatives, as well.
At this point, there are a few ways to manage the issue. One, I could abandon work on this project entirely and begin a new one. Two, I could work on this project and actively work in the theme of replay/rumination/stagnation, though it would get repetitive after a while (it’s already repetitive, for me: this is why I have had trouble starting on a specific writing prompt that I have not yet begun to unravel, on paper. I just don’t want to see it [again] right now, after I’ve dealt with it for years). Three, I could attempt to be present to the current moment at the same time as I relate this story which I began about 25 years ago — the last of which appears to be mental gymnastics, and not particularly safe for deep-diving without SCUBA.
I believe that I really do need to get back to reading and writing, if I do have a goal of being a Literary or Speculative Fiction author. My motivation essentially petered out on the Carol Lloyd book, Creating A Life Worth Living, as I realized that I was not willing to sacrifice my health (including mental health) and wellness and income for some mystical notion of a creative mission. Delusions aren’t worth it. They evaporate way too easily; and holding to them keeps one stuck.
I mention that, because I’ve fallen off of the 15-minutes-of-writing-per-day that I assigned myself. I need to get back on it, even if I don’t “believe in” the book, anymore (which I had to, provisionally, in order to even have a chance of getting anything out of it). Plenty of people say to get 15 minutes of writing in per day, every day, if one wants to become a writer. I’d say I don’t want to become a Writer; I am a Writer; the question is whether I’ll ever publish.
The idea of surviving to fulfill a mystical creative mission helps, when you’re suicidal and unwell and need some reason to keep staying alive. When you realize that you are so much more than simply your creativity, it becomes less important. I think this may relate to my own gender, “stuff,” more than I had acknowledged, prior. But there is a difference between, “being creative,” and, “repeating negative thoughts.” These are not the same thing; the latter can obliterate the former. And I need to be less stagnant.
Gender…and spirituality: this is a complicated topic for me. I…really do wonder whether some form of — maybe out-and-out — Pantheism is where I’m at. Pantheism is the recognition of reality as the body of the Divine, in my lexicon; though you’ll likely see it referred to as the Universe being the body of the Divine. (I’ve stepped back from the latter idea because of the entire Universe/Multiverse conflict, which in my opinion are different words describing the same ultimate reality, which exists whether we name it or not. But I’m not a Theoretical Physicist, and I would believe most of us aren’t; so I’m not in any sense qualified to judge the issue.)
I haven’t found a lot written on Pantheism, but apparently there are some Christian ideas around it (though it is not exclusively Christian). It has been around long enough to have a Dewey Decimal code of “147”, under “Specific philosophical schools”, though I’ve only ever found two books on it (neither of which, I’ve read: they were in University libraries to which I did not have direct access). I’d associate it with Transcendentalism as a social movement, or Muir (and the Sierra Club)…but that’s reaching way back into the history of my education, and into my original inclination of becoming a Geologist (which I abandoned once I discovered that Social Sciences existed, and that there were gigantic unaddressed social problems I had lived through).
The idea of a Goddess of Life, or Goddess of Earth, appeals to me, especially upon realizing that all life on this planet is dependent upon the functioning of the Earth. The dynamism of the inner Earth is what generates the magnetic field which preserves the atmosphere and ultimately, the oceans (which might otherwise be obliterated by the Solar Wind)…and the oceans are likely the cradle of life.
I know that my draw — abstractly, at least — to the Goddess imagery, likely has something to do with various males trying to appropriate my fertility and its power. I’m not meaning to refer to people from within the transgender community: I’m talking about people who have tried to take my fertility and make it my own enemy, by doing things like equating my ultimate worth as a person to my sexual desirability and availability (to them).
That’s not a good way of flirting. And I have had some issues over this, where it comes to self-beautification: specifically, jewelry (as much makeup is extraneous and unnecessary). The point is that I should not have to refrain from being beautiful so that I don’t have to deal with men and boys who can’t handle their testosterone and have few social skills.
I’m still not planning on having children, but having the core ability to have a child, period: that’s a responsibility that has weighed on me since puberty. It’s not a concern that someone without a uterus, has.
I don’t strongly identify with the cultural construction of, “womanhood,” especially in 21st-century U.S. culture, but I am definitely female and would likely feel divested from some part of myself, or that some part of myself were hidden, if I transitioned to male. Bringing that back in as a male-appearing person, would make me unavoidably openly nonbinary. That, in turn, would be a difficult life, and I’ve had enough of that without encouraging it more.
For a large part of what I’d say was my connection to my own sense of femaleness: I felt that if I would not bring children into the world, I could still create and bring other things into the world, like my writing. But there are some things that should definitely be spoken, and some things in my mind which would only harm other people — possibly in the way they’ve harmed me. It’s nearly impossible to imagine what one has never seen or dreamed could be, and though that looks like a tautology…it’s noticeable that the story I thought up as a youth, is in its essence much more clotted than the stories I see, now. That’s basically due to the nature of the zeitgeist I grew up within.
So maybe it’s time to move on past 14-year-old me, and see what 41-year-old me, can do.
And like I wrote above: my creativity is not my only aspect. It may not even be my dominant aspect, at this point: to preserve my own creative freedom, I’ll have to rely on something other than the marketability of my stories. The positive thing is that I have other skills, and I can build on those other skills.
I may want to set up a plan for that…