So until now, this blog has been about a very tightly defined (by me) literary exercise: writing brief essays based on getting inside a photo or image that inspires me or opens up my thinking in some way.
Doing this exercise has meant that I have posted only when I have some semi-polished Thing to Say or other. (My definition and determination of “semi-polished” varies by the day, as you can see by reading my pretty sparse archives.) I wanted no blabby blog, full of overshares, because those types of blogs annoy the expletives out of me. I wanted instead a venue for practicing writing nonfiction. A showcase for the handful of people who might be reading.
But the self-imposed form has become too precious (which went against the whole point of having a blog, and the THEME or IDEA of this blog) and so I’m breaking it open. OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE STILL CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR but they are blurrier and maybe you will see more of them. Coming atcha. You betcha. Coming out, maybe, in a way…
This week I have been attending the Antioch Writers Workshop, and my ideas about writing (creative) nonfiction have been cracked open. I’m heady with all the various shapes that creative nonfiction writing does and might take. Joyce Dyer‘s morning class has been great for that, as well as a memoir workshop with Nahid Rachlin.
I usually write fiction. I have written several novels, and some short stories. I’ve written a couple essays, and some of my short work has been published. But overall I would not consider myself a writer of nonfiction, except… I write nonfiction. I wrote what is essentially a personal essay (about something very personal, not for the blog) for the memoir workshop. It’s not memoir-y enough, I guess, but it is a start. And it turns out to be fun, and doesn’t have to be narcissistic. (I knew that from reading some great creative nonfiction, but it’s great to see and experience it firsthand.) For me, this kind of personal writing is excavation that I didn’t really think I would want to do, as:If I have the time, why don’t I work on my novel, except that as I grow older and (I hope) wiser, I realize again and again, in a deeper and deeper way, how connected all these things are. Words are words, they tell the truth, or they don’t, in various ways. There is truth in fiction and fiction in truth. Life informs fiction, fiction informs life, life informs life, etc. that is if a person (a writer or reader) is really awake.
So I’m putting my last name on the blog. I am owning this space. THIS IS MY SPACE. The little liberal, post-hippie town where I live used to have a “WE LIVE HERE!” parade, to tell the world that it wasn’t just a quaint little town to visit, or something… the freaks letting their freak flags fly, mummers, unicyclists, war protestors, etc. united to parade through town, so now, in the same spirit, this is my I WRITE HERE parade.
Having a little coming out party, for the five of you who are out there reading this.
p.s. The image at the top of this post is from an auction of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” props on eBay after the series was over. I assume it was needlepoint that Buffy was supposed to have created as a kid. Moments like these make me glad I’m a (virtual and concrete) packrat. I wish I’d been able to win the item, but I stole the image, which is almost like being there.