Sunday, September 11, 2011

Still a Few Drops in the Well (I Hope)

After watching and listening to 9/11 stories on PBS and NPR for a week, I feel almost guilty to be publishing a non-9/11 post on this day, 10 years after nearly 3,000 people died in a terrorist attack. It's because my own 9/11 story is small and utterly insignificant; I comforted a little crew of children in a tiny rural elementary school in California as we waited for more news. I answered questions, even though I was confused myself. Hardly noteworthy, although like everyone I know, I remember the exact moment I heard the news for the first time.

No, instead I'm here to talk about unfinished writings and a well of inspiration that has become harder to access.

There are no fewer than five unposted posts, still waiting to be edited into publishable form.

Why haven't I posted them? Because they're just too... what? Personal? Revealing? It seems that our thoughts and meanderings are just not always publishable, able to be made public, unless we're political minded (I'm not) or some quirky do-it-yourself-er with a million ideas to share.

But why is it so hard to share lately?

Awhile back, I ran into a guy I see more often on Facebook than in real life, and he said with a sneer, "Your life is an open book." To be fair, this guy is someone with a sneering delivery in general, so it's tough to tell when he's actually sneering.

But it seemed to me his sneer implied that I'm some tiresome oversharer in the vein of this middle-aged returning student I once knew in college who used to simultaneously bore and horrify young students by regaling them with detailed accounts of her hysterectomy.

I ran into another guy recently who critiqued my life for being lived more on Facebook than in the here and now. Of course I have a full and imaginative life outside my time online, but maybe he's right that I spend too much time at the computer, not enough time interacting face-to-face. I do indeed wish I saw my friends more and especially my granddaughter.

When did imbalance of time happen? It was a side effect of grad school, being stranded in front of a computer for months on end researching and trying to write a thesis and dozens of other papers. In those dark times, being able to flip over to Facebook and say hi to friends, ask for quick advice, read about their lives in small manageable pieces, then I felt less alone and isolated.

Of course, the social network is incredibly useful. I'm lucky to have tons of analytical friends who would happily engage with helping me ponder some point in my thesis at 2 a.m. and honestly I don't think I could have survived that last semester without them, accessible only through the medium of Facebook.

The value of the social network can't be underestimated. In fact, that same guy who offered his critiques is unable at the moment to find a job or a girlfriend, in spite of his considerable employability and datability. He might find both if he would just expand his social network. (And yes, I know, the social network extends far beyond social networking sites.)

All this is leading up to a link I want to share, about blogging inspiration running dry and how to rekindle creativity. It's on a blog called Write to Done.

It made me think of the Bitten Apple, so hard for me to update lately, when I find all my own posts so uninteresting, whether they're book reviews, opinions, rants or memoirs. I''m sick of my own thoughts, finding them as tedious as someone else's hysterectomy stories. But I'm going to try to tap into the inspiration again, I promise.

2 comments:

The Storyteller said...

very interesting

beachcomber said...

I will check the link for I, too, have been in an inspirational drought. Well...until I was flogged by FRED for non-publishing immediately after I had been involved in self-flagellation for the same thing (LORD, I pray I used THAT word/phrase correctly. I have unpublished blogs where the idea was sorta there but not enough to flow. *sigh*. But, isn't it better to NOT blog than to blog when you really don't have anything to say? That's my current state and I'm stickin' with it!