On triviality

On Sunday, I heard only a very brief snippet of City Arts and Lectures as my mother and I moved her car from an expensive parking meter (5 minutes for a quarter. How is this possible?) to an expensive parking garage. I don't even know who was being interviewed, but I have to assume she's an important Thinker of Our Time because that's who they invite. In any case, I rather wish I'd missed it altogether because I was only radio-adjacent long enough to hear her say, "Well, you don't read blogs the way you read...writing. Here's some advice for young writers [of whom, alas, I realize I am no longer one]. Just because something occurs to you, you don't have to write it down."


I don't even disagree. This is why I have not been successful in incorporating Twitter into my life. Yet I felt like a mean girl had sauntered up to me on the playground to tell me that only losers wear those dumb jeans--didn't I know? Which is to say, I felt embarrassed and deflated and I don't even know who she was.

For a long time, I didn't tell anyone at all that I had a blog because it seemed so incredibly trivial and self-indulgent. Also, I could not hate the word "blog" any more if I tried. I started it to encourage myself to write anything at all. I thought that the theoretical notion of an audience might help me show up. It didn't, not really, because I am inherently lazy and writing--even silly, brief writing--is harder than it looks. Also, writing for a theoretical audience is like the absurd suggestion that setting your clock ahead ten minutes will keep you from being late. That scheme seems to imply that you are not only tardy, but also an amnesiac who can go around changing your clocks and then entirely forgetting that you've done it. Both of these things are just you trying to outsmart you. Or, rather, me trying to outsmart me. I'm harder to fool than that, it turns out. This is why the advent of the Blog Bully was such a boon. One non-theoretical audience member. One person who is not me who cares whether I write anything or not. It is strangely powerful.

Sometimes I write things here that I consider capital W Writing, but mostly not. It's been a long time since I've devoted any energy to what I consider "real" writing and, lately, that work has been for performance more than for would-be publication. Meanwhile, if I weren't here, my writing would be limited exclusively to my personal correspondence (which, I'll have you know, is sparkling as all get-out) and, like the Italian verbs conjugations I briefly knew and promptly forgot, I might lose the knack altogether for lack of practice.

The reality is, in order to show up here with any kind of regularity, I am obliged, truly, to write anything that occurs to me. Indeed, I am always very relieved when something does occur to me.

Perhaps it doesn't count as writing, but I'm practicing. Thanks for standing by.