silly ball gown

well, i'm not sure i can keep this up. i'm no champion performer (like Christine Ebersole, aka "Miss Broadway," left, . . . that's me, nervously playing w/ my hair and gushing like a freak about her unspeakably moving performance in Grey Gardens). i mean, despite Rich's encouragment, writing here may not be the best thing for me. first of all, it's incredibly self-indulgent. second, there is the "i'm writing into a black hole" sensation of it, which is for me both enchanting and disappointing, like the time i tried to throw an impromptu Academy Awards Watching party . . . i'd made up "menus" w/ the lists of nominees so guests could predict . . . i wore a silly gown that i'd had from some formal event past . . . and yes, i ended up watching the show alone, just me and my husband. it's hysterically funny now -- think Paul Giamatti -- but, well, this is my point . . . [take out whiny stuff about recent rejection] . . . so this feeling of rejection, w/ which i am entirely too familiar (working in academe, working in film, . . . living -- see, there's PG), well, it's no good. yes, i'm talking about feelings because writing is about feelings . . . [remove long and possibly offensive digression here] . . . colleagues of mine keep telling me, "it's not personal," which sounds lovely, a lovely way to dismiss someone, but it's always personal. writing is always personal. writing is always standing alone in your silly Oscar gown drinking cheap champagne and wondering why you bother. . . . i hear you, . . . oh, the drama . . . the inelegantly howling agony . . . so yes, i'm thinking that the rejection of blogging is not for me (or for my students, i'm beginning to think). i mean, even as you write, you think about getting rejected (this is pretty much always the case, . . . except when i'm writing to perform, to perform live, which is an entirely different matter, and i sort of think about my audience but am much more invested in a particular creative vision; i learned that lingo from Sundance, . . . their loving, nurturing, slavish devotion to a "creative vision" . . . it's really quite all that). so but well, i've got to write those books. in a way, writing here is giving me the incentive to do it . . . i mean, by comparison, the books i have planned will be of some Mighty Importance . . . ha. ha.

Comments

chris said…
in my life i've moved a lot. in fact, i went through a period where i was a student at 5 different schools in five successive years. only twice did i immediately feel some semblence of ease or acceptance in my new space/place. over the years i've developed a One Year policy. i.e. in my experience, in order for a new place to have a truly fair shot at becoming "home" or at least enjoyable in more ways than not, the new place and people need a year to grow on you (and you on them). it takes at least a year to construct a comfort zone. or something like that. so, each time i move, i tell myself, "self, there's a good chance you aren't going to have any cool friends to hang with or be very good at navigating the new geography or that in general this is just gonna plane suck for a while. you're gonna have to hang tough for a bit, me." (and, yes, i call myself "self" and i refer to me as "me" - but that's just in convos in my head.)

anyway, new places have their established cliques and norms and traditions and etc. that take some getting used to.

just thought i'd share.
you're right, of course. maybe it was the high i was riding after a very warm ODU reception . . . compared to the stony silence i register when i see "O Comments" on my humble blog posts. i know i'm being silly, but i'm also being serious. i wonder about the requirement to blog (for students) and how it may operate as either liberating or repressive (as in, fear, as in rejection, etc.). thanks for writing, Chris.
jeff said…
Then, isn't this a lesson regarding audience?

Audiences are not just there - as the composition textbooks and phony assignments declare. You create them. That may take one day. Or 100.

In the end, what is your investment in what you do (a question, I assume, you would pose to a student in a course you teach)? And when does that investment arrive? Right away? After months?

And why shouldn't a given investment allow for some form of self-indulgence? Doesn't the writer have a relationship to what she writes about? Doesn't that relationship require the writer to have an investment? One blogs, supposedly, for that investment.

"This class is boring," is a pretty familiar refrain. Immediate investment. A bit unrealistic, no? As if we already care about everything.

A public writing space is what you make it to be. Liberating? Repressive? Is it really those things?

Neither category works for me.

It doesn't matter to me whether or not someone shows up for my blog (or metaphoric party). I blog for my own investments.
see now, that's a liberating response. i'm grateful for it. i don't know why my childish need for validation has been so pressing . . . maybe it's because i'm new to this. the fact is that i enjoy writing my little posts, however i imagine an audience (and i do imagine one). you're right about my categories (liberating, repressive), Jeff, that they are problematic. but when i think about students and teachers and blog assignements, i have to wonder about whether or not they obtain.