Friday, May 08, 2009

Once upon a time ...

I split up from a partner of six years. The space that he left behind was expansive and beautiful. I met another man, dark haired, dark eyed, who lived far away.
We wrote every day for months. To tell the truth, I wrote more than once a day, only half the letters I didn't send. I wrote stories for him. Sometimes, I still do.

I moved to the wilds on my own and did up my flat with my bare hands, for the most part. There was an old silvered mirror that hung in the bathroom. I took it away to fill the cracks in the walls, and when I came back into the room, bang, the blank wall, a distance removed, right in my face. So much closer, realer and blanker than a wall should be.

I haven't had a cigarette for two months. Yes, I still want one. Very fucking much, sometimes. My whole family smokes. I've smoked since I was thirteen. I could never imagine myself like this, blank, naked, alone. Addicts are selfish, I only realise that after I give up and friends blow smoke on me, pretending to be happy but secretly missing my habit almost as much as I do.

The dark-eyed man eventually stopped writing back so much. It got awkward. I started writing to a good friend who lived in Japan and might have been lonely like I was.

Even with my daily thread of communication, I got lonelier than I thought possible. Eventually I stopped thinking it was a bad thing. I fell in love with solitude. I really started writing for real, not for cheap immediate thrills, when I finally gave up my correspondences and faced the blank page.

Writing is lonely, fucking lonely.

But maybe it needs to be, at least sometimes.

Blogging and twitter and facebook - they're like laying out your drugs of choice in front of an addict, all shining and beautiful and free. They're the mirrors that give a false impression of a room, they're the crutch that stops you breathing deeply, they're the lovers one is always running after trying to impress.

That is why, dear friends, I've been having a blogging pause. Now I'm trying to work out whether the problem with blogging is the fact that the blank page isn't blank, but made of real living and intelligent people, which means the long, restless desire to write gets gratified too easily - or that the problem is being not honest enough.

To write well, do I need to write less, or more?

Lately I seem to keep bumping against all or nothing decisions. In the end I just have to shut my eyes and jump without knowing which way I'm going. Here goes ...


Erobintica said...

I've pondered the - is blogging writing or avoiding writing? - question many times in the short time I've been blogging. I've never been on facebook or twitter, so I'm unfamiliar (to the extent anyone nowadays can be) with how they can suck you in except through friends that tell me about them. But blogging...

Maybe because I first came to blogging not as someone that some other person might want to read - I fully expected to be talking to myself for quite awhile. So I treated my blogging as "morning pages" with a theme. Julia Cameron used the term to describe just writing to get all the crap out so that when you do sit down to really write, you don't sit there staring at the page (or the screen). That's my paraphrasing - I'm too lazy to get up and find my copy of her book and see what she actually says.

I try to treat my blog writing as real writing, as a way to get some of what's rattling around in my brain down so that I can work on my other writing, my poetry and my erotica (and those weird pieces that blend the two). Of course, I don't just do it (blogging) in the morning, sometimes it's evening, or mid-afternoon. Sometimes what I put down is just fun, something I just came across or some thought that popped into my head. Sometimes it's very serious, some topic that I've been mulling over in my head for days (weeks, months, years, a lifetime).

And yeah, I probably spend more time than I should reading other peoples blogs, but I've gotten enough insights from reading that I think it's worthwhile. I also find I get bored with the drivel so I'm selective about what I read (even though I read a lot - I'm like that with newspapers and magazines and books too. And for me, it's made me realize that I want honesty, in my writing, in my life, so I try to be as honest as possible in my blogging. For me, this blogging thing is a walking stick on the road to self-discovery. I figure my blogging can be and is what I make of it.

Yes, writing is lonely. To do it you have to sit alone with your thoughts. Sometimes I do have to tell myself to just take a notebook and walk away from the electronics and write that way, pen on paper. Or sometimes, if I am writing on my computer, at least just turn off email.

Okay, this is a long answer - see? you hit a nerve, touched a chord, whatever you want to call it. So, for me, your blog post was very worthwhile.

Oh, and Ani is good too. ;-)

neve black said...

All things in moderation, perhaps?

There has been so much beauty that I've found in other writer's processes, thoughts, activities, and personal stories, like yours today - that's helped me steeple chase over some of my own rough patches.

We have the technology to reach out to others. And as much as I appreciate and understand the importance of being focused and alone with our own thoughts, which is what a writer must do, I can't help and wonder if Thoreau would have texted a friend, or blogged about some of his experiences, if he could.

There is something unique about this group of erotic writers out here in blog land: each eclectic, and a bit odd, but together it creates this wonderful energy that I think is magical. You're part of that magic, Nikki.

The words found out here may not always be award winning, but still these words touch lives and created friendships based upon a great recipe of support, admiration, and the feelings associated of being proud of another writer's success.

I thank the universe for finding this incredibly talented and thoughtful group of writers all the time.

I would miss your tender, deeply emotional thoughts if you stopped blogging.

Madeline Moore said...

I think my blogging is self-indulgent. It's a way for me, and maybe other writers, too, to avoid really writing, and it allows non-writers to play at one of their favourite games, pretending to be writers.

Of course it's also a promotional tool but that is at least self-serving if not self-indulgent.
In my case, I don't think my blog even serves that function. (Witness my book give-away with maybe five people entering so win a hard copy edition of my second novel!)

However: Other people's blogs are fun and funky and often really informative and intelligently written. BICEPS is one such blog and LUST BITES was another.

I learn stuff from other people's blogs, which may be one reason why mine seems sorta dumb. I already know all about me...

Your blog is beautifully written and usually illustrated with your own photos, or music videos, interviews...I like your blog, Nikki.

But if you want or need to preserve energy I'd say the blog would be first on the chopping block...well, maybe after TWITTER....

Craig Sorensen said...

I personally keep my online activities to blogland. No facebook, twitter, etc. I probably spend too much time blogging, given the limited amount of time I have to dedicate to my writing. But blogland has been an important thing to me, getting to know other writers of erotica. Where I live, there are very few in close proximity, so online is "the place" for me. Without the internet world, I wouldn't know cool people like you.

I don't know if I have an answer, but I will say you should not let your creative writing suffer, and that while you may be able to write in relative isolation, I think you might need to "mingle" a bit too.

Hell, I'm babbling. Probably no help at all.

Oh, and I quit smoking in 1994 after smoking as much as two packs a day for seventeen years. It was a mother to quit, but now, fifteen years hence, I can say it's worth it. It does get much easier, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit there are even rare times now when I smell smoke that I kind of fancy the idea of lighting up.

Stay strong.

alubsces (verification word, probably as helpful as my comments.)

Alana said...

Erobintica, what a poetic response. Writing, lonely? Yes. I appreciated something Hope Clark said about blogging. Blog, yes, but don't let it become your writing.

Madeline Moore, first paragraph: Spot on!

Craig, I agree about meeting cool people online. Yes. And certainly, from my own experience, I've made a few connections via the Internet, although plenty more frittered away. Is that a word, frittered?

Nx, I saved you for last because you're the hostess, but also, this post made me cry.


Kristina Wright said...

What a terrific, thoughtful post. I've had the same questions you have-- and have walked away from blogging for weeks or months at a time. I've also managed to spin a few piece of my blog writing into writing sales, so I like to think there is some benefit to it. Sometimes.

You are an amazing writer. Truly.

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi all,

What wonderful readers I have! I feel very lucky, thanks to all of you.

Robin - I like the idea of a blog being a walking stick. Right now I'm doing a bit of swerving or pivoting or turning or something, so I'm waiting for things to fall back into place. I might go on blogging but the thing is that *I'm* changing so the blog will too.

Neve - I'm trying to imagine Thoreau blogging. It might be fun to set up blogs in the style of ... hasn't anyone done this already?

Madeline - yes, i get the self indulgent bit. And then I feel guilty at having filled the world with selfish words. I think maybe that's why fiction seems easier, often, than true-life writing.

Craig, you're a doll. Thank you.

Alana - oh, I never meant to make you cry! Maybe that's one thing blogging is good for - an instant gauge of audience/reader reaction? To see whether the intention meets the effect. (Although, of course, I don't write that calculatedly and the most intention is, like you and Mad said, mostly self indulgent.)

Kristina, I'm really flattered, thank you! I think a lot of writers/bloggers work with that ambivalence about blog/writing. I'm trying to learn to live with tensions lately, after reading something about how nothing is ever completely one thing or the other. Does that make any sense? Maybe writing comes out of that tension. Otherwise, I suppose, there'd be nothing really to say?