What If I’m Not Writing

Working By Emergency Light
Working By Emergency Light flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

For quite a long time — many years, in fact — I wrote on this blog every single day – rain or shine. For some of those years, I was even known to post twice a day.  I know. I know. What was I thinking? I was thinking that writing here would oil the gears of my imagination, and open up other writing ideas.

It did.

This blog (which is also my own personal digital archive of ideas and thinking) became a place to plant and nurture seeds, to try out new ideas, to think through whatever it was I doing. Comics. Poems. Songs. Stories. Essays. Whether the audience was myself or others who were stopping by or reading it on RSS, my blog has long acted an extension of my writing identity, a place to land each morning, getting centered and situated, before the rest of the day began.

But the past few months have altered my relationship with my writing here. I’m trying to sort out why.

Maybe it was just that I have been worn out by teaching this year, as so many colleagues have expressed as well. I surely am exhausted and frustrated, and summer break can’t come fast enough (a little more than two weeks). Most days at school have become long, difficult days with a growing range of student behavior and mental health issues taking up so much of my time and energy, trends that no doubt can be traced to the Pandemic and the disruptive years behind us all. Knowing that reality and the source of it all doesn’t make any day ahead any easier to navigate. Sleep is also an issue, as in not getting nearly enough.

At some point — and I think it was in March and April, when I was joining some activities around poetry and also finishing up the daily Slice of Life challenge — I just took a break from the blog’s daily writing one day, and that break kept on going and going and going.

Now it feels a bit as if the break has broken my blogging.

I have still been writing small form poetry every morning, and I’ve been posting the odd book review (mostly written earlier, and then pulled from my draft bin) and sharing silent photos for Sundays here and other odds and ends, but I have not been doing deep dive writing about the topics that I have long centered this blog around — teaching, writing, music, art, collaborations, etc.

Strangely enough — and somewhat alarming to me, the writer — I hadn’t even noticed the absence of my reflective writing voice, that voice I’ve developed here at my blog over years, until … well … I did. I suddenly noticed what was not there anymore. I’d look at this space and it felt like some distant echo of the writer I was before, but I couldn’t quite hear it anymore. When I am not writing regularly, I find myself on a day-to-day survival mode, as opposed to being able to step back and see the larger landscape.

I’m now attuned to the absence of that voice and I miss that part of me.

So, now what? I am not ready to be writing here every day, all over again, and maybe that era of me as a daily blogger is long past. I’m actually OK with that, if I can still find a strategy for nurturing my writing self.  I need to find a connection back, to spark the creative spirit that nurtures me as a teacher and a writer and a creative person. I know I have teaching colleagues and I have writing friends, and others in my collaborative circles, that I can connect with, and get support from. Perhaps summer break will be what I need.

I’m mulling on where to go from here, and how to find myself back to the writer I want to be.

Peace (and self-care),
Kevin

 

12 Comments
  1. Arthur Stern once said, “The mind stands in the way of the eye. We paint what we expect to see.” Or in this case we write what we expect to see? Drop the filters. How? Hmmmmm. Maybe just remember that your ideas are not always your writing marching orders. Fiddling about privately counts as writing even if there is only an audience of none but yourself. Or maybe I am just acting like I know something when I effing don’t. And I really don’t.

    antispamipodal: laughs if
    I have a friend who would laugh if he got his writing mojo infused and and working again. I say laugh at that writing mojo. You ain’t no tea bag. And laugh more if that persona tries to piss you off. And laugh even more if it feels good to know you have pissed off your writing mojo.

  2. Kevin I’ve visited your blog regularly for the past six or seven years because you share your “own personal digital archive of ideas and thinking) became a place to plant and nurture seeds, to try out new ideas, to think through whatever it was I doing.”

    We need more people planting seeds and nurturing new ideas.

    I watched a webinar by the Shanker Institute yesterday about Segregation and School Funding”. In one section of their report t hey showed 120 years of intentional efforts aimed at benefiting White people and disadvantaging people of color.

    120 years.

    I wrote about it today on my blog, with hopes that others will find and look at the report, then blog and Tweet about it themselves.

    Without voices from you and others they will win. They are winning.

    Don’t give up. Don’t stop using your blog they way you’ve done so often in the past.

    You don’t need to write every day to create an archive that stretches back many years. You don’t even need to write new articles. Sometimes on my own blog I just re-post articles I wrote many years ago, just to try to give them new attention.

    Your example is a potential spark that can ignite the efforts of others. Hopefully, many others.

  3. This post caught my eye, and I have to admit I find your small poems most every day but your blog often eludes me (somehow it doesn’t want to show up either in my email box or blog feed like some many others do!). Hmmm… Your words resonate. What does it mean to cultivate a writing practice? Where does blogging fit in? Does it have to be daily? I can go for days and months on end, writing and posting each day and then when I pause it takes a monumental effort to restart.

    It’s this line that haunts me: “When I am not writing regularly, I find myself on a day-to-day survival mode, as opposed to being able to step back and see the larger landscape.” It captures my worries when I am not writing and my hope when I urge other teachers to write. Perspective, healing…storytelling (in whatever form) is powerful. You remind me of some of the reasons I write too. I wish you strength as you figure this out…and hope you will share your words when you do. Thanks for your writing.

    Kim

  4. « Take it easy
    Take it easy
    Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
    Lighten up while you still can
    Don’t even try to understand
    Just find a place to make your stand
    And take it easy. »

    You are a writer.
    You are a musician.
    You are an artist.
    You are you.
    Only you.
    Thank you.

    Give yourself the break you need.

    Peace

    Simon

    • ‘sound of wheels’
      That song is so true….I experience this when driving, solo, for 11 weeks. On the long driving days, they only way to get the sound out of your head (and the vibrations) was to stop….rest….eat. Then somehow you drove again the next day!

  5. You sound deeply fatigued, which is different from tiredness. Rest. Trust your voice, all the words and thinking. It’s simply a fallow time. A new growing season will come again. Rest.

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