Saturday, December 24, 2005

Blogging as a discipline

As usual, I have been absent from the blogosphere for many days. I make deals with myself that I will blog daily mainly because "they" say that one needs to post regularly in order to keep people coming to one's blog. Then the other day, I read on someone else's blog that it was a good way to get into the discipline of meeting deadlines and writing regularly. It all sounds good, but I am basically a slacker when it comes to discipline. Lord knows there are way too many things one must do daily in life: brush your teeth, get dressed, eat, clean up the kitchen, to mention just a few. Then there are weekly chores such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house. Finally there are the really annoying things like going to work at a certain time whether you feel like it or not, driving in freeway traffic, making the bank deposit, blah, blah, blah. So why would I want to make blogging and writing a regualrly scheduled duty when I do it for fun, for the joy of creating?

Well yesterday I was reading Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing and he says that writing that 1000 words a day is the way you learn to write. Somewhere on a blog yesterday I read that Ray is credited with the opinion that a writer needs to write 1,ooo,ooo words before he or she gets any good at all. (At 1000 words a day, that is about three years.) I am sure it is all true. I go on marathons where I promise all the gods that I WILL WRITE 1000 WORDS A DAY. It does not ever last.

What I am trying to say is that if you are a visitor to my blog, I am so glad to have you. Please check back from time to time. I read two to three books a week (that is one thing that does not ever feel like discipline to me, but most always feels like a guilty pleasure), so I doubt that I will run out of books to blog about for a long time, if ever. Then there will be the occasional chapter from the book I am usually not writing. But if you want a daily dose, you won't find it here. Luckily there are countless blogs where you can get that, so I don't have to feel obligated to provide it.

While I am on the subject, I just have to mention that I am puzzled by lit bloggers who merely mention interesting articles that they read elsewhere or post other bloggers posts. Don't these people have anything to do? Do they find this fun? Do they actually ever read all the books they talk about? Well, I don't want to get too snarky here, but I do think that "literary" people ought to be reading more than anything else, unless they are writing their 1000 words everyday, in which case they could be excused from reading once in a while. I have a writer friend (who is a regular here at Keep The Wisdom and I thank her for that), who doesn't read anything while she is writing a book. She wants to be sure her ideas are her own. I respect that totally, although I can't imagine going without reading for long enough to write a whole book.

Those are my thoughts today, Christmas Eve day. Oh, one more. Currently I am reading My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk. I haven't been able to get up to speed on this book yet, because it takes place in Turkey in the sixteenth century and I have never read a book set in Turkey. I feel like a very unprepared tourist so far. But what has struck me as I read is that there are so very many ways to live a life. I live in the outskirts of Los Angeles, a town which tries to convince you that there is only one way to live. I was born and raised as a middle class American, a culture which has quite limited approved ways to live. In Pamuk's book we have a cast of characters who are artists who illustrate books; calligraphers, miniaturists, colorists, etc. They go through long years of apprenticeship, their lives are fraught with the vagaries of political and religious upheavals, they become bent and blind doing this type of work. But it is what they love, it is their passion. So it is with writers. Even the most disciplined and dedicated writers lead lives of financial uncertainty and social ineptitude for the most part. I was filled with admiration and gratitude to all the writers who keep on writing and putting together books for me to read. I wanted to give them a special holiday party where they could just come in any old clothes, without a shower if they wished and sit around feeling relaxed, not having to be brilliant for a few hours, just eat and drink and talk about whatever, but feel honored and adored for the wonderful creatures they are.

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