Trying to Walk the Line

Blogging is a delicate balance for me, which is why I fall off the wagon so frequently and for so long.

I want to eventually be known as an author, and so I want to keep this blog somewhat professional.

I want to demonstrate who I am on a personal level, while keeping some things private.

I want to participate in political discussion, without being too radical or offensive.

I want to talk about what’s going on my life, without being boring, or again, getting too personal.

This is tricky!

That’s one of the reasons I talk about books and writing so often, and sometimes food, and for a while there, quite some time ago, I talked about running. (Now I focus more on walking than running.)

I don’t know how to fully be myself and yet be a moderate, buttoned-down version of myself that will be palatable to any future readers I might have, or agents who might want to see what I’m all about before taking the leap with a book of mine.

When things get a little overwhelming in my personal life, it’s almost impossible for me to compartmentalize enough to find anything at all to blog about that isn’t something I would feel uncomfortable sharing with the general public.

When I get in a low mood, I find it difficult to even write book reviews, because I tend to be more negative, and I really don’t want to do that when talking about someone else’s hard work – not in such a public space.

So, what does that leave? Blog posts about postage stamps and boot laces, apparently.

Sigh. I just don’t know. I’m trying.

 


“I’m Angry and I’m Tired All the Time”

Tonight, at my writing group, our leader played us the Leonard Cohen song “Treaty” as our ten minute writing prompt.

I’ve been flaky on blogging. No denying that.

When I got the idea of blogging every day for the month of December, I thought I ought to try a little discipline, and tonight’s prompt may or may not be a good way to start that. It’s not particularly uplifting, but it’s reflective of my current mood.

If you’re interested in hearing the song first, since we all listened to it before we wrote, here’s a YouTube video:

 

Several snatches of words stuck out at me, and clung to me as I continued to listen, so I just wrote what I was feeling as I heard those words. Here it is, without further ado:


I try to keep my own skin thin to let the beauty in.

There can be beauty in sin, if you believe in sin.

Whatever you believe in, the skin must be thin

for the beauty of the world to find its way in.

But when the skin is that thin, the poison enters into everything.

I feel I’m swimming in a great pool

full of all the poison of the world,

treading water, keeping my head above the surface,

stretching my neck and lifting my chin, to keep the poison from sloshing in,

past my lips and over my tongue.

But my skin is still thin, and the poison that I’m steeped in,

it seeps in,

and enters into everything.

Where does the poison begin?

It comes from our minds and our mouths.

I leak it out of my corners and seams, despite trying to lock it tightly within.

My feelings of sickness from the poison inside only add more poison to life.

I drip puddles of it on the ground; it sprays and spurts

when I raise my voice in anger, disperses into the air

for someone else to breathe.

It’s so hard, so hard to reign it in,

because I’m angry and I’m tired all the time.

For it’s easier to be mad than sad, feels better to shout and curse

than to weep the poison out

in great steaming tears

that stain my clothes.

I wish we had a treaty

to stop putting all our poison

into each other.

But then, where would it go?

 


Recent reads and the company of literary-minded others

I’ve mostly been writing book reviews lately, so this blog has been a little neglected. If you’re interested in checking them out, here are my most recent ones:

“Magic or Madness” by Justine Larbalestier

“Half Bad” by Sally Green

“Sisters of Shiloh” by Kathy and Becky Hepinstall

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

I did also finish the newest one by Tracy Chevalier, “The Last Runaway,” which I haven’t reviewed yet, but about which I’m going to have some very good things to say.

You may notice a theme here. I’ve been on a spree of women authors. It started out innocently enough, but when I noticed it, I decided to make it a thing for a while. I’m currently in the middle of two other books (well, more than that, but two that are getting my attention on a daily basis). Both are also written by women.

I’m reading “The Fair Fight” by Anna Freeman for my own pleasure, and since my book group is finally meeting again this month, I’m also making my way through September’s pick, “We Took to the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich.

I’m not sure how I feel about that last one just yet. I’m enjoying it, but it’s also a little slow and lacking in plot–but I don’t think plot was what the author was necessarily going for. It isn’t a novel.

I also met up with a fledgling writers’ group recently. It seems to be following the same rules as my book group, even though it meets in the evening–mostly women; in fact, we only had one man. He’ll probably keep us from getting into too much trouble. We ladies can be formidable when we get together, but I think he can hold his own.

It seems likely to be a good experience. I think we have a good variety of experience and lack thereof, people from interesting walks of life and with different goals. I’m happy I overcame my hermit nature enough to show my face!

So, those are the straightforward things happening in my life right now. Everything else is complicated and stressful, so I’m glad to have the book group coming up and another writing group meeting next week. I’m also fortunate to have no shortage of good literature to bury my face in lately.

I actually think that might be next on my to-do list for today! I’d better get on it.

Photo on 9-11-15 at 5.15 PM #2