mirror, mirror.

Idlewood. Again. Clearly I need to make another — after my exams. I snapped this picture before heading to one of my reading groups, where we discussed an excellent graphic novel (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home) and talked about memoir, history, and voice — and about what makes something not feel self-indulgent. Which got me to thinking about blogging, especially because lately I’ve been snapping pictures of whatever I’m wearing (knits or otherwise) and posting them here. (Which seems incredibly narcissistic.)

On some level, blogging is self-indulgent. Really, all writing is. And I’m okay with that. The question we were wrestling with on Thursday night had more to do with the reader’s experience than the decision to write (or blog), and we kept returning to things like empathy, linking the ordinary and the particular to bigger (in this case, literary) themes, leaving space for interpretation rather than limiting how the reader understands and situates a particular moment, encounter, memory.

I want to think more about blogging as a form and as a personal process. How do conversations about blogging connect with discussions about memoir? In these genres, how do form and content interact? Can we identify conventions particular to blogging? In my own work, I’m thinking a lot about how I use the first person — what am I signally by choosing the personal pronoun? Am I actually revealing something personal, or is it a technique to make the reader identify with the “I”? (I’ve taken to calling this the “pretend personal” voice.) How much do I protect or reveal — here? In my academic writing? Once I’m on the other side of these exams, I’d like to spend some time (and space, maybe here?) thinking through, or maybe more accurately, writing with these questions.

Time for another picture of what I’m wearing? Clearly.

No knits in this shot, just a scarf that hasn’t been in rotation for awhile. Still faking it ’til I make it, and most days, I think it’s working. I managed to grade 10 papers yesterday, all dressed up. (She says, still in her pajamas.)

I knit less than five rows on this sock, and soon I’ll be ready to start decreasing for the toe. Ideally, I’ll finish the first sock this week, cast on the second and get through the ribbing before my first exam. That way I’ll have easy knitting handy to help with hard thinking.

Finished the carrot soup leftovers yesterday. There is another pot of this in my (near) future.

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5 thoughts on “mirror, mirror.

  1. Best of luck on your exams! Mine will be in about a month, so I’m spending my spring “break” studying for them.

  2. Good luck with the rest of exam prep! I felt kind of crazed when I was preparing for mine, and I read SO MUCH in the two weeks leading up to the exam (more than I had in the previous 6 months or so). My advice is to make sure you have plenty of supplies to keep you happy during exams. If friends offer to bring you food, take them up on it!

    P.S. Carrot soup = heaven. I just made this recipe for lunch:

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/03/dinner-tonight-senegalese-curried-carrot-soup-recipe.html

    and it was awesome.

  3. Fun Home was so awesome! I was actually just thinking about it earlier in the week.

    I’d be interested in seeing some of your questions and thoughts about blogging. Hyper-reflexivity is something I’ve been trying to break away from in my journaling, but in blogging it might be something altogether different.

    I think a journal is more self-indulgent, as it is generally meant to be kept private. It is purely writing for one’s own sake.
    Blogging, though is almost the opposite. Not only is it meant to be seen, it is considered more “successful” the more people see it. In a sense, that may be motivation to use the “pretend personal” voice you mention in order to reach and connect with that larger audience.

    And conventions particular to blogging? LINKS. Imagine if you picked up someone’s journal, and the dust jacket had a list of “journals that this journaler likes”. And that all of those journals were within arm’s reach.
    There totally needs to be a dissection of what links represent to bloggers. If a high-traffic blog linked to you, wouldn’t you feel sort of honored? Or like you were given a gift? But it’s just a line of code that says “look here”.

    That’s all I’ll say for now.

  4. I know it- blogging- is narcissistic, but I think in a very positive way. And I don’t just say that as a blogger. I spent my entire grad carreer thinking about and writing about the narcissism of self-portraiture and the psychology of it. I think narcissism is a very natural thing for the human being, and expressing it in such a sharing and social way as blogging is good for you. It can also be a defense mechanism, but the ego needs a good defense mechanism once in a while. As long as it doesn’t disolve into isolationism with a false belief that the blog is all the social interaction a human needs…. And I can’t see that happening with you!

    You have Boh, after all!!

    And by the way, I would join a Idlewood KAL, IF I thought I would look like that in it!!!!

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