Monday, June 2, 2008


Well, that was two weeks that went by fast. I don’t think I’ve gone two weeks without a post to Throughlines since I started it more than a year and a half ago. It was my intention then, and it is still my intention now, to use the expectation of regularity implied by the maintenance of a blog to force myself into the discipline of writing more regularly. So where I have I been, and why, given my personal and professional belief in the power of writing as a tool to generate and extend and deepen my thinking, have I been AWOL for so long?

The easy thing to say would be that I ran out of things to write. That’s what my students sometimes tell me. But it isn’t true for them—although they may truly believe it is—and it isn’t true for me. I’ve actually got a baker’s dozen ideas teed up in the antechamber of my mind, just waiting for me to show up and send them aloft: the attentiveness post, the Tracy Chapman post (“There’s a fiction in the space between…”), the reading-response posts (Clay Shirky, Kim Stanley Robinson, Virginia Woolf), the Xina post, the Nickel Back Rock Star post, the end-of-the-year open letter to my students that I sometimes write and did not get around to doing this year, the post about Buddhist philosophy and the game of poker, the posts about salad and certitude and cellophane and survivalists.

So no, it’s not that. And it’s not that I’ve been too busy, although busy I have certainly been with end-of-the year meetings and projects and papers and celebratory events. There’s been time, and there have been times when I could just have easily have fired up the word processor, as I have done today, as play online chess or go for a walk or do a crossword puzzle or spend yet another hour trying to hone my nonexistent piano-playing skills.

There’s just been a… resistance. A resistance to sitting down to write, a kind of cocooning, a turning inward, a closing down which falls somewhere on the continuum between laziness at the one extreme and self-medication at the other. I wasn’t ready to write. I’ve even been having trouble reading with any consistency. I’ve been disconnected. I’ve been adrift. I’ve been elsewhere.

And now, it appears, I’m back. I sit here on this Monday evening, staring at the screen now nearly full of the words that have fallen into place under my fingers, now that the internal pressure of not writing has finally built up to the point where it actually got me to sit down and open up a blank MS Word document and start with… something. And I guess, for me, that’s the best thing about writing, which is that while it’s never easy for me to get started, once I do, I enjoy what I’m doing, and when I’m done, I am able to take some small satisfaction in being able to look back over what has come to be and say to myself, “There. There’s that.”

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