Thursday, October 1, 2009

Talking to myself

I usually write more when I am alone. That's when I need it more.

I crave some kind of a dialogue, no matter what circumstance I am in. And I have those dialogues on a daily basis—with my daughter as she gets ready for school, with my family at the dinner table as we share the events of our days, with my husband whispering at night when we are going to sleep.

But when I lived alone or with housemates in and out, I had only my notebook at night. And so I spoke there. I took time to write down my dreams or to explain my romantic preoccupations, trying to figure out all possible outcomes, even with men who hardly noticed me. I luxuriously wrote friends long letters by hand.

When I was even younger, living at home, I wrote towards my projected future, to my future self. I spoke to myself as my own confidant since no one around me seemed like me. I thought I had deeper thoughts than anyone else because I wrote them down—or that I had to write because my thoughts were so deep they couldn’t stay buried within me. It was a sacred sharing, which also kept me from feeling so alone and scared.

My writing now is less from immediate loneliness. I have the luxury of having a place in the world, even if my belonging is confined to the half-acre of our home. In cities and even out in this neighborhood, I’m not so sure that I really belong there, though it’s not as important to me now as it was when I was young and unanchored.

So, the question emerges, why do I still need to write? Do all writers have a soul loneliness that only writing, for some reason, can appease? Is ego always a factor, as it was when I was a teenager sitting in my room writing crappy poetry I thought the world needed to hear?

Perhaps my writing cannot evolve into fiction or publishable non-fiction until I get over the idea that I am sitting here talking to myself, until I can go beyond recording my immediate preoccupations and actions (she wrote, in her journal, an entry I'm now putting on my blog a day later). I'm not sure when something needs to be shown, when I am writing for something or someone beyond myself past, present, or future.

If I feel pressed to show this here, now, it's only because it's been a week since I've put something on this blog. The difference between a blog post and an entry in my journal, though, is that the journal entry can stop whenever—whenever the tea kettle whistles or the phone rings or someone knocks at the door. [The original journal entry ended with the paragraph above, left on an open laptop when the phone rang.] I need an ending here, and an ending is not making itself apparent. The cat is meowing to be let out and I'm starting to crave breakfast. Is that enough?

(Photograph: Self portrait, Santa Cruz, 1983. Copyright Beth Blevins)


Paul Hanstedt said...

Nice post. Since I've been overseas and gotten into the habit of writing, I've found that it's almost an itch--that when I don't do it for a few days, for whatever reason, I start to get grumpy and irritable. Actually, I'm usually grumpy and irritable, but I get more so when I haven't been able to put words on the page. Go figure.

Paul (Eric's friend)

Najla said...

I love this post. I think I still write out of lonliness - or a way to write away all the feelings I have so I won't feel them anymore. I don't write these things in my blog tho... just in a journal.

Najla (Eric's FB friend)