Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Putting down the pen

One of the oddest things about blogging is that it lends itself to the belief that your thoughts are especially important and need to be communicated. Before, I was happy to let the random ideas or clever scenarios merely simmer in my head before vanishing (unlike the lyrics to old TV show theme songs, which seem to be wedged in some random brain crevasses for ever more-- I bet almost every single one of you can rap the Fresh Prince of Belair theme song in your sleep). Yet now, it feels like I am cheating myself to let them escape. They somehow need to be written down, to be witnessed.

This may explain why, on the bus today, I was struggling to find a theme to connect the dots between my opinions on the pigeons living the alley by my apartment, my implicit theories about the guy who sat across me on the bus in the beat up leather jacket (I decided he shopped at used book stores and vaguely wanted to marry him), and my annoyance at my co-worker who has suddenly become a fierce vacation doppelganger and is copying every step of the holiday the Duke and I are about to depart on.

Of course, none of these thoughts matter much at all. It isn't going to alter the course of my or your life whether I decide to tell you about how I nearly trip over pigeons in the morning.

This is likely why I have not joined the Twitter masses (or is it the Twitterati?). If there's one thing I have been told on multiple occasions (other than "Wow, you really are that clumsy" or "Maybe that's enough cheese for today"), it is that I think too much. I know that if I purposely enrolled myself in a program where people presumably wanted to hear the most random of my thoughts, like how it just feels better to know my socks have polka dots on them even though no one can see them, I would probably whip myself up into a frenzy. It certainly seems that the simple act of blogging has done enough to make me more aware of the minutia of my brain... Twittering really could only make it worse. I spend enough of my brain power reacting to "Oh God, I need to remember to blog this."

It kind of reminds me of those people who get so wrapped up in taking pictures of an event or a place that they are entirely separate from the experience. They have no real memories of it, only the plastic versions of memories in their photographs. I have the tendency to start narrating the story of my day in my head before the day is even finished, rather than just being in that day.

The other night, the Duke and I were having a profound late night conversation about of topics such as mental illness and astronomy. As I slid beneath the comforter, knowing the similarities between his memory and a piece of swiss cheese, I said to him "You are getting some pretty intense ideas there. You should try to write them down." He told me that he sometimes appreciates being able to have these thoughts without feeling they need to be preserved, that he can sit with the idea in the moment and be okay with the fact that it may never come to mind again.

Perhaps I can learn a little from him about living in the moment.


Anonymous said...

See, I like Twitter for that reason. I can put anything I want on there, and come back to it in case I forget. Also, it reminds me of living in the moment (I never said I wasn't backwards.)

E-mailing you soon, just taking a quick thesis break. If you go away before I talk to you, have a terrific time!

sour said...

I don't know about that. I always feel as though all of these ideas can be used if they are preserved.
If you allow them to slip away, then they become nothing.
I have always been one to keep a diary and collect mementos from events in my life. When I look back on something from six years ago, I am always glad I preserved them. Even when it is something embarassing or silly.
I'm quite good at forgetting anything that I don't feel pertains to the "now", so it's nice to have these memories documented somewhere.
Maybe some people are better at remembering than others.

Katelin said...

i'm such a preserver, i can't really help it. pictures, writing it all down? that's totally me. but i know that is not the way for everyone.

[F]oxymoron said...

Yes, of course I can rap the entire Fresh Prince song!

And I too like the ideas of thoughts dangling over the the edge of memory. You know, like legs dangling over the edge of a bridge... it can be kind of exhilarating and life reaffirming.

Tough Girl 101 said...

I wish that I could narrate the way that you do, but it doesn't seem to be my talent. The best I can seem to do is to pick a topic and type 200 or so words on it.

nicoleantoinette said...

This post really hit at me. You're onto something profound here darlin.

sequined said...

The balance between the moment and posterity is tricky, and the balance between thoughts and writings is also fraught. But all of life and living and writing is an experiment in finding the right balance for each of us, I guess.

insomniaclolita said...

I think it depends on the people. I like to have thoughts, memories, even pictures preserved. Although I may not preserve them all. I don't feel like it's an obligation so it doesn't feel hard for me. It's something i do naturally I guess, like breathing.

smidge said...

I liked the picture bit of this, im critical of folk who endlessly take photos of the world rather than looking at it, i think you should experience life (and experience the memories) rather than just document it.

But strangely i am also a blogger and document my life in that way.

Very interesting, thought provoking topic.

Anonymous said...

I've been struggling with a very similar issue lately -- the desire to blog and publish my writing can be so powerful that I often forget what I should keep private and personal, to myself, versus what should be made public. I write something in my journal and, although I'm trying to just write and not worry about how it's written or what I'm saying exactly, I find myself always wondering, when I'm done writing, "Is this blog publishing material?"

I need to learn to draw the line and keep some things to myself, like they're sacred, just for me. Yet, every day, I find myself inclined towards just posting it all and I don't think it's necessarily the best way to use my thoughts, my experiences.

Good luck, my dear. It's a tricky one!!

Daisy said...

I thought this was very interesting. I have actually had the opposite experience with blogging. Whereas before I lived day-to-day in the moment (or so I thought) it wasn't until I started blogging that I really started to appreciate all of the little things that make life - well - LIFE. Tripping up an escalator suddenly becomes a funny story to not only laugh about at the time - but to laugh about again and again as I share it or reread the story.

Suddenly my life went from routine to "What made TODAY different? What about TODAY is a story?" I began living in the little things - appreciating every day for what it had to offer me. No day is like the next - and even if you think you have a boring life - if you look at it through the eyes of a storyteller you start to notice things you didn't before. I want to LIVE and EXPERIENCE life to the VERY FULLEST. For ME - blogging has kept me focused on making sure my life is a fun story to tell - and an even better life to live.

the frog princess said...

I frequently write blog posts in my head while I'm riding the subway or running errands, or especially when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. Then I sit down in front of the computer (you know, when my internet is actually working) and try to write them down, and suddenly they seem less interesting or witty than they did when they were just floating around in my brain.