Loose Ends

In the last few months what began as a poetry blog seems to have devolved into a photo blog, something I hope to remedy in the next few months. I have a long list of books I want to read and an even longer list of topics I feel compelled to write about.

Personally, I find reading and taking photographs much more enjoyable than writing, which probably explains why I’ve finished several works in the last few months but haven’t written anything about them.

My attitude toward writing is similar to my feelings about working out at the gym. Succinctly put, I don’t like to do either, but I feel better after I’ve done them. After I’ve missed pilates class a time or two, either because of illness or other obligations, I dread going back. I suffer through most of the class and am often sore for the rest of the day, if not longer. When I don’t go to pilates, though, I feel much worse. My back gets sore much easier, and I don’t feel nearly as strong as I do when I go to class regularly. In other words, I exercise regularly because it makes it possible for me to do things I love to do, like walk in the woods, along a beach, or hike in the mountains.

I generally procrastinate when I need to write, a sure sign of avoidance. Writing, particularly when I haven’t written for awhile, is as painful as coming back to pilates after an absence. Let’s face it, even when I think I know what I want to say, I have to go back and gather evidence to support my position. If I can’t find enough evidence to support my view, it gets even harder trying to resolve what I thought I thought with what I should think now that the evidence doesn’t support my initial assumption. Writing effectively is difficult. It’s much easier to just read what others’ have to say and accept their opinion. But if I want to own my ideas, writing almost becomes a necessity.

While reading exposes me to new ideas, I often don’t know exactly what I believe, what I think, until I’ve put it into my own words. The very process of expressing my ideas, defines those ideas, but it’s hard work even after all these years of writing. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine living my life based on second-hand ideas and beliefs.

One of the reasons I’ve continued this blog through its many manifestations is because it has made me keep thinking, and writing, just as teaching forced me to adjust my ideas to a constantly changing world. Just believing there’s someone else out there who shares my beliefs or wants to know what I think has given me the motivation to keep this blog going for eight long years, that and knowing that I might never write again if I were to abandon this blog.

The rain has settled in here in the Pacific Northwest with the first winter storm expected over the next few days. It’s a good time to get caught up on some long overdue writing, so I hope to wind up my discussion of Nikki Giovanni’s Collected Poem’s, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Merril Gilfillan’s Rivers And Birds, and various other short works, not necessarily in that order.

And if a sunny day should accidentally break up the seven days of predicted rain, I might even have a few photos.

7 thoughts on “Loose Ends

  1. loren – i’ve enjoyed this blog through those incarnations that have appeared over the last couple of years. it’s a work of art regardless of its content. it’s the author who makes this work! steven

  2. What Steven said!

    You may think it is all loose ends, but your voice and vision throughout the years here brings a sharp and constant shape.

    And, yes, writing is difficult. Maddeningly so. Sometimes, the only thing worse is not writing.

  3. Much of what you write could apply to me too, Loren, with a few alterations. I love to write and feel the need to write on my blog every day – it is a kind of discipline. But with my textile art I assemble the materials, think about it and then do any avoidance thing I can so that I don;t have to actually start.
    Thanks for the comment on my poem – you are absolutely right – a poem has to stand on its own and I wish now that I had not giving the introduction and explanation – I tried looking at the poem with fresh eyes after reading your comment and without the introduction I would certainly have changed quite a few things. Thanks again for making me think!

  4. I enjoyed reading this post, Loren – hearing about your struggles with writing, the rewards you get from it and the motivations behind it. I think this will strike a chord with many writers and would-be-writers.

  5. Just yesterday I was thinking about Tess of the D’Urbervilles and wondering if you planned to getting back to writing about it.

    The summer this year was made for photography and reading — the best Northwest Washington summer I’ve seen since moving here in 1974! And your blog documented it beautifully, along with your travels to California and Eastern Washington.

    Today started out with dark clouds to the east, but by noon the entire sky was deep blue. Now, the late afternoon autumn light is sublime, even as the clouds roll in.

    My blog is approaching three years old. I feel the way you do, that keeping my blog going keeps me connected to others whose creativity and insight enriches my life. I wonder where I will be when my blog is eight years old. For one thing, I’ll be 65!

  6. If I hadn’t already made an appointment to have the oil changed in my car I would certainly been out enjoying that sunshine, am.

    Strangely enough, I noticed the clouds myself. They were fabulous, almost like Colorado clouds.

What do you think?