The Baggage Of This Woman's History
Friday Minutes this week truly does arrive from the train again. If you missed Recycled Recipes this week, it returns next week. So excited! In the meantime, Minutes (like my grandma used to take in church… kind of).
When blogging, you’re always combing for ideas; pricks in the batch of life, the thread at the end of a dress. I realized after doing it for 10 years, it was, for better or worse, seeing the world differently. I was never the kind of blogger that created content for posts—that never sat well. My approach, however unsuccessful or successful, was based around these threads and pricks. It was the work of constantly spinning things on top of its head in a way I once thought I may not have, if I did not return to an internet space with my very own name on it.
No matter the lows or the highs, blogging taught me about consistency. It taught me about showing up and watching something new take shape. Or as my friend Casey reminded me yesterday; it taught me how to wait for the transformation. Even if I did not write it, the process taught me the power in mulling things over, sitting with them, and seeing if they returned to me. Much like meditation. Or possibly, in the task of living presently. Without urgency. Albeit, *busy. Although my blog no longer subsists, the return of the rerun—the creative mind in that way, is more real than ever.
Every so often, I bounce back and forth, to and from my book-writer self, though. She is much slower, and would rather dig and dig. My mind becomes an intense match of table tennis. There is a space in the middle where the ball gets caught in the net, unabashedly finding comfort in the polyethylene and polyester, until of course, it eventually finds its way to one end.
When folks comment on the stretch of my writing as a long time follower, a self appears that has not quite found its ground. A self that is somewhere still in the pages of my book, trying to see if she likes it in this world. If the sound of this tone fulfills her, captures her words, or thrusts her into the cycle of life that we are currently spinning in, properly. We are all existing in multitudes. And wow, it’s strange to have it appear in creative dialogues.
Instead of writing to you last night, I began to read Suleika Jaouad’s newest advice column, wherein a reader expresses her longing to tell her story. Suleika’s response was long, easy and complicated at once. She harkened back to the writers before us who have laid out this issue in words and the meat of storytelling. How does one not betray themselves or betray others in their writing of a situation that multiple characters exist in? I have found while writing the book, this truth exists mostly in distance. Space from the pages. Space from the person. Space from the events. Space, I use that word here in so many interactions…. Variations. Space, from it all. Suleika notes greats like Joan Didion, and looks to Glennon Doyle, whose words have regenerated through my mind nearly each morning as I wake; “Make sure you're sharing from your scars, not your open wounds.”
Afterall, it was my insistent read of The Year Of Magical Thinking, the same year the blog “blew up” that supported this preoccupation.
“The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up.”
It has been nearly a year since I’ve blogged anything, and before that little post, much longer. But when a new friend went to look for this letter, the blog was the first to come up when she googled my name (along with photos from events etc). I’ve kept the space relatively, “open” although it's closed. I’ve left it, amongst the internet debris to be kicked up once my name is plugged in, or maybe someone thinks of an idea that is connected to that long-standing SEO. When blogger Grace Bonney of Design * Sponge said so long, the discord around what to do with her buoyant space was extensive. She mentioned the costs to run it (I am familiar). She mentioned the amount of information (I am too familiar). She mentioned the nine years of its life (also, very familiar). Eventually, noting her own lack of income, Grace was able to precure donated funds to keep the site’s information intact, and also, have it archived in the Library of Congress. Back then, I found this radical. Historic, even. What stuck out to me though, was Grace’s assertion she could not bear the financial burden of carrying the website. And maybe, having it live-on as internet debris. I assumed then, as I think now, that it was also the emotional tie to it being open that forced Grace’s hand in truly “shutting the doors.”
Last week, I received my monthly alert from my friendly bank account, reminding me of the cost of hosting the blog with over a decade of information. Two days later was when I met that new friend, who quickly stumbled on that site (and now follows this letter because of my nudge). I suppose as I ride the train upstate again (I know, right) just for the day, I am thinking of why I’ve been slow to shut it down FOR REAL. It is in fact like someone died, and left the room as if they’ll return one day. As if I’ll return one day. I won’t.
Part of the transition and transformation is also in coming to terms with the wealth of time and energy put into that space. So much so, it has nearly become an at-times cringe-worthy CV of sorts. I suppose the question that I’m asking myself and you too, as the train nearly enters into the station this morning, is why am I, we, why are women (mostly) in the business of holding on to their work as worth?
There’s an undoubted history here to unpack that is important this Women’s History Month. In my effort to transform, am I slightly clinging to the baggage of that decade? I am not sure what it means for my work. Or for me. Or for women. Or for writers. But that’s where I am this morning.
Maybe next month the blog host won’t ping me for payment, as if to remind me of what I’ve left behind?
Happy Women’s History Month!
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