Thursday, January 14, 2010
About The Blogging Experience
Good morning. Let me tell you a story today. This is a short story. Well, it's not really a story, but it is short by the fact that it isn’t too many pages. I really don’t know the definition of what the literary community calls a short story. People actually go to classes to learn how to write. They study techniques. They study styles. I’m sure they are given parameters as to what constitutes a short story. They write fiction and learn about how to develop characters. They learn to write non fiction.
I guess I don’t get it. When you go to a class to learn to write, you learn from a person who is teaching the class and that person has a way of thinking about writing. I suppose there are instructors out there that will identify a students style and guide them that way, but I don't believe this to be the norm. You usually learn that instructor's ideas and style and way of developing characters, etc. If the instructor uses a text book, then you are learning the ideas from that particular text book the way the instructor interprets them. And how do you learn to write non fiction? I mean, the truth. Learn to write it? It is the truth. It should, or maybe could, only be written one way.
When the teacher of a class uses examples to show different ideas, it would seem to me that you are being told what is good or bad as far as writing is concerned. Not everyone likes the writing of every author. Not every author is the greatest writer that ever wrote. Every work published is not “good” writing and those that weren’t published are “bad”. Like beauty, I think it is in the “eye” of the beholder.
And there are so many things that dictate that as well. You may like the writing but you hate the subject or story or plot. So, I ask the question then. What is writing? What makes it good? What separates the piece or book or short story from the others and makes it be called writing? And even if it’s called writing by the pundits, what are their credentials? Why is their opinion important? Why are we listening to them? Did we seek them out? Or did some publisher or TV station decide who we will listen to?
On blog writing, if you hear a favorable comment about the writing from someone you know and respect, then that is held in much higher esteem than a comment about the writing from someone you don’t know very well and might not respect as much. At least I think that’s how it goes. If I really think about this and have a completely open mind and am receptive and genuinely honest with every comment, then this might not be the case, but being brutally honest with myself, I’d sure pay much more attention to a favorable comment from someone I knew rather than a comment about how crappy my writing is from a stranger.
The internet is a fascinating phenomenon. A person, with no taught skills other than to know how to speak and therefore write what they would be speaking, can write. There is endless reading here on the world wide web. Sometimes, I will click on a name that I see has commented on a blog that I read and comment on. I get to their blog, or blogs, and have a look. My list of blogs I want to go back to and I have saved in my favorites file is longer than my side bar! Some great stuff out there.
But that’s the thought behind this post. Everyone can’t see the same thing in every blog. Seems that if it is interesting to you, then it is good. If not, then you don’t return.
On line, you can read and write to your hearts content. Each individual that reads it will judge what you wrote in some manner. If you are a Democrat and someone writes politically charged piece against the Democrats, you would have a tendency not to like the writer, yet did you judge or look at the actual writing? The story line? The way the words were put together? Was the writing good but the subject terrible because it was a slap in the face about your political party? Just sayin’, or better yet, askin’ myself this question. Maybe I’ve already answered it.
If people judge what you wrote and categorize it as “good”, they might tell others about what you’ve written and send readers to your site or to where your writing can be seen and read. This could happen to “bad” writing if even a very small minority thought it was “good”.
And that’s where I draw the line. This good or bad stuff. What is good to one is bad to another. What is funny to one is not to another. What is writing to one is not worthy of the title to another. And so on and so forth.
A friend of mine had a blog. I met him a little over three years ago. He is an amateur photographer and he would spend many a day driving around and taking pictures. He’d post them, usually with little or no captioning, and put them in a place that was called a blog. A notebook of the pictures he took.
I heard about his blog and I went to see the pictures. I heard about it through word of mouth from a local person who knew him. I met him shortly after and started to regularly visit his blog. I liked seeing the pictures of the area where I lived and I told him so. He told me that anyone could have a blog. At his suggestion, I started a blog and it included writing stories and tales of my then frequent traveling adventures.
I write stories about life’s personal experiences. I write opinions, usually my own. I write thoughts and emotions. I post pictures and caption them and tell the reader/observer where and what the picture represents. I have had the honor and luxury of people telling me they liked this or that story or article. I’ve also had the heartbreak of people who once came to my site often and now ignore me. No one has ever told me, “That article was a piece of crap and I started reading it, but it was so bad I didn’t finish it”. I’ve never said that to anyone either, but I have thought those thoughts. I accept that they have been thought of my writing and probably me as well.
I sure have read some stuff that I didn’t want to read. I honestly can say that if I don’t like the subject, I don’t read it. By don’t like the subject, that could mean I don’t agree with the author’s opinions, remarks or ideas, or it just doesn’t interest me. But people do matter to me. It’s the people behind it all that are important to me. The social aspect.
It also could mean that I am not familiar with a subject and just don’t want to become familiar with it now. I don’t always look at what was written and assess whether it was good writing or not. Then again, I’m not a pundit or someone that a publisher hired to tell you what you should consider as “good” or “bad” writing.
All this to say that there is no good or bad. About writing, about life. If someone pushed over a trash can and littered debris all over the street and a passerby grabbed him by the collar and made him pick up every speck of it while slapping him, someone who was watching the ordeal would say the enforcement was “good”. A non violent peace activist would deem it as “bad” because of the violence. Maybe a whole different set of people would applaud or put down the action if the person had a pierced nose and a Mohawk hairdo.
Good and bad, good and evil. Wet or dry. Black or white. Funny or sad. Open or closed. Up or down. And everywhere in between any of these about everything in general and nothing in particular. I’m just sayin’.
When I write, I place myself at a table in front of someone. That someone is me and I am talking to me. Not talking to myself, but rather talking to me as someone other than myself. And I talk, write, as if I am speaking what I have to say to someone that is listening to me. And that listening is how I would listen. When I am finished and I read through what I have written, I then read it as I read things. I am my own judge and I decide if the finished piece is acceptable. If it is good or bad.
I worked many jobs in my life. Many as a cook. One time I was doing cooking for a group that was shooting a music video and had to provide lunch for the production crew and cast. I was asked to make a dish I don’t like to eat and therefore don’t make. But I made it. Most everyone liked it as far as I could see, but it was very hard to make something I didn’t like to eat. It would be very hard for me to write about something I don’t like to write about. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that. I really have to think about it.
So there you have it. Your writing is good by the way. And you’re a good reader, too. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
This photo was taken in 1998 when my first Grand daughter was born. I've been looking at old photographs lately and as Winter projects might go, I'm scanning them into digital images.
Peace to all.