Wednesday, January 18, 2006

On writing and not writing and the not written

Remind me that drinking a beer when you're already exhausted is not conducive to writing. I had every intention last night of starting on dissertation chapter one. But as I sipped beer and read blogs, my eyes got heavier and heavier. It wasn't even 9 o'clock! I did do some reading and I will begin writing this afternoon or this evening. Sometimes not writing is a good thing.

Over the weekend, I submitted an essay to She's Such a Geek. It wasn't the best essay on the planet; I don't think I spent enough time on it. I'm not really a good judge of my own writing. Basically, I usually think it all sucks. When I go back to something I wrote years ago, I have one of two reactions: 1) oh my god, that's awful; I can't believe I wrote that; or 2) wow, that's good; I'm sure I didn't write that; I must have been channeling someone who can write. As I was writing my essay, which I had started a few weeks ago, I thought about all the different directions I could go in. There's a reason people often use thread metaphors when talking about writing. I felt like I had a million threads and I was trying to make yarn or a tapestry or something. Yes, spinning a yarn. Eventually, you have to what color it will be and what pattern it will take. Some threads get left out, perhaps never to be made into yarn. Those threads, though, stick with you, maybe even haunt you. I find that they sometimes find their way into pieces I hadn't thought they belonged in, kind of like seeing the shock of gold thread in a scarf.

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I began to think about how to begin the first chapter and a pattern began to emerge. I began to see the threads that I might try to pull together into something beautiful and useful. But I also know that some of those threads will be cut, left in the remants pile. I can't help thinking that maybe they'll show up somewhere. Maybe that's what this blog is, a place to put those remnants. I'm not sure. I hate to see them go to waste.