At a writing conference this past April, I joined a discussion group for bloggers.
Participants were mostly men and women with self-published novels, who blogged to promote them. An air of earnestness surrounded their debates on this technological "necessity."
"I heard you should blog every three days, so I try to do that," said one.
"I do, too, but it's hard to think of things to write," said another with a sigh.
"What's a blog?" asked another. I think she had the wrong room.
At one point I interrupted to offer an impassioned speech. "We write because we desire it, not because it's the thing to do!"
A woman, who earlier had referred to me as "the wrestler," nodded in agreement. The others looked back down at their handouts, I suppose to continue reading "Top Ten Things Every Writer Should Do."
Every three days or so I write a blog post, but not because anybody's telling me to. When a little mini-essay begins to form itself in my head, I sit down with it; not every passing thought of mine gets to appear online, though at times it may appear that way.
Lately, I've written a lot about weightlifting, with occasional forays into boxing. Those were thoughts that needed to get out, but I must say I feel as if I'm turning into a big meathead. Like, I used to have interesting things to say, but now I'm all about lactic acid and whether a heavy bag filled with sand, water, or air would be the best purchase.
The experience of exercise is a full-bodied one, activating the mental as well as the physical. At times, the physical can reset the mental: You feel more alive.
And yet...there is still work to be done after you've pumped extra endorphins through your brain.
On a few occasions I've played personal trainer: went to a friend's house, carried in some weights, taught some exercises. Teaching exercise is quite similar to leading theatre games, and yet I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. The "aha moment" of exercise--feeling a muscle contraction--is nothing like what I'd get with my Theatre of the Oppressed exercises, which provoke heavy discussions on important matters.
But summer is breezy, light, and sunny, you're saying to yourself. Summer reads should match this vibe. No need for heavy stuff to weigh us down.
All these hot dogs on the grill, and I'd like a steak, please. With onions.
Summer here is full with the quotidian details of family life. Parenting is full-time work, especially during these months, and I have not tended to the essay that an online publication wants me to rewrite. I have ignored the piles of papers comprising the guts of my book manuscript, which an agent would like to see in finished form. Hence my empty-headed feeling.
I haven't stopped reading; books have kept me grounded, on the beach and out of the water, as it were. But I'm still in the beach chair, and feeling the need to fold that baby up, sit somewhere solid, and discuss things that matter.
Anybody up for that, three days hence?