Monday, November 16, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog . . .

Blogspot, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo . . . What's a person who grew up in the last of the typewriter era to do? I'm not sure if I'm really a blogger. . . and my followers are probably convinced that I certainly ain't. What I'd like to do, since I don't really journal any more, is use it as a sort of open journal. Think in words a bit and if anyone wants to snoop in case I say something amazing, or amazingly stupid, well okay, have at. That way, whether I'm actually writing great fiction or not, at least, I'm keeping the writing muscle excercised.

Writing for me is easier once I've got a story roughed out. I could whittle, paste, and polish almost indefinately. It's the early days that are the hardest when every line seems barely worth putting down, the story is worthless, and my personal troll is huge on my shoulder yelling all this unhelpful derision in a cracked voice, spittle flying all over the keyboard, breath scented with rotten mackerel, into my ear. It's fairly painful.

July sorta got away on me. August as well. I got offered a job teaching a drawing class at Alfred State College and spent much of that month studying up and freaking out. Then the class actually started and I've been trying to stay one jump ahead of my students, feeling like a twenty-one year old newbie teacher when I'm actually three and a half decades older than that. Well isn't it nice to feel young and foolish again!

The truth is that I have met and gotten to know forty-eight eighteeen-year-olds who delight, disarm, and amaze me every time we meet. They walk all over me and then come through with gestures of integrity, thought, and lord have mercy--drawings! I think some of them may have actually learned a bit about how to apply pencil or charcoal to paper. I hope I've helped some get over fears that they are not the next DaVinci, and I hope my DaVincis--and there are several of them--have found it worthwhile. There have been a few days of frustration, but many more days of exhileration, challenge, and fun. Next semester, it's figure drawing, and yes, some of them will be naked (the figures, not the students) and maybe some will be male, and maybe some will be less than perfect physical specimens of the human race.

Meanwhile, somehow in the past year, I actually (let's see, what are some good synonyms for "wrote"? Coughed out? Spewed? Vomited? Bled? Birthed? Ripped out of my Viscera?) . . . Well, where once there was nothing, blank paper, empty disc space, for three long years since Wind Rider, there is now In the Shelter of the Sky, a second generation companion novel. Maybe it is not the season's next best seller. It's not even sold. Not even read by anyone but me yet. The market has gone upside down. But it's part of me, and it's here. And actually--I love it.

On the homefront, the sweet little puppy of six months ago, Georgie, killed or drove off to the foxes her first chicken the other day and mauled Charlie, the rooster. He seems to be recovering and hopefully the chicken master is wiser. Now we know that Georgie may not look all that much like a Jack Russell, but she definately has the soul of one. And we need a new hen.

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