Blogging, Journaling, and Reading

Well, that worked! Here’s why.

I dislike the act of writing. It doesn’t feel good. After I’ve been at it a while I feel like I’m swallowing myself. You know the way the water spins around and around before it goes down the drain, usually with that schlurping, sucky sound at the last? That’s what I get to feeling like inside while I’m putting the words together on the page (or screen). The more I write, the further back into myself I go. It’s isolating. And the truth is that I have the fear I might not be able to find my way back out to the world and the air and the light again. The isolation is more than I can bear. It makes writing a book hard.

It’s also why journaling is not something that works for me, even though I admire the journals others manage to keep.

Blogging, however, has promise. Yes, I have to spend time putting the words together. But while I’m doing it I know that almost immediately–’immediately’ relative to writing that is–the words will be out in the world. Out there beyond my control and available for you to do with as you will. That feels good!

It feels good to know I have your company. It helps the isolation.

Now, along with the act of writing, I also dislike reading. It’s more than the fact that I spend my days proofreading reference works, macroeconomic reports, and textbooks. Like writing, the act of reading doesn’t feel good to me. I feel invaded, intruded upon, and manipulated. I don’t like the sense of the words going into me.

Proofreading is different. When I proofread, I’m telling the words what to do. I’m standing outside, detached, giving them orders: “Rebreak yourself!” “Align left!” “You. Switch places with that guy behind you!” “Hey! Agree with your verb!” “Pronoun. Find somebody to connect to or else . . .!” It’s a constant battle. And I confess that it feeds my sense of superiority. Superiority over a bunch of black marks on a page. Internal . . . external . . . writing . . . reading . . . journaling versus blogging.

Where did such a vexed relationship to the written word come from?