Monday, January 08, 2007

Writing into an Unknown Silence

This is a peculiar feeling: writing into a large electronic balloon, where my words are like molecules circulating and bumping up against billions of other molecules. Since I'm not getting any comments, I wonder if I could write virtually anything and virtually no one would notice. An interesting take on audience: there could be somebody out there, or maybe no one. Sort of like God.

I'm thinking about how I used to write. I have the gift of one specific moment when something became clear to me. I was about 14 and we were living in a rickety parsonage in Blissfield, Ohio. I was often alone in that time of my life, and it was a condition which did not upset me -- I liked the possibilities within my solitude. Anyway, I was sitting at a little desk on the second floor of the house, and I remember a milky daylight filtering in a window to my left. I was writing in a notebook. I never called it a diary -- diaries were for more trivial pursuits, I suppose I thought. Anyway, a moment surged up in which I said to myself, "I want to write. I want to be a writer." I was so sure that was what I wanted to do that a brief, euphoric ecstasy washed over me.

I've never made it "big" and my life has taken many twists and turns: I have not had the intense focus required, probably, to make this my only life's work. I'm not the best there is and even now, as I feel my age nick away at my energies, I feel unrealized and in need of more practice. But by far it is the clearest and most consistent professional moment of my life, and it was exhilarating.


The Cat Bastet said...

I know what you mean about comments. I hardly ever get any on my blog, but when I do it's so thrilling!

Occassionally friends, students, or collegues will mention something I've written on my blog, but it comes up in conversation, not as a reader comment. So, rest assured, you do have readers even if they are silent.

If you are really curious, you can use Site Meter ( to see who has been reading your blog. I set it up originally because I was curious about how many hits my blog was getting and later discovered how much info I could see about visitors.

Regardless, I decided long ago that even if my intended audience (family, friends, colleagues, students) ever read it I would keep writing. I realized I blog for the fun of writing and audience feedback is just a bonus.

Keep writing! :)

Macy Swain said...

Thanks, Cathy! I appreciate your response. Like you, I think I too returned to the blog for the fun of writing...but it's cool to find ONE comment there from time to time -- especially from a treasured colleague.