Risky Pursuits

Nearly a month ago I spent a day lazing about in a hotel room in Bend, Oregon. My husband and son left me there, at my request, while they ventured off to find various holes and cracks in the ground. Their idea of a great time is descending beneath the earth and shining beams on frigid rock formations while hiking lightless hours to reach tiny, collapsed passages they must squeeze through on their stomachs so they can hopefully navigate back out, reach daylight and announce, "That was cool."

Forced into languidity, I made the best of it with a Jacuzzi bath and gorgeous Descutes River views. I read an excellent short story by Kerry Neville Bakken in the Summer Issue of Glimmer Train Stories. Then I walked a long while outside in sun-cured, sage-scented Central Oregon breezes before returning to make notes about writing and blogging.

It's important, I reminded myself that day, to let writing be and not be.
Let it not be:
  1. a taskmaster
  2. a list of rules
  3. a five-year plan
  4. about managing risk
  5. practical
  6. boxed-in
  7. my religion

Let it be:
  1. wobbly
  2. uncertain
  3. difficult
  4. risky
  5. a teacher
  6. fun!
  7. a gift

Blogging, I'm coming to see, is more about myself than about writing. Like journaling, it helps me process ideas, record events in my life and so on. It is a good practice space, an arena in which I attempt to show off at little expense. Here I can dream, pretending I'm a celebrity, just as I do within the "hard" pages of my journal.

The main difference here is someone may read what I've blogged the day I compose it, whereas my journal entries will only be perused by others (if at all) someday after I'm gone.

In the world of my journal, I am the celebrity. In the real world, celebrity for me is pretense. It's not who I am. I need never get wrapped up in blogging--it's playing at being a writer, rather than writing. A risk lurks in keeping a blog that is absent from journal-keeping: here I risk pursuing my own vanity, as if that were worthwhile.

Mulling over such issues this week, I read a blog entry by my much-younger-yet-growing-in-wisdom friend Erin Julian. She speaks well here regarding how vanity pretty much can't be dismissed from creative endeavors such as blogging, web-design and posting photographs, even when we're aware of our humanly sinful segments and are doing our best to have fun with our gifts, as God intends.

I may recognize desires for adulation and bury them far from sunlight, like ancient, lava-swirled boulders beneath an Oregon desert. Their reality, however, does not mean I must sigh and give up creative, writing-related hobbies like blogging. Life's pathway is strewn with reminders, cave-bound or not, of our darker, godhood-seeking selves. The big question is whether I make excuses for the bad chunks or strive to move beyond them, crying to my only Source of help when hopelessly stuck in a tiny passage.

I plan to blog at present when it serves me, and not the other way around. How to structure my time better (since it takes a while to try and express these tirades and rhapsodies pleasingly) is something I must learn and will gladly accept advice on from experienced ones who might stumble by. But more than blogging, I want to write. To be a writer, not a Writer. And that's fuel for another day's post.


Erin Julian said…
Wow, Deanna! What an excellent post. You said exactly what I was trying to except better. :D Thanks for joining the conversation.
Deanna said…
You're welcome. Thanks for your thoughts. Take care in all your travels.

Anonymous said…

You might check out www.necessarylies.blogspot.com

...a blog dedicated to Kerry Neville Bakken's new book of short stories.

Glad to see you enjoyed it.

Deanna said…
Thanks, CB. I saw the blog, and I'll check amazon.com for the book.

Are you Mr. Bakken, the poet?
bakkenpoet said…
I am "Mr. Bakken, the poet," though I prefer Christopher.

Here I am shamelessly promoting my wife's book, which is in print and is getting good reviews in all quarters.

Thanks for reading (what would we writers do without readers?).


Christopher Bakken