I have finally
joined the twenty-first century. I
am officially on Facebook. I have
resisted this for a while, but after hearing my husband talk about all the old
names and faces he’d come across, I have to admit my curiosity got the better
of me. I still haven’t figured it
all out, but I’ve run across more people than I might have imagined, and I even
found a long-lost friend who’s been on mind for months now.
Part of what’s great about it is the ability to briefly touch
base with lots of people all on one page.
Of course, that’s the scary part too. Basically, our lives are reduced to tiny snippets here and
there, boxes that list our favorite books and one-liners that describe what we
are doing at any given moment. I
haven’t seen some of the people who are currently looking at my profile for
nearly 20 years, and all they’ll really find out about me is that I love To
Kill a Mockingbird and I run a lot. Maybe I’m just overanalyzing this, but
it does make me begin to take note of what I’m writing. How will this be perceived? Who will be offended by this flippant
remark? Who will not understand
the joke and who will completely misunderstand me? It is these thoughts that bring out my inner editor.
Editors are great. I am one so I tend to be in favor of them; however, when does
an editor need to step aside and let a writer’s voice come through? This blog, or whatever it is on any
given day, is another project that constantly has me struggling with my inner
editor. Sometimes I’m struck by a
brilliant idea, but by the time my inner Eyeore has had her way, I’ve reduced
the brilliant idea to something less offensive, bizarre, profane, embarrassing,
personal, etc. I’ve often entertained
the thought of telling my friends and family that I’ve dropped the online
journal altogether and then writing one in secret under another domain
name. Rob says that sort of
defeats the purpose, but it only does so partially. Yes, I want people to read my work, but I also write for my
own self-preservation, and sometimes that writing is a pile of ranting,
preaching, illogical nonsense that is as much for me as it is for any audience
I might have no matter how meager.
So if I come off as preachy (Don’t shop at Wal-mart.) or
self-righteous (My children grow their own vegetables.), don’t take it too
personally. Most of the time,
these “essays” or journal entries are just an example of one writer trying to
make sense of her own thoughts and to occasionally craft a beautiful sentence
or two. Maybe that’s why I’m also
struggling with my journal’s “theme.”
After all, isn’t something like this supposed to be organized and
written in a format that appeals to a clearly defined audience? Well… maybe, but for me, that’s just
another way of reducing my life to snippets, to little boxes that expand just
enough for a few interesting tidbits.
I could analyze my audience
(Are they moms, runners, teachers, coaches, hippies, Christians,
struggling writers?), and I could find my niche, but life can so rarely be
pigeonholed like that, and we are more than a mold chosen from a set of just a
So I guess I’m saying that I don’t really know what defines
me on any particular day, at least not what I could sum up in 800 words or
less, and that’s the beauty of it.
We don’t have to constantly edit ourselves. Life is not a perfect draft with an outline. It’s a scribbled in, sometimes angry,
sometimes funny, sometimes boring journal with lots of curli-cues and hearts
drawn in the margins.