Monday, January 18, 2016

Excelsior! (All over again)

Ten years ago today I committed myself publicly to packing this space with "curly little shavings from the wood block of my mind," determined to "venture ever onward and upward until the St. Bernards come to save us" (read it here). It's been a fun ten years, but what kind of fool would keep running up a frozen mountain waving a little sign that says Excelsior when so many others have laid down their banners and taken to tweeting? Or, to put the question more bluntly, why do I keep doing this? And when do I plan to quit?

Today would be a great day to quit, to wrap this all up with a neat little bow after a good solid ten years, but I find that I can't. Call me addicted, obsessive, compulsive, or bewitched, bothered, and bewildered, but I keep coming up with just one more thing to write and I can't quit until I send that one last bit of excelsior to fluttering into the ether, and then the next one, and then the next. And so herewith I present (not than anyone asked) an abecedary of reasons I can't stop blogging, with links!

Anger arrests creativity, but writing transmutes anger into something more manageable.

Birds flutter overhead and disappear, but not before leaving marks of peace all over this space.

Conference sessions become much more enjoyable when I'm puzzling over ways to transmute their leaden language into gold. 

Daisies keep pushing their way through the thin, rocky soil of my front garden, and if they insist on arriving utterly unbidden, the least I can do is share their loveliness with others.

Excuses to avoid writing arrive with regularity, but this space demands words, nags until I can't say no.

Found poetry pops out of student papers, slithers through academic essays, or creeps into correspondence, but disappears if not shared.

Grading big piles of student papers can make my brain as functional as dryer lint, but taking a little blogging break turns that fluff into fun.

Humor lubricates life's harsh realities, so I'm happy when I can make bitter medicine a little easier to swallow.

If you don't want to read cute grandbaby stories, go read something that delves deeply into politics or economic injustice or literary theory; I'll just sit here on the floor with a toddler and a tub of Play-Doh and share the joy of grandparenting. (Care to join us? Plenty of room for us all!)

Juicy figs, tender eggplants, red ripe tomatoes emerge from my garden, bringing deep colors and delicious flavors into my otherwise dull existence, and it's nice to share!

Kicking cancer's butt is a task best undertaken alongside a dedicated posse, such as the community I've encountered through this site, whose encouragement I will always treasure.

Life in the slow lane can be duller than watching a muskrat carcass rot, but wrapping words around the mundane dullness ameliorates its stink. 

Metaphors make the unspeakable more manageable, but when I wrote a post about the helpful air-conditioning repairdude who made my house bearable by replacing a capacitor, I had no idea that a few months later he'd be permanently incapacitated due to a drug overdose. (Where's the repairperson for that problem?)

Nonsense surrounds me, piling higher and deeper until I have to shove some into this space just to get it out from underfoot.

Onward implies steady progress, but I tend to travel in fits and starts, punctuating long periods of immobility with sudden swoopings into unknown terrain--and when my travels bring me face-to-face with limpkins or Russians or invisible chickens, something compels me to write it down.

Poetry pleases me in ways I can't quite put into words, whether I'm reading great poetry or scribbling derivative doggerel, but since I have trouble getting anyone in ordinary life to join in all my language games, I'll happily play with my imaginary friends.

Questions dog my days, yapping at me at inopportune times and even demanding attention in the middle of the night. Kenneling the questions here quiets them down.

Reading books is a solitary pleasure, but writing about books multiplies the joy.

Students! They make me laugh, they make me cry, they make me want to tear out my hair, but the time I spend with them is such a gift that I would feel selfish if I didn't share.  

Technology may sometimes serve as a barrier to effective communication, but blogging has opened a door to interesting people I might never have encountered outside this space.

Useful advice for academic writers is worth sharing, even if I wouldn't expect many professors to follow my circuitous path.

Venting strong emotion here provides a safety valve so it doesn't bubble over and make a big burned-on mess all over the place.

Words flutter like butterflies inside my head, demanding that I let them out to fly and play freely.

X marks the spot where a car flipped into our creek, disturbing our peace for more than just one night, but when disaster hits, crafting a blog post helps sequester the pain. 

Yes, I'm a very busy person who probably ought to be doing something more important with my limited time, but everyone has to relax somehow and I prefer blogging to bowling.

Zucchini: a blessing and a burden, but having friends with whom to share the excess makes the world a little more delicious.

And that's my goal here: gather together the random bits of stuff scattered around on the ground and share it with anyone interested to help sustain us on our trip up the big, steep, icy mountain. Excelsior! 

(And if the zucchinis run out, we can hold hands and wait for the St. Bernards to bound up carrying zucchinis strapped under their shaggy chins.) 




Bardiac said...

I'm glad you're not quitting!

Anonymous said...

when I started to read your blog I almost panicked
. I look forward to reading it and enjoy learning about things I never would be exposed to otherwise. I know I don't always respond, but keep going. I love it. mar

radagast said...

I agree. Please don't stop!

Bev said...

Thanks, all. I have to remind myself periodically that I can quit at any time, but this is not that time.

JaneB said...

What a joyous, word-filled gallivant of a post! Thank you for sharing (I'm a scientist, I work with scientists, and word play and poetry are regarded with indulgence or suspicion, but no pleasure, by the people I spend my days with and ignored by the cat I live with. I need my invisible, imaginary, realer-than-real bloggy community to remind me my kind of childish suspiciousness is not mine alone).

Here's to the next ten!

Bev said...

More joyful gallivanting: I'll drink to that!