Pity the writers hunched over keyboards, racked with longing and loneliness.
The other day a blogger I like urged readers to comment on a blog — hers, yours, anyone’s.
"But surely," she wrote, "someone else out there is writing by themselves and wondering, Does anyone care?"
It seemed at first sweet, this request for affirmation, and then sad. And then familiar.
A few months ago, one of my favorite writer-bloggers expressed her fatigue. “If you love something on the internet, say so," she wrote, "or it might disappear.”
I nod. Because we're sad, because we're hungry.
Blogs are dead! Are blogs dead? We’re having this debate, again. Email is dead. Conversation is dead. Books are back?
No one talks anymore, and yet everyone talks too much.
If blogs are waning, have we finally tired of talking about ourselves? Or, more likely, we’ve tired of reading about others talking about themselves.
And yet, everyone is writing a memoir, sharing on Facebook, offering images on Instagram. All show, all tell, all the time. And I’ve fed this fever. For years in writing workshops I’ve urged people to tell their story. What’s your story? I ask. Only you can tell it.
And now we’ve got a saturation of self.
I’m tired of the “I.”
"I" leads the way.
And “I” am guilty. It’s tough to get through a page, a blog, a dinner, without the bigmouth I.
We’re shouting to be heard. We, as in me. As in, you too?
Blogging, by its nature, involves the “I.” And super hits of self: I am a writer, and here’s what I’m thinking, feeling, doing . . .
But it’s not about me. Is it?
But creating — writing, painting, photography — involves the “I”: I saw this. I felt this. I interpret the world (and myself) through that act of making.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes).
- Walt Whitman
Song of Myself
Are blogs over? Most of my writing peers have left the room. Did they return to their own private toil, and now keep their trials and triumphs to themselves?
Who can blame them? In fact, let’s laud them! They know the recipe for art: quietitude, introspection, imagination.
The inner conversation hums and turns, reaches a pressure and, when we're lucky, tumbles out as poem, story, painting. Something essential emerges, something larger and more meaningful than me and I.
At some point you grow weary of sharing your scrapes and scars. You pack for a long trip, prepare for a solo drive, close the door, and start the car.
Are we there yet?