Today is October 21 and it has been a while since I have posted. Blogging regularly has not been a daily thing, more like a weekly thing. And I admit, sometimes I don’t know what to write about. By nature I am a little reticient, which is why I am a poet and fiction writer and not an essayist. I am skeptical that my musings in a blog would be interesting (especially since I read so many blogs that are ho-hum) and I am uncomfortable starting too many of my sentences with “I.” Also, in j-school, the teachers always told us to take ourselves out of the reporting. It didn’t matter that Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe and gonzo journalism were all the rage, our profs told us nobody cared what the reporter thought, and this has stayed with me. Besides, fading into the background, behind the words, is an easier place to be.
Today is National Day of Writing sponsored by the National Writing Project. What? You didn’t know? Me neither, and it is the third annual celebration. The National Writing Project (NWP) is a network of sites anchored at colleges and universities and serving teachers across disciplines and at all levels, to improve writing and learning for all learners. The NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world. There are various ways to participate in the National Day of Writing. One is to submit an essay “Why I Write” which could be chosen to be published in an e-book. I suppose “Why I Write” could be the topic for this blog, but I will cheap out on that by answering simply “Because I Must.” If you are interested in National Day of Writing, click here.
Last week I cited Dana Gioa’s article “Can Poetry Matter” in The Atlantic Monthly as having a great influence on how I want to be a poet. An article that I want to mention today because it was all the buzz when it came out in The New Yorker October 20, 2008, is Malcolm Gladwell’s “Late Bloomers.” This article provided solace to many people, especially, it seems to me, those who had not achieved all their life goals but hoped to do so yet. Why don’t you read it and see what you think.
The mention of life goals makes me think of the bucket list, you know, the list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. This makes me think of the chuck-it list (also known as the fuck-it list) which comprises all the things you won’t be able to do because you are too old and so have to chuck them. For instance, I have given up any hope of winning the Yale Younger Poets Prize since I am well past the age of 40. But if you qualify to enter, you still have time as the closing date is November 15. What are you chucking?
One thing I haven’t quite been able to chuck is the idea that I could do improv because I think I’m funny, self-delusion being what it is. I just heard from Rachel Klein who writes that wonderful blog “The House that Del Built.” That prompted me to read her latest postings and to conclude once again that a lot of improv rules can be applied to life in general and that I should read this site regularly. And you might want to too.