I am not blogging. I am not sharing my thoughts throughout the day. My fleeting opinions about breaking news, the state of American education, the mysterious textures of love and the decline of literature are adequate for dinner-table conversation, but hardly worth taking up anyone’s bandwidth. I have Facebook. I have Twitter. If I have 140 characters-worth to communicate, I know what to do.
Lately, I’ve been writing essays.
Neil Fein of Magnificent Nose did me an enormous favor about two months ago, without realizing it. He asked me (along with several other people we attended college with) if we’d like to contribute to his new blog. I said yes over ice cream sundaes at Thomas Sweet in New Brunswick and immediately regretted it.
1) It was now an obligation. I had given my word.
2) I had a million ideas for Neil’s blog, which means, in practice, having no ideas.
3) I have been trying to write a novel and didn’t want to spend any of my extremely limited writing time working on anything else.
A week later, I got inspired to write an essay about the difficulty of finding creative time in a busy life. I stole 20 minutes from some other aspect of my life and wrote what turned out to be An Actual Essay, the first I’d written in years, entitled “The Turret.” I decided to submit it to Brainchild instead of to Neil, and now I’d compounded my problem: I had taken the time to write an essay, but I still didn’t have anything for the Magnificent Nose.
Brainchild rejected it (nicely), and I’ve sent it to HipMama, who will probably also reject it, and then I’ll turn it over to the Nose, but that could still take weeks, and the guilt was killing me. So I took the notes I’d been making about my nine years’ experience doing professionally what some people consider a crime: throwing out books. That essay, “I Can’t Believe You’re Throwing Out Books!” will be online at Magnificent Nose on Monday, and cross-posted here.
I’m still trying to work on my novel every night, but the things I feel like saying these days seem to like being said in an essay. It’s their fault. But I have Neil to thank: because of him, I’ve written two essays in a month.
But I am certainly not going to waste perfectly good Internet space telling you what I think about Newt Gingrich’s intellectual sleight-of-hand as a political strategy that has failed before and will fail this time,too, in spite of his intelligence and all he’s learned since he resigned as Speaker. Oh, no. I’ll leave that up to the bloggers.