Thursday, September 29, 2011

Return of the Intermittent Blogger

Back in the spring, I made the rash, definitive statement that I was going to quit goofing off and become a serious, disciplined writer.  I even got my husband's blessing to put concerns of earnings aside and just concentrate on learning to write as an earnest, daily habit rather than a hobby.

I put that statement out there in my blog and got many warm, positive comments.  I was feeling pretty smug about finally figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I even applied for freelance jobs to help me develop my technical abilities and to benefit from professional editing.

My 50th birthday, complete with the bustle and activity of visitors, travel and parties, occurred in early June.  Immediately after my visitors left, Eric, the girls and I went on vacation.  While relaxing, I worked on some of my unpublished essays and even got a job with one of the online sites I'd applied to (that's a story for another day).  I felt I must be in Harmony with the Universe.  Ever since I'd had that burst of inspiration to just pursue writing to the exclusion of my other half-hearted job efforts, things seemed to be falling into place.  I was on a roll.

Then my mother died.  After a few days of nursing a painful but (we thought) not life-threatening condition, she died very suddenly at the end of June.  This news was a terrible shock, made even harder by the fact that my family is 900 miles away.  Suddenly, Eric, the girls and I were traveling to Alabama to bury my mother and grieve with my many relatives back home.  The other-worldly-ness of that week was like a fog that still hasn't lifted for me.  A return trip a few weeks later also took a toll on me mentally, and I've been unable to write very much since then.

Each time I sit down to compose a post for "Polite Ravings," I start with the full intention of finishing and publishing that idea as soon as I can.  I've always had a self-defeating hesitation to click on the "publish" button, which I've described in a previous blog, but I don't start writing with that hesitation in mind.  It generally develops as I'm trying to neatly summarize my various ideas, points of logic, lesson for the day, or whatever blather I'm trying to recap.

But since my mother's death, and in the confusing aftermath, I've been unable to conclude any of my blogs.  Finishing my thoughts, tying them up with a bow and presenting them as complete and coherent ideas eludes me more than ever.  And I'm not even struggling with my self-imposed "thesis statement/supporting information/conclusion" format.  It's more basic than that.

Writing make me cry.  Writing makes me sad.  Writing makes me miss my mother.  Because if anyone on this planet wanted to see me succeed at my writing efforts, it was Momma.  And, unbeknownst to me until recently, I've been writing my blog to her and for her all along. 

Now, as I attempt to craft witty sentences, I think how she'll laugh.  I wonder if she'll notice a sneaky double entendre, referencing a subject she'd consider indecent.  I often grab the phone to call her and ask help remembering forgotten names or details for retelling a story.  I utterly failed to realize how much of my life is referential to my mother and her potential reactions.  And nowhere do I process my life and experiences more intensely than in writing about them.

But I've discovered that the key to my inability to complete a post is the fact that, in grieving my mother's death, I'm dealing with an unexpected, unplanned ending.  Momma's ending was not well thought out; she didn't tie things up neatly with a bow; she didn't get to summarize everything she thought and conclude with a nice clean ending.  Her ending was abrupt and hurried, with no chance to make everything tidy and understandable.  For some reason, this knowledge has become an obstacle to my writing process.

So I write, then I cry, then I write some more, then I break down again, then I give up and find something productive to do.  I have no idea when I'll be able to finish the entries called "Just Crown Me Now," or "The -ogs Have It," or "The Wisdom of the Queens," since they all involve Momma's deep influence on my thinking.  Interestingly, I started working on all three of those blogs before she even came to visit in June.

And I can't possibly publish some of the drivel I wrote in the early weeks after she died.  I may as well have been composing in Swahili, for all the sense those entries make today.  But I have to publish something, just to get back into the swing of things.

So I guess I'll just end abruptly and publish this.