Backyard Brief: Ethan’s Playground

New dog, new world

 

Mmm . . . Taste this story.

The hopes of a new author —

“Somewhere . . . a juicy, chin-drippingly succulent flesh of a story awaits mouth-watering discovery. Messy and perhaps sticky, stinging, and staining at times, but unmistakably refreshing, engrossing, luscious, and filling, it merits a taste.” – excerpt from the introduction to Mistress: A Shakespearean Novel by C. L. Tangenberg (and, yes, I know it would be uncouth to include my own introduction in the final draft)

Blogging me a good “what for”

As a first-time blogger, I am learning that there is a difference between starting a blog and starting to blog. It is easy to lose myself in the technical setup considerations as a way to avoid the writing process. I am grateful not to be able to say for exactly how long I reviewed possible interface themes before settling on one. While not quite a Luddite, I certainly have a complicated relationship with computers. And while I am no stranger to the Internet and online memberships, I do not have a Facebook page–yet.

I prefer to attempt the creation of a balance among aspects of life, between types of activities, meaning, for those of you who may not comprehend the idea, that not all of those activities are computer or device based. But the key word is “attempt.” Working online as a tutor and being a writer who tends primarily to use a laptop both help deter me from endless surfing and other virtual pursuits, but I am far from feng-shui-Buddhist-yoga-yin-yang zen.

Still, my main purpose in starting a blog is neither to improve my tech savvy nor to find my true center. I just want to write.

Write about . . . ? I do have some ideas. Among them, feminist re-education/recovery toward simultaneously greater ambition and greater self-acceptance, my ailing sweetheart of a dog (I already have plenty of material for this), poetry/essays on random topics, the musings of an educator in limbo, the experience of tutoring online, exploring some conflicts and unions of science and religion/philosophy, observing nature (I’m a birder), my new novel writing journey, or my The Artist’s Way journey. But I guess potpourri could work, just writing whatever comes to me regardless of theme. Some topics I’m interested in writing essays about include the merits of academic matriculation vs. lay learning, books and movies (thoughts or reviews on), and finding balance in an altered existence, perhaps dealing with particular, highly personal struggles.

I have long been wary of becoming entrenched in an irrevocable online presence, internally sighing at the accumulation of each new instance of username and password, fearing because I don’t really understand how online profiles and accounts work, how much information remains permanently floating in the electronic ether even after believing oneself to have cancelled or closed an account.

As an English teacher, I am aware of the double irony of both fearing what I fail to understand and writing online about my reservations concerning online activity. Personally, I believe we are all incurable hypocrites in at least a few ways whether we’re aware of it or not. Fundamentally, though, I eschew any sense of shame in my hypocrisy because I know it is human nature, and though I am a perfectionist by nature and long practice, I know I am not, nor do I wish to be, perfect, or superhuman.

There was a time when I wished for the latter, well beyond the childhood in which that wish took root. As a former recipient of chronic girl-gang bullying since before I hit a double-digit age, I understand well the desire to take on escapist powers of, say, invisibility or a force field shell, or even a steady generator of the perfect come-back to any insult or provocation. Trust issues thus issue forth. And here I am, exposed on the Internet, vulnerable to new attack and subsequent rupture. Part of the wariness of online exposure stems directly from the defense mechanism of wanting to remain unknown.

Both a natural performer and a highly sensitive shell-turtle, I seek the balance and the sense of freedom to express myself without fear of the destructive potential consequences. Living out loud has seemed for years to be a dangerous form of rowdiness rather than a satisfying form of self-declaration. I have sought psychotherapy in the past, and my preferred approach has become an amalgamation of self-help. Seems I fear disappointing even strangers who would be my therapist.

So, although it isn’t very original, this blog will serve as a mode of recovery, and discovery, of all the forbidden parts of myself that I have quashed or rigidly restricted over the years. I still have ambitions, I still want . . . something, and I am here in large part to identify and acknowledge those aspirations, if not plunge headlong into their pursuit.

“The first step is awareness . . .”

Seed pods in glass jar, C.L. Tangenberg; ebony pencil on paper, November 2013

Seed pods in glass jar, C.L. Tangenberg; ebony pencil on paper, November 2013