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Mimsy and Outgrabe

a record of panic, parenting, teaching, and art making

  • Writer's pictureSarah Gutowski

Blogging vs. Not Blogging vs. The Word Blogging is So Strange and Not Really a Word

It's been weird having a desire of late to write in the blog but also having very little time for the blog. During my sabbatical last fall, I had time to write in the blog but little desire. I didn't want to take time away from my project to write about the project, so I didn't.

I suspect that because I'm no longer engaged in being a writer full-time, the impulse to record in the blog has come back because it will make me feel, well, more like a writer. Nothing has really changed, though — time I use to write in the blog is still time I could use to work on my project (my play, but like anyone needs reminding of THAT).

I'm intuiting, however, that my need to write in the blog is about laying my thoughts out about the process, keeping a record of my ups and downs, marking the history of the play's creation — something that didn't feel necessary last fall when I had the days and weeks open to me.

That openness, and that silence, actually, is what I needed most in order to move forward with the play, and I think that was also why I didn't write in the blog quite so much. It felt more like an interruption, then.

Now, as I try to work on the play while also writing reviews of poetry collections and teaching classes and grading (I am always, always behind in grading), I need the blog as a way of remembering where I am. Where I stood the day before, or the week before, or the month before. So much is lost if I don't write it down.

So I'm going to try to do this blog-keeping more regularly and in earnest, even if it means telling on myself and owning up that I have written very little. For those who aren't very interested in hearing about the processes of other writers and artists, maybe then those posts won't be for you. I'll try to tag each entry so that you can have a heads-up.

My haul from the AWP Conference and Bookfair.

For now, what to report? I went to AWP in early March, as well as to the launch of Nicole Callihan's new poetry collection This Strange Garment and Eugenia Leigh's Bianca. This was followed by Stuffolk's spring break, which is when I finally wrote my sabbatical report and *finally* put that whole thing to rest... like exorcising a demon.

In all, March was great. Exhausting, but really good.

More recently, I wrote a poem. Last week, on Monday, to be precise — which felt good after a dry spell. I was also able to bring it to my writing group, which meets over Zoom on Saturdays — and I haven't been able to attend *those* meetings lately so it was great to see their faces again.

Also, since the beginning of the semester, I've been able to work on the play every now and then, sometimes 15 minutes at a time, and surprisingly, it's been working.

I say surprisingly because I'm generally *not* the kind of "just take 15 minutes a day to do something" kind of person. I've tried it — and failed. I'm more like the kind of person who deep dives into a task or topic and resurfaces after hours wondering why I'm so behind in absolutely every other area of my life.

I'm not great.

Anyway. I'm flying to Texas in the middle of the week for the PCA-ACA Annual Conference, the first time I've been able to attend it in person. I'm presenting an essay called "Writing a Play in the 21st Century." In my abstract for the proposal I wrote:

I’ll attempt to answer: What did I learn about poetry and drama, respectively? Which models were the most helpful and inspiring? What were my biggest challenges and obstacles, did I overcome them, and how? Also — why did I do this to myself? Was any of this worth it?

I still have to finish this essay on the plane. Because I'm particularly on-brand at this moment: panicky, behind in all things important, and generally a hot mess of a person.

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