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VOF Week 3: (BLOGGING: Is it a real writing?)

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My teacher, who is one of the most respected poets in my country and who I also love dearly, asked me while the two of us were having wine and cheese in her house, “Is blogging a real writing?”

As a typical elite writer, she raises her brow when she hears the word, “blogging.” She has nothing against technology as she is well-equipped with it. However, she is dubious about blogs. She is not comfortable with the language used on blogs, and the nakedness of the self to the whole world. She tells me that a journal is supposed to be a secret thing and not meant to be shared with the rest of the world. The issues that she raised are the same issues that kept me from writing blogs. I’ve been trained by her; especially on how to read well and the things I should read. And, blogs are a taboo for a serious literature student. Blogs are angst-ridden; egoistic; the language is detestable; mostly ungrammatical; and sometimes even pornographic! How do you know that people will read you? Why would you want to share so much about yourself that in turn can make you vulnerable? What about the time you’re supposed to read a good piece of literature instead of blog?

True, both of us are very privy when it comes to telling our own story and very picky when it comes to reading materials. After all, she fondly calls me her “literary daughter” since I attended four or more of her literature classes; unlike her other “literary children” who are published writers. As my literary mother, she understands that my archetypal journey involves the slaying of the mother, which means, I will go opposite her direction, to be freed from the shadow of the mother to become me.

I don’t know how many people will read me, or if my writing will come close to good literature. What I do know is that every feeling can be expressed through arts, even angst. Although, I choose to write things that in my own judgment can inspire others because I enjoy the feeling of being happy. Any writer, any artist, one way or another is egoistic because s/he wants attention from/to/for the self, others, the world, which is but natural. If a journal is supposed to be a secret, then why do I get to read the unabridged journals of Sylvia Plath; or the diaries of Rilke or Anne Frank; or the memoirs of Ellie Wiesel or Czeslaw Milosz?

I think, not all published works are good literature; in the same way that not all blogs are nonsense. If we can make things better, then let’s make things better.

I open myself to the world because I want the world to open itself to me.

I know in my heart that when she gets to see this, she’ll enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Comments

meg.peterson's picture

Hi katea, I really enjoyed

Hi katea,

I really enjoyed reading your piece! The storyline about your journey with blogging was engaging and creative. I especially liked, "As my literary mother, she understands that my archetypal journey involves the slaying of the mother, which means, I will go opposite her direction, to be freed from the shadow of the mother to become me". What a powerful way to express your pursuit in finding your distinct literary style.

The debate about blogs and the open expression of self to so many that blogs allows is an important topic. I think that having such a raw form of communication, accessible to so many is extremely exciting and great for creating greater awareness around the world. Thanks for sharing your story!

Cheers, Megan

katea's picture

the journey begins

Dear Megan,

I'm glad you like what I wrote. I'm grateful.

With my literary mother, wait until she finds out that I'm spending my afternoon watching Hannah Montana instead of reading my assigned texts and writing my papers. :p She taught me how to enjoy simple things since she's into Zen. I think I learned that more/better than the craft and art of writing. I find pleasure in blogging.

kind regards,
Katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Tina's picture

Literary blogging

Dear Katea,
It is interesting how you compare the writing style of blogging to a "real" piece of literature. What distinguishes a work of art, or true literary masterpiece from any old book for me, is that it successfully comes to life and takes me on a journey into feeling, thinking and experiencing life from a new perspective. A good blog can do all those things too, I think!
Although I agree the nature of blogging does have the potential to breed egoism, world pulse appears to be fertile ground for the creation of something entirely new.

I love your description about your teacher. How wonderful for you to have such an excellent writing mentor, and one who is happy for you to pave your own path.
You are a great writer. I learn so much from your posts and enjoy reading them very much.
Tina

katea's picture

I concur

Dear Tina,

One of the things that draws me to your journal is its literariness. And I just feel good that on the web, we are on equal footing. Sometimes, I still dream of becoming a published writer but I always get rejected because it seems I'm not good enough to get to the literary circle, in my country anyway. Most of the time though, it does not matter to me if I ever get published.

Only here on World Pulse that I get to write and share it with the friends I made here cos for the longest time, I just kept everything to myself and thought I'd be better off as a silent reader. I don't want to share my writings(unless required) to writer-friends and teachers because I don't want to disappoint them. I'm gaining momentum here. In time, I will have the confidence to show them.

My mentor knows I'm doing volunteer work and believes it's also a kind of writing, metaphorically speaking, so she's ok with it. But there's one task I have to finish for her though, my travel narratives!

You are one of the first few who really appreciated my journals, very big thank you to you!

love,
Katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

molliv's picture

how do we define "real"?

katea:

i love reading this from you, because you did what i feel is most apparent in "real" literature: you questioned yourself and formulated your own hypotheses, but do not pretend to be definitely "right". this, for me, is at the essence of any kind of art. it questions, and it stimulates, but there are no right and wrong answers, because each individual resides in their own form of reality, one that is constantly changing. you ask to us the reader (and to your mentor, and yourself): "If a journal is supposed to be a secret, then why do I get to read the unabridged journals of Sylvia Plath; or the diaries of Rilke or Anne Frank; or the memoirs of Ellie Wiesel or Czeslaw Milosz?" this is an EXCELLENT question, and i have one for you. why should we be privvy to their experiences but not YOURS? or mine? or that of a woman just learning to write in a small village with almost no access? these stories have importance and relevance to not only their writers but also to us, to expand our own realities.

that being said, it is very difficult sometimes to get past our own preconceived notions of what is "real". we may have a lower opinion of what someone has to say if the writing itself is not technically award-worthy. that's why it is so important for us to attempt to clear our own minds and really think about what is influencing our opinions. perhaps as a writer you could focus on teaching these technical skills to others, to helping them to make their voices more powerful. you obviously are one who questions, continues to grow, and has a strong desire to reach out to others and share your knowledge, as well as to stimulate further discussion, as you say "I open myself to the world because I want the world to open itself to me."

~molli

Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, even Moses started out as a basket case.

katea's picture

I understand

Hi Molli,
Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate your questions directed to me; they made me reconsider my own thoughts.

It is not my intention, in anyway, to be condescending to people who cannot write technically ok, or those who cannot even read and write because they were deprived of education. I myself may falter in that area of technicality. Like you, I definitely agree that there is no absolute truth or absolute reality because it's ever changing. Reality, like truth, is relative because it comes from a certain perspective.

The reason for joining Pulse Wire and writing blogs is also to widen my perspectives and to hear from different people whose stories are not heard. I believe, each one has an important thing to say. I was just telling an example on how in a University, a certain standard is set. But because I wanted to be from that space, I began writing blogs, as a first step to understanding and experiencing different things. It is also the same reason why I said I get to read the unabridged journals of Sylvia Plath because they may have resonances to most of us, and that we can learn from her intimate thoughts and feelings. In the same way that other people from a remote village, who may have been deprived of so many comforts but whose stories will call attention or awaken the consciousness of most of us are equally important. And I totally agree with you that their voice must be heard.

I still have a long way to go. I have not lived enough or experienced enough to say I am an authority of something. I may never come close to that, and will never aspire to be one. But I am trying my best to see different things from different angles so that I will avoid passing judgment on matters that I don't even understand. I am nothing compared to those people who risk their lives to feed their families or who sell themselves so that their younger siblings can study. Little by little, I am trying to unmask myself from those pre-conceived notions that come from/with the culture I was born into. Little by little, I am seeing different realities from different communities.

Like what I said to Tina, my mentor knows I am doing volunteer work and even I don't write or get published, my teacher knows that doing volunteer work is also a kind of writing. Yes, I've been teaching grassroots kids and mothers creative writing and gender consciousness for 3 years now. I am happy that in my own little way, I get to share my gift and get to be inspired by women and children I meet.

I am listening to you, and I know what you mean. And I am grateful that you let me clarify some things. I will continue to widen my perspective and be open to the world. :)

I am one with you,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

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