Friday, August 08, 2014

Did You Like Me?

Having the Facebook page has been interesting. I'm not sure people understand that they can "like" the page. I'm not sure why I should care. I think Facebook assumes pages are about promoting a business. I get messages about how a given post is performing. And numbers about how many people have been "reached". I really wonder how these numbers are gathered. If I look at the page or a post three times does it count as three? I'm trying not to think about it too much. When I used to write more regularly I spent a silly amount of time checking my stats. I'm not above caring about attention  but the purpose of the page is to nudge me into writing.
John McPhee wrote a piece that is (remarkably) available in full. I first read it right after I'd returned from three months visiting Mom and just before the idea of moving to the nest.  At that time I was determined to rewrite The Book. Moving took over and it never happened. McPhee writes about using letter writing as a way to cross "the electric fence from the actual world to the writing world." That wouldn't work for me. Even writing email sometime causes me to seize up.
He goes on to write about the pleasure of rewriting. I love rewriting. It's been a really long time since I wrote in any kind of sustained manner. But when I was writing for school my favorite thing was the rewriting. Once I showed David something I was working on and in about three minutes he'd marked it up in ways that taught me how to think about reorganization. Jo Ann did something similar when she told me to take out all the "ands" in something and see which ones I felt I needed to put back. I do over use the word and. I like it because it's the way I think. And. And. And. Or. But. But. But. But....she had a point. Those two moments taught me more about how to think about writing than all of the hours in MFA workshops put together.
He writes" Until it exists, writing has not really begun."
I've reread his piece a few times and reread it again as I began this recent push. He writes about something that is very true for me.

What I have left out is the interstitial time. You finish that first awful blurting, and then you put the thing aside. You get in your car and drive home. On the way, your mind is still knitting at the words. You think of a better way to say something, a good phrase to correct a certain problem.
When I wrote daily everything was a writing prompt. And if I was working on something it was in my thoughts like a constant buzz. Some of that has returned.
I have been checking Whiskey River most days. This bit is worth a full read but the line about writing because one is unemployable made me smile.
There have been times in my life when writing was a source of comfort. It was mostly journal writing and not writing I ever imagined anyone would read. Or if they did read it I'd be dead and they'd find my journals and then it wouldn't really matter if I'd said something stupid, or said it badly. At least not to me.
Very often, maybe always, when someone likes something I've written and leaves a comment, I reread what I've written. I'm trying to understand what it was that was appealing. I fret over something I could have said better. I wonder if I was clear. I can never separate from the imagined reader. It may or may not trouble the writing.
The page has 32 likes. Apparently I should aspire to reach 100. I can't see that happening. I can't say I wouldn't be happy if it were true. When I get a new like I feel very Sally Fields.


William said...

I like Facebook better than Tumblr where hundreds of people do nothing but reblog stuff adding nothing to the conversation and at the same time taking up space!

Tish said...

Yeah, Tumblr confuses me. I'm never sure what to do there.