Two weeks ago, on Easter Sunday/April Fools’ Day, I wrote a blog post I titled “Blog about Blog about” declaring a goal to blog — like, to write words about something — every day in the month of April 2018. The basic idea was to free myself from some of the anxiety that has built up into a genuine fear of writing over the past few years, which has led to me simply not to write as much as I used to.
It is now half way through the month of April and I have written fourteen (including this one) of my intended thirty posts. I failed to write on Friday the 13th.
Here are the things I’ve written about so far and my reflections on forcing myself to write about them in a fast and loose spirit:
April 2, on Iris Murdoch’s novel The Bell: I finished The Bell the day after I started the Blog about project. Had I not been doing the project, I probably would have sketched a few notes toward a review that I’d never end up actually finishing. It would hang out in the blog’s drafts folder forever. I’m strangely and probably unduly happy with what I ended up writing.
April 3, on starting a reread of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Blithedale Romance: Still reading Blithedale; the reread was inspired by The Bell (they share a kinda-similar setting). Writing about starting a book that you’ve already read is not hard.
April 4, on a particular Gordon Lish sentence: Reflecting on this one makes me realize that this is the kind of post I should be doing more of—looking closely at something small.
April 5, on Goya’s painting The Straw Man: I was very tired and did not want to write. I pulled down Robert Hughes’ biography Goya and thumbed through it, landing on a page I’d dogeared. Then I wrote the post. This method—grabbing a book somewhat at random—-also seems like a good way to write a post.
April 6, on the etymology of the word “blog”: I don’t even remember writing this one. I guess that’s why we write, to remember. I think that’s one of Socrates’ observations (or at least I think Plato wrote it down that Socrates observed this).
April 7, on Don DeLillo’s novel The Names: I often feel a bizarre and unnecessary guilt when I do not write about a novel I’ve read. I read The Names earlier this year and had intended to write about it and then didn’t. Or rather, I did write a bit about it, but I got bogged down in a kind of silly accounting of the novel’s approach to linguistics, which isn’t really what interested me about it that much anyway. The Blog about approach freed me to the extent that I didn’t even bother to quote from the novel, which is like, a bad approach to writing reviews—but a blog isn’t a review.
April 8, on Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “Schrödinger’s Cat”: I think we read in my class that day or maybe the day before. I turned my notes into the post, sort of. Maybe that’s cheating.
April 9, on an image from Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance: Don’t recall writing it at all, although I recall the image, which, I don’t know. Maybe these reflections aren’t as valuable to me as I thought they would be.
April 10, on the“ The Silvery Veil” tale that’s embedded in The Blithedale Romance : I also made some connections here to Madame Psychosis, a character in David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest. I’m sure someone’s already made those connections and written about them somewhere, but most of my Google searches led me back to, like, my own blog, which says more about my search strategies than anything else I guess.
April 11, on William Carlos Williams’ ekphrastic poem “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air” (a poem about a Brueghel painting): My favorite thing in writing this was realizing how frequently Williams’ poem “The Dance” (about a Brueghel painting) is mistakenly cited as having been published in Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962). There is a poem called “The Dance” in Brueghel but it is not about a Brueghel painting. That “Dance” was published in The Wedge in 1944.
April 12, on Lydia Davis’s short story “Happiest Moment”: Again, I think the takeaway here is: Go smaller.
April 13: Didn’t write. Couldn’t get it out. Make up post? How about this picture I took of a stack of books I’m reading that I thought I might write about it and then thought, Nah…
April 14, on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s journal of April 14, 1841—which happens to correlate with Hawthorne’s time on Brook Farm, the basis of his novel The Blithedale Romance which I’m still reading: I actually really enjoyed writing this one, although I don’t think anyone really read it. I researched mid-19th century farm equipment for almost an hour.
April 15 is today. I saw Wes Anderson’s film Isle of Dogs with my wife and kids and thought I would write about it, but then I didn’t. I wrote this post instead.
8 thoughts on “Blog about Blog about 2”
Ha! I remembered it was Friday the 13th when the handle on a gallon of paint broke, and the terra-cotta color exploded in all directions. Ten minutes earlier I’d pried the lid off that gallon of ‘mayacuya’ colored paint, which should have been a bright happy yellow. Yuck, it was not what we wanted, and I volunteered to walk back to the store and swap it for the yellow… well, next plan was to grab a paint brush and paint the bare concrete floor, since 1/3 of that paint was already on the floor! My 10-year old neighbor was walking down the stairs, trying to avoid stepping on me and/or the splotches of paint – and she tripped and sprawled down four or five steps before stopping at the bottom. She was ok – amazing! About thirty minutes later, as I brushed that paint on the floor and the risers of the cement steps, a 12-year old lad tripped on something on the sidewalk right outside the door, and he sprawled onto the cement as well. Bruised knee but otherwise ok.
All of this because you mentioned skipping Friday the 13th!
Because I am online so little, I especially appreciate your posts – the art and the literature, as I load pages and read them offline. Thanks for the work you put into the posts, even if you think no one reads them – some of us do!
Thanks for the story, and thanks so much for checking in on the site when you are online!
Love the Rider-Waite littered throughout the posts. Hey, I haven’t written in so long. You’re doing better than me, haha.
Not better than, just doing! Thanks for reading, Will.
When’s your Murnane thoughts coming?
Long day…baseball game tonight with the boy (we won 9-1), and I have to get up and do Tuesday…so maybe now? Maybe try to do a post about Murnane tonight?
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