Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coming Out of the Closet

I get a daily email newsletter from Stephen Elliott, the editor of The Rumpus. Ostensibly it's a newsletter to promote the site, which is billed as a site on culture, but mostly it's a daily email about whatever is on his mind at the time, and it usually contains links to articles on the site as sort of an afterthought. This might make it sound like I don't like the newsletter, but I actually find it fascinating, definitely more so than if it were just a collection of links. It's written in first person, and it often references conversations he's had with his friends, things they've said, small domestic scenes with women he dates, snippets about his life on the streets as a homeless teen. 

I've never met Stephen Elliott, but I feel like I know him a little. I wish he would put the newsletter in blog form, because I'd like to link to some of the things he says in my own blog posts. Here's something he said recently that I liked: 

"But I was thinking about stories. I'd talked to a class and they asked if I was comfortable with so much personal information about myself out in the public sphere. I talked about writing as a process of coming out of a closet. You come out of one closet, there's another closet waiting for you. And then, you move through old topics easily, ideas and experiences that you've already unpacked, as you struggle through current binds. But you don't write as if you're still in that closet, exploiting stories based on previous success. You have to look forward, into the dark."

This spoke to me because one of the things I'm having trouble with in terms of blogging - one of the reasons I don't update as often as I'd like to - is that I'm having a hard time coming to terms with 1) why I would want to do so, when I really do value my privacy, 2) how much to say given I'm not really anonymous and 3) why anyone would care. I have no answer to any of these questions. I'm not sure I even have a story, but I do know I have a lot of thoughts that seem to want to be let out, whether it's via talking, or Twitter, or Facebook, or blogging, or whatever, so here I am, continuing to blog. I guess like Stephen said I'm coming out of my own closet through writing. It's an entirely selfish act, but necessary, I guess. 

Also, a further note on malaise: "It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth comes to the top" -- Virginia Woolf

I'm taking that as a flat out endorsement.

No comments: