santa fe/new mexico
I’ve written blogs for almost ten years on different platforms for different reasons. My first blog Educator to Educator (2010-2012) described my Teaching Excellence and Achievement grant in Tajikistan and the ways a cultural and educational exchange positively impacted my high school community in Boulder, Colorado. I blogged about my Fulbright year in South Africa (2014). In Lost in Translation (2015), I narrated my travels in Iran. The Shadow and Light Project (2016-2018) documented digital story grant-funded projects and my evolving creative work. Now, I’m launching a new website.
As my gifted Indian website designer has been out of the country for the summer, I’ve not uploaded any recent blogs or new digital stories on the old site. I’ve tabled my commitment to clicking “publish.” For anyone who might be looking, It seems I’ve dropped off the digital platform though actually, in my Santa Fe bubble, while the website has been down and I’ve been dealing with pain from a bacterial infection in the Korean hip implant and upcoming xplant surgery, I’ve crafted new digital work and posted it to my not-yet-live website.
I’m also following my niece who is in Medellin, Columbia, working as a freelance writer. I haven’t seen anything on her blog since June. What’s up? I text. She emails she has little interest in blogging because of its small reach, that she wants to write for literary magazines, to “save” her content for the more established outlets.
I ask why blogging and writing for literary or digital publications are mutually exclusive. An early draft published on one’s blog can be revised and submitted to a public forum.
She counters, “I put so much into these posts, mostly such personal reflections that don’t reach very far.” But I tell her putting her editorial skills into her posts and publishing a text as good as she can craft is writing practice.
She’s an emerging yoga teacher and has recently sent me videos of her moves. I reference these, telling her, “You don’t become a well known yoga personality on Gaia by thinking about your moves– you get on the mat and record yourself and start creating little films for your family and friends because this is the practice of starting to put yourself out in public. Blogs are the same. Writing and publishing regularly on a schedule you set for yourself hones your commitment to writing and to the writing craft and getting work out regularly.”
In the early nineties, I email, when I was writing short stories and posting them at the U.S. Post Office in those days of snail mail, it was easy to wait another week before sending one out, to revise it one more time, or even to not send it out at all. In this digital age, I tell her, a blog creates a sense of expectation, for others who are reading –even if the readership is less than a dozen friends. More importantly, writing and publishing regularly on a schedule I set for myself, writing and posting whether I feel like it or not, is discipline to meeting self-imposed deadlines.
And she emails back, “I got over the notion that I wouldn’t be able to publish any new content about these places or experiences elsewhere once they were on the blog. Because in reality, I could say a million more things in a variety of different prose about these scenarios shared here. So, I am going to re-commit to sharing, self-publishing and like you recommended, trying out writing for a variety of audiences.”
She sends me an overload about her week-long experience on San Adres Island. My editorial stance is not to question the content of her 29-year-old jaunt and island hookups, but to encourage her to “tell” less and “show” more. So begins a back and forth writerly exchange towards revision, engaging me while I am lying in the hospital at Anschutz Medical Center post-op removal of the infected metal and a temporary implant, PICC line advanced through my brachial vein and into the superior vena cava for the six-weeks of intravenous antibiotics I need to take to clear up this bacterial bone infection.
She edits, revises and posts. http://www.the-honestblonde.com/blogger/the-wild-island-mis-viajes-salvajes-a-san-andres-isla-colombia/2019/7/29 and afterwards, she emails, “Thank you so much for your input, insight, ideas, and feedback with this. As you lay on a hospital bed with an IV connecting to your heart, you took the time and found the energy to give me some nuggets of refinement while recovering.”
Now, there’s her big reach, right into the depths of where my PICC line descends.