December 14, 2005

The one thing I'm really not...

Over at AKMA's the discussion about authentic voice has reared it's familiar head. Yours truly is cited for her passionate-if-sometimes-careless blogging style, which I agree describes me sort of kind of, but I attempt to explain more here:

AKMA, If you weren't authentic, you wouldn't still be blogging these many years later. Authenticity can't be inferred in a moment, but over time.

Plus, I've met AKMA, and the AKMA who blogs is very much the AKMA who talks to you and loves his wife and kids and gives sermons from the alter (is that what it's called still--i don't know--it's been a while).

I had the SAME discussion by phone with David Weinberger (HI DAVID!) the summer before last, because David is also a careful writer like AKMA, and David was going through what I thought was a more-careful-than-usual period (he was attending a lot of conferences at the time when I was beating my anti-conference drum) and I wanted to push him to bristle it up some in his writing, and why wasn't he talking about how much he likes the indoors and stuff, well those weren't my exact words, but at that time, David used this very same characterization of the way I write/post/blog, and to be honest it sort of pissed me off, but not until later after I thought about it.

And it pissed me off because David was right: I blog fast, I'm spontaneous... and it felt to me like a synonym for careless but honest... And again, David didn't USE these words, they were basically my interpretation of what he meant by my spontaneous form versus his more tightly-edited form.

Is it academic writing versus poet writing?

Is it business writing versus conversational writing?

I don't think it has anything to do with authenticity. I think it has to do with style.

So I start asking myself--how am I getting this reputation of being a 'spontaneous/careless' blogger? Is this because sometimes I pop off, and sometimes I take some personal/professional risks in saying things a certain way to whoever I think should hear it? or is t because I write right here in the blogger window and I rarely have time to spellcheck or edit before I post? Because I swear? And would I care if David and AKMA both said "YES" to these questions?

Or is it the simple fact that I'm so busy doing what I do for a living that if the writing I do in my blog were to become the same level of "careful" client writing I have to do OUT THERE (to earn a living), that I WOULDN'T TAKE THE TIME TO BLOG AT ALL?

Or is it all of that. Probably. And more.

For the record, I used to believe in getting personal in this space. You haven't seen me say that in a long time. Today, I don't ADVOCATE writing personal stuff on your blog. I DO advocate going to that place of memory or pain or joy or whatever moves you (like, actually changes the expression on your real-world human face), and writing FROM that place. Not necessarily about it. Those are two different things. The distinction is important, especially as the blogworld has transformed from a community of kin to a world of strangers, some of whom will be glad to meet you, some of whom will be out to get you.

okay then.

THIS post was the edited version of the comment I left at AKMAs. That's pretty much how I work in these here blogs. Write it, publish it, fix it, publish it, write it, write it, write it, and so on. I'm basically talking to you in words. I'm not writing about stuff. At least most of the time.

Oh who the hell knows.




AKMA said...

Love you, too, Jeneane. I wouldn’t have called your writing “careless” (in fact, caring would be one of the most obviously central characteristics of your writing) — but I was remembering your advocacy of spontaneity and visceral writing when I cited you as exemplary.

I like your proposed distinction between writing about “that place of memory or pain or joy or whatever moves you” and writing from it. I second the motion!

Jeneane Sessum said...

i think it's more of what i infer - that sponaneous = careless... and in a way it IS messy and in a way MESSY is good, but not always, and not for everything, for example, my kid's room.

Frank said...

Yes... writing from that place... authentic... gives one an authentic style, I think.

DeanLand said...

Hey, didn't that whole thing belong to (er, belong in) an answer of Frank's most recent "_____ do you blog" question?

Shelley said...

Jeneane, you are a rare and special person.