About this blog (part two)

There’s another reason I wanted to start this blog: I like to write.

Generally, I let stories come to me—subtly, as a passing line in a news article about Ed Abbey’s fifth wife, or not-so-subtly, as a slap-in-the-face personal event like, say, pregnancy.

When a subject has caught my fancy (or is holding my collar, repeatedly slapping me across the face), I work through it, sifting through reams of information, searching for the personal, intellectual, and emotional connections, and teasing the narrative out of the various threads.The act of writing and editing—spewing words onto the page in stream of conscious drivel, playing with sentence structure, combining various thematic threads, rearranging and transitioning between passages, striving for the perfect word, deleting, elucidating, exploring—is how I make sense of the world.

It’s how I make sense of who I am and why I am the way I am, of where I am going and what I believe and what I want.

And lord knows I need to make sense of this pregnancy.

And thinking about it, I’ve realized that pregnancy is my favorite sort of story: it contains innumerable and complex story lines, interesting characters, fascinating details. It’s an intrinsically powerful subject matter, as warmly universal as it is intensely personal. By its very nature it provides a relatively tidy narrative arc between conception and birth. It’s a lens with which to view our society at large, our smaller cultural subsets, our personal relationships, our individual developments as  human beings.

Not to say that writing about pregnancy—no, blogging about it—wasn’t a  difficult decision. Pregnancy is an intensely personal affair. It forces us to reevaluate our lives, to make decisions and plans and set future goals we may never have made before, dreams we may be too shy to admit to each other and our selves, much less a casual reader.

(And what happens if something goes wrong with the pregnancy? What happens if there’s a positive Downs test? If we decide to terminate? If Kelly miscarries? How does one go about posting such a thing on the internet? How can one ever be remotely comfortable with that level of public disclosure?)

Yes, we live in such a world. I’m a fan of Facebook. I’m not a reserved person. I take a strange delight in honesty, often of the most self-deprecating kind. I enjoy the limelight, especially when telling a story. But this story is different. I find this weird, almost dangerous exposure. “Look,” you may say, “you can include or leave out whatever you want. It’s up to you.” Fair enough, and so I will. But good writing—and I am concerned with good writing—necessitates a level of personal disclosure of exactly the sort I fear. This can’t be a fairy-tale of warm baby snuggies and shining pregbellies—well, it could, but that’s Disney trash. It should have the fear, anxiety, nausea; it shouldn’t shy from the very real possibility of something going wrong.

The other problem with blogging this is that, as much as a pregnancy contains all the elements of a good story, as I listed above, it is also, fundamentally, the sort of story from which I generally shy, if not blatantly bitch into my beer about; that of the “Oh, this rather banal personal event should surely fascinate everybody, I just must share it” memoir. Or, if not that, the “I just went through a terrible/trying/adventurous ordeal but had all sorts of epiphanies and want to share them all with you.”

(Ok, obviously, for Kelly  and me, a pregnancy is a life changing experience, a pretty big fucking deal, so not banal at all. But let’s keep this in perspective here: every second three to six children are born. Every second. Banal.)

But I want to know this process, I want to know it by writing, and this will help me write. And for some reason I want to write to you.

So, there it is. I’m going to go with it.

We’ll see how it goes.

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