Saturday, August 04, 2012


This little corner of the blogosphere has been getting extra love of late, from both author and readers. Some of that's intentional, and some of it is, I imagine, coincidental. Nonetheless, it calls for a little spruce up and realignment. "Authenticity" is a good eight years old, preceded the three years before that by a (blessedly) defunct live journal site. I've been writing out here in public for a long time, y'all, so I guess I'll just go ahead and keep doing it.

For a long time, readership essentially consisted of my college and seminary roommates (that crazy url is an oft-mentioned quotation from a favorite philosophy professor in undergrad) and my grandparents (HEY, Bobby + JoJo!), but then I guess...I met more people? The internet became a THING, and the Facebook behemoth started making it such a cinch to scream my words out into the universe. It's easy, stupid easy, to type some words in succession, hit "publish," and throw what hubris secretly (and OH SO wrongly) categorizes as "art" out there into the public square. It's instantaneous, and cathartic. I can only imagine how pissed off all those only-posthumously-appreciated writers from earlier eras would be to witness this ridiculous phenomenon. 

I have always wanted to be a Writer. I come from a family of readers, and gobbled books up whole: in single sittings at the lunch table, on long car rides, in the pool, perhaps most notably during third grade spelling tests (right, no idea how that wasn't considered cheating). Words bewitch me, and the people who figure out how to put them together in perfect, exquisite, reality-bending and perspective-breaking ways have always been my idols.

But Writers - the ones who do it for real - are not artists of convenience. They don't spew words like spittle whenever they get anxious or indignant, the way I have done. They don't dash off a paragraph and show it immediately to the world. They write, and re-write, and write again. They try it one way, turn the angle, try again. They study the world closely, and they pay attention. And while the ways I've been living life have not been particularly conducive to that kind of patient observation, trial and error, it is what I long to be doing, what I crave. 

Much of what's been here lately has been, quite literally, unedited, first draft stuff. Sermons, rants, general un-corralled theological rambling. It satisfies a particular, selfish desire to air out the confines of my head, but it isn't real. The machinations of my own mind are not authentic observances of the world around, but I'm prone to believing that they are. I'd like that to change.

So, I'm saying that, and I'm going to try to do it. Here. The blinding temptation to hit Publish too soon may overtake me - my self-control is weak in this particular area - but if I do, would you tell me? Would you remind me to be honest, and attentive, and tell me when something seems hurried or false? I'd appreciate it.

When I was around 12, I told my dad that I wanted to be a Writer. "Well," he said, "I guess you better start writing, then."

Let's see how it goes.


Brian R. Gumm said...

"When I was around 12, I told my dad that I wanted to be a Writer. 'Well,' he said, 'I guess you better start writing, then.'"

That, my sister, is a keeper! Brilliant advice! (Have you read Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird?

Trisha said...

When I consider what great writing you do on the fly, I prepare to be stunned by more thoughtful & edited efforts!