The act of writing is an odd thing. The act of blogging perhaps even more so. Why do writers write? For me, it's a compulsion. Something you do because you feel you must, for better or worse, for good or bad. Because you wake up at 3 a.m. and cannot go back to sleep until the words in your head are spilled onto a page or screen. Because, though when you speak to people in person you're slow and stilting, when you write, you flow. Because of the simple pleasure of setting one word next to another like two knick-knacks on a shelf.
And yet. Writing is a highly personal and private thing that us writers - who are often very private folk - then paradoxically set on display for all the world to see. Though in person, I may close inward if you ask too personal of a question, yet in writing, I'll set down my soul, bare and red and wriggling, for all to see. Do we writers have something of the exhibitionist in us, despite insisting on our introversion? Why do we, like Anne Bradstreet, feel that we must rip our most tender words from our breast and shove them out the door into an unkind world - "Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain, who after birth did'st by my side remain...At thy return my blushing was not small, my rambling brat (in print) should mother call."
We love our words, and we hate them. We pet them, and we berate them. We want the world to see them, but we dread that anyone should read them. For me, I write for myself and to myself. In public. But I forget that anyone else is listening. And then when someone mentions in a spare conversation something I've written, I'm startled. It's as if I realize they've been inside my head, unnoticed, hearing the preposterous things I say and think. I squirm like a bug writhing on the collector's pin. It's like they've crashed a party that I didn't know they were invited to, even though I'm the one who sent out the invites.
Oh, what a paradox is the private and public mind of the writer. Sometimes my self-conscious and self-doubting soul wishes to collapse inwardly, like a hermit crab folding up its legs into its shell. Other times I wish to shout forth words, words, words from the rooftops for all to hear. It's a conundrum, I can tell you that.
By the way, you're not reading this, are you?