Monday, January 4, 2010

Snow Day?

24º and a fury of flurries

This morning my husband got his wish...a snow day. I'm a bit stunned by it, given the "dusting" of snow that is on the ground, but hey, this is the South in all its glory. My school is on a 2-hour delay, but we don't start classes until next week, so this mostly concerns the hard-working staffers and administrators who are handling registration and all the policies that go into getting the semester started. [For those of you who are truly snowed apologies from the South.]

I'm feeling a bit fragmented this morning and having a hard time thinking about poetry b/c I'm feeling the slight unease of needing to get three classes prepped this week. (Sure, I brought home all the materials, planning to work on this a few hours here and there over the break. The best laid plans and all that...)


So, here's something from December. Anne Haines blogs at Land Mammal, and a few weeks ago she wrote about paying attention to three things each day, a goal I can wrap my scattered mind around. Here are my three things from yesterday:
1. The rattle in the vent when the heater kicks in is not an unkind thing.
2. The warmth of the sun seeps through my wool socks as I prop my feet on the desk.
3. Sunday, I feel like a jellyfish, suspended in a day with no obligations, pushing myself this way and that without any hard steering.


Also from December, Kristin asked about my thoughts on blogging and my paper journal. Way back in the day of junior high and high school, I kept a personal journal. Through college, this morphed into a writing journal alongside more personal angst entries. Throughout my 20's and early 30's I wrote both drafts of poems and personal entries...almost always expressing my fears and frustrations rather than my joys and celebrations. As my life became more settled (marriage, book, steady job, etc.) those entries have tapered off and I mostly use the paper journal for drafting and poetry work. I'm not sure I've ever really done the true journalling work of deep self-searching.

I know that blogging started as online journalling, but I guess I approached it somewhat differently. I always wanted an audience, and I knew from the beginning that the blog would be about poetry work and not personal details so much. I approach the blog less as a vehicle for self examination and more as a vehicle for conversation with the poetry world; however, I do want to be as honest as possible with my audience so I try not to shy away from getting at the reality of being a working poet (celebration of publications alongside the fact of rejection). I also want this space to be as much about the work of others as it is about my own work...thus the many links to other sites. So, I don't think my paper journal has suffered due to blogging. I think it has followed the path of my life fairly consistently...when I'm content it is mostly poetry...when I'm distraught it is mostly a place to vent and question and search for comfort.

I'd love to hear what other people think about this topic: how you approach blogging, if you use a paper journal and if so, if it has changed with changing technology.


Anonymous said...

haha, snow day! I guess it makes sense, tho': when you don't get much snow in the area generally, you don't get the experience with driving in it that could prevent accidents. Enjoy!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yes, having grown up in Iowa and gone to college in Minnesota, I'm good to go, but the native Southerners...not so much!

Karen J. Weyant said...

Hysterical! We have two feet on the ground! The roads are finally clear, so that' good, but my car is buried.

Sandy Longhorn said...

I knew my Northern friends would enjoy this.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sandy--my journal always deteriorates into lists of what I ate that day, or what exercise I did, or what literary journals to send to. I just cannot stand to go back and read anything related to diary like entries. I do draft poems there though.

I am going to have my students keep a common book this semester, and I am seriously thinking about keeping one along with them, but that's quite different from a journal.

Now if I had a blog, it would be about home of course b/c to me, the home is an art form.

Hope you had a happy first day!


Sandy Longhorn said...

T., thanks for the comments.

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

That snow day reminds me of when Tuscaloosa got an inch of snow one winter. People went ape shit. One of my students from Houston had never seen snow before.

Like you, I write a blog for an audience, albeit a very small audience of friends, family, and cronies from college.

My personal journal (Word document) of ramblings and sometimes poetry is for my eyes only.

I also have a commonplace book (a notebook) where I keep a collection of juicy quotations culled from what I read. I wish I would have started that when I was in high school since some zingers from Eddie Murphy and the Church Lady would have made it in there.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Hey, Q. Thanks for the note. I've always collected quotes along with my other drafting in my journal.

Hey, didn't you do a mean impersonation of the Church Lady? Or was that someone else? :)

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

I did a impersonation of the Church Lady, yes. You know who made me do it?????


Sandy Longhorn said...

Q. You can't see me but I'm rolling around on the floor I'm laughing so hard. Thanks for the memory!

matfst said...


I'm keeping this written journal for my son. It has flipped my whole process and, I'm sure, made me a better writer--my own secret education. In it, I write music reviews, stories and songs, biographies, political commentary, jokes, literary criticism, all kinds of stuff. The biggest thing is that it has been a fabulous exercise in--what do you call it--zeroing in on or defining an AUDIENCE because it's not all to the little boy I know. Many of the entries are to the 'type' I want for him to know. The stuff that makes it into this book is the sacred stuff--'finished drafts' that I transcribe into the hand-written form from a print-out or screen, including illustrations/illuminations.

Now I use my blog sometimes in this process as a super-informal, no pressure drafting exercise. I guess I do it backwards. I draft on my blog out in front of God and everyone (which makes it serious enough to really try), but I let myself revise, re-post over and over, or remove if I want. It's high stakes drafting cause people could be watching (I pretend) so it keeps me honest, but who cares if it's not perfect cause it's only a blog. And then if I get onto something I really like it goes to workshop at school and then private revisions and eventually into his book. I also create computer document/manuscripts/files for safe keeping/later use--whatever later use is. Since I don't submit stuff for publication, this book is the promised land for my stuff. If I ever do try to publish, it could be a portfolio of stuff to start with with I guess.

Take it easy,

Sandy Longhorn said...

M., that's all so cool. R. is a lucky kid. I love the description of your process!