How many times have I commented to Kelsey, “Blogging is so hard,” to which she’s responds one of two ways, “Truth,” or, “It really is.”
Whenever I feel the sentiment about the difficulties of blogging, I almost always think of First World Problems, and the thought of feeling stress or anxiety about a non-problem is enough to make me change direction and think of something else.
But, I have to be honest with everyone: for me, anyway, blogging is difficult. Perhaps it’s my yoga practice, or my ability (I think) to recognize what is actually stressful, or actually a problem that helps me to remain pretty calm about most things most of the time. But not this. Blogging opens up an area in my brain that activates anxiety and stress.
I turn into an anxious person when I write*, but the trigger is very specific. It’s not the thought that people will judge my writing that makes me anxious. You’ve all seen my writing. You know what’s up. I’m no Jonathan Franzen, no DFW, or VS Naipaul, or any other male author that I like a lot because apparently I only read male authors. Hmmm…
What makes me anxious is the scheduling of the stories. The balance of letting everyone know when certain events took place without being so concerned with time that time becomes a focal point in the story. In a sense, it is a fear of judgement that I describe. All this to say is that I finished a second book for my book project. (Hand clap, yaay.) Great news.
But, what I got all anxious about was the desire to let everyone know that I actually finished this book awhile ago. I just don’t remember when. However, the thought of not mentioning that I finished the book “awhile ago” just can’t happen. I have to let everyone know I’m not the world’s slowest reader. I mean, I read this book soooo long ago now. I probably finished it last month…or in June. It’s not quite my literary snobbery I’ve mentioned once or twice before, because, let’s face it, I ain’t got nothin to be snobby about at this point. So, what should have been a post about this great book I read has become a therapy session about my reading schedule and the inability to not letting certain things go unmentioned.
So, anyway, I finished this book** a long, long time ago in 2012, after the book on Cuba: Rule of the Bone by Russel Banks.
I love this book. It’s another book that I found myself talking about a lot. Ironically, I almost passed this book up, but a friend insisted I take it with me on a bus ride from NY back to DC to pass the time. (What a crazy trip that was by the by. I was not feeling all that great the whole bus trip and found myself thinking for most of the drive, “well, I’m going to vomit on this bus…that sucks. I’m going to be that person…vomiting on the bus.” In my delirium, in between reading and trying to nap, when the bus stopped somewhere in Maryland, I didn’t know what was going on, so I packed up my stuff and got off the bus and stood around thinking, “Where the hell am I? This is not Union Station. This is not my beautiful wife.” I quietly got back on the bus, and luckily only one person noticed what was going on. I sheepishly smiled at him and took a different seat and began anew thoughts of vomiting on buses and really trying not to do so.)
Anyway, I read up on Russel Banks and apparently he writes a lot about the working poor and their problems, often in a coming-of-age setting. (The main character, Chappie in this particular book is 14, gets kicked out of his house and has a bunch of really awful things happen to him, but throughout the book Chappie maintains this foundation of good-person-ness that he certainly didn’t inherit from his family, and it certainly wasn’t fostered by his community.) Banks apparently has received criticism for writing about the problems of the poor, as if they don’t have enough to worry about already. That kind of criticism probably comes from people that are currently not, nor have ever been poor. It’s the equivalent of telling someone not to stare at someone who looks different because of how it makes you feel, not necessarily the person being stared at. I highly recommend this book and it would be great if someone else around me read it so I had someone to talk to about it.
* Truthfully, I guess I have confessed to a few other anxieties I have…First World Problems to the max indeed.
** update! If you’re interested in Russel Banks, my workout buddy’s parents have a rare and used book store called Clayton Fine Books and you can order his books, as well as a host of other amazing authors. Life is grand.