So, I feel my blog has a bit of an identity crisis on its hands.
I was at the chiropractor the other day and mentioned my self-assigned blogging challenge to one of the practitioners. She was curious and asked what kind of blog I kept. I was uncertain and my response delay extended a bit too long. She filled in the vacancy with “You know, is it a food blog, a fitness blog, a fashion blog, something like that?”
She was genuinely interested and I didn’t have a reasonable single word descriptor for what this space has become.
The origin story of this blog remains clear in my mind, but its journey since that day has been somewhat unexpected.
When I sat down to start this blog in Boothbay Harbor, Maine at a literacy retreat a couple of years ago, my intent was to craft my writing around my classroom and the importance of poetry in that space and in my life…hence the title…I am pretty passionate about the necessity of poetry in the English classroom and this was going to be my outlet to prove that imperative to the world. However, since that time, while I do often discuss my classroom, I don’t only discuss my classroom. I love to talk about what is important to me as a teacher, but when I write about it (even when it includes poetry), my voice as a writer and my passion as a teacher seem to conflict and stifle each other. As a result, both suffer and I am left with a piece of writing that reveals neither my most skilled writing nor my truth as an educator. And so I often embed discussions of my classroom in larger discussions of the world and the humans that populate it.
And then other times, especially these days, I don’t mention my classroom at all. And my blog is just the ramblings of my day. I suppose I view this space now as a canvas where I can create whatever moves me in that moment as long as I am writing. It is a means of accountability because each day, I have to click publish and others will see it. It is an opportunity to grow as a writer, a safe space to learn and to practice and to honor this thing I so love to do…even when it’s been a long day and the writing will suffer for it. It keeps me honest, it keeps me writing. This blog (and the ensuing challenge) has become my greatest burden and my greatest relief in that way.
When I tried to explain how I used this space, her next response was “Oh, so it’s a journal…like an online journal?” I cringed. I don’t want to think of this space that way though I suppose it does sort of fit the definition. But words matter to me and I am not comfortable with that term for some reason. So if it has to be that, until I can better define what this space is, I think I would prefer it to be called my writer’s notebook (not to be confused with my tangible writer’s notebook full of my handwriting and notes and revisions). For me, a writer’s notebook is a space to play with words in a very real way…a chance to grow and to learn and to stretch abilities…a place to be myself without care for the opinions of others…a writing space that is mine and on any given day reflects who I am in that moment.
So, while my blog’s identity might still be in crisis, I’m okay with that. It’s generosity in allowing me to think on the page is all I really require.