Monday, October 10, 2005

So Why DO I Write This Journal?

Apparently some people are going through a moment or two of introspection during the VIVI nomination period here in J-Land. And I'm no different, I guess.

I've noticed over time that I am not a writer of substance. That requires thought and most of the time I can't be bothered.  

I'm more a writer of the shoot from the hip school of opinion, which requires no thinking, just reacting. Being right or wrong doesn't enter into it. I just say what comes to mind first, hoping that what gets on the page comes from my brain, not my rear end.

I used to write this in journal only to count how many people came by. But when my counter created a TOS violation [still a mystery to me], I got rid of it. Considering how addicted I was to its numbers, giving up my counter was probably the most enlightened zen moment of my entire life.  I realize that saying "enlightened zen" moment is like saying "close proximity" -- I'm repeating myself, being redundant -- but there are a lot of people who associate zen with motorcycles so I thought I should try to be as clear as possible about zen's meaning for me.

That counter had control of me like a drug. Letting go of it was the first deliberate act of personal sacrifice I think I've ever made. How's that for perspective on the demands of my life?  

After dismantling the counter I found that I became addicted to the comments instead. And not just the comments, but who has commented. There are some people who comment better than others. And some people whose appearance as a commenter is good reason to jump for joy.

And yes, I have jumped for joy when certain people have stopped by my journal to express an opinion. If only in my mind.

Comments are my barometer of interest. And I can usually tell which entries are going to generate the most interest and therefore more comments.

Have I mentioned I love comments? They are, aside from gratifying, a wonderful source of new journals and I am grateful that people are willing to leave links per my request.

Other than that, I realize that what I have to say isn't going to change the world. But I love a good pissing match. And J-Land never disappoints. I also love it when someone tells me I make them laugh.

I get excited as a kid with a new toy when I find a journal that keeps me begging for more. Or when I become friendly with someone because an entry I wrote prompted them to contact me.

This place -- J-Land -- feels like the front porch of a big Victorian house with plenty of places to sit and a huge yard where the kids can play. It's the place where everyone gathers to talk about the day. Where there's something different going on all the time: A barbecue, a game of catch, a long afternoon chat with the neighbors. We've had some scandal and there's always gossip.  

It's not TV, it's our lives. Our writing gives meaning to the mundane and matter of fact. We are the chronicleers of everyday stuff, but we do it in a public place. We are the keepers of a new storytelling tradition, fueled by our desire to write and that alone. We are the ones who tell the tales of regular folks that will be passed down to the next generation, instead of lost to the passage of time. Our lives can no longer be dismissed as insignificant. We are keepers of a history that never used to be recorded in a meaningful way. But now lives on forever.    

This unique community that exists in the ether we call the internet has re-defined friendship too. Never have I been so close to so many people I haven't met.  

We write for each other the way we party with our families and our "real life" friends. When someone doesn't show up for awhile we fret and write about it. When relationships are troubled, we write about them, too. When we're annoyed by anything from the president to poison ivy, we write.

We share in a community that is bound together with a powerful glue -- words.  Our citizenship is based on nothing more. This is one place where your money is no good. Your job has no influence. And nobody cares what kind of car you drive.

We are what we write.  Period.  No complaints here.


mosie1944 said...

You almost have it right:  We write what we ARE!

meforevermore said...

First draft or not, I'm commenting.

Thriving on comments is the same for me. A little word of encouragement or just a "that was cute/funny/sad/true/whatever" is all I need to feel a little better about what I write. My little ego boost.

And yes, seeing certain people comment in my journal makes me thrilled. It's a wonderful feeling to see a person whose journal you admire left you a comment.

Really loved your entry. But don't I always? ;o)


gdireneoe said...

BRAVO!  Yours was one of the first I read when I came here...I've been reading ever since.  There is a brazen honesty (and usually humor) that accompanies the "shoot from the hip" approach.  You've got both.  That in itself makes for an interesting read.  You are our Sage Ms. L....we love it! ;)  C.

ksquester said...

Well Mrs L. You're rather pithy tonight! (I love that word pithy, don't you?) I enjoy reading you and all of your messages, sometimes hidden, almost always humorous.  I kind of figured you for a girl who knew the "art" of motorcycle maintenance!  Anne

sieblonde said...

Wait?!  We're supposed to have real life friends?   Damn.  I knew I was doing it wrong again.  I happen to think your writing is full of substance.   Everyday observances or opinions that make readers think.   That's substance if you ask me.  And without the abuse.  ~Sie

onemoretina said...

    I am always thrilled to find that somebody new has stopped by to visit.  I love my regulars, but when I open the door to a newcomer, I am always curious as to how they found their way to my place.  No matter.  They did ... and that's all that counts.  Glad I found my way here.   Tina

suzypwr said...

OK, you make me laugh.

Can I borrow some money?


jtuwliens said...

I suppose this is a fine time for me to come outta the woodwork and tell you I'm a huge fan of yours, and have been for a while.  You've made me think, and thank you very much for making me spit oatmeal on my laptop a time or two.  Do you know how crusty and impossible that is to get off when it dries?  Here's to you, Mrs. L,...from a long time reader, first time commenter.

bosoxblue6993w said...

they should have an award for comments ... the VULVIES.

bluwave9 said...

Game One of the Angels vs. White Sox tonight...the halos are coming to kick-ass in Chicago...bring it!!!!!


bluwave9 said...

Okay, now for my real comment.  You are one of three people I have on alert status, so obviously I enjoy what you have to say.  The whole "stream of consciousness" approach you take in each entry is what brings me back.  The way you managed to weave humor in with the entry about your mother's passing and the infamous "You've Got Male" entry are my personal favs.  Let's not forget the more recent entries on Harriet Miers.

You ask the hard questions, Mrs. L.  Keep rockin'.


screaminremo303 said...

I always thought of this place in similar terms, picturing a large never-ending cocktail party where on occasion someone has bit too much to drink and dances on a table, or gets into a fracas with some else. The food is always good, the conversation lively, none of us ever get a hangover, and you can show up in your underwear and no one gives a hoot.

ally123130585918 said...

I have only recently become a fan of yours- I like the way you do not mince your words - what you say comes from within you - at high speed - hence the FIRST DRAFT.....I think comments are a great way for us "writers" to know how others see us....So if you don't mind I shall come back....Ally

jevanslink said...

Okay everybody. You know that thing where women wave their hands in front of their face trying not to cry because it will smear their mascars?.  That's what I'm doing.  Mrs. L

gaboatman said...

Mrs. L
I like how you've summed up the J-Land experience.  I agree with your analogy to the Victorian porch.   I also like what Screamin said below about the ongoing coctail party where no one gets a hangover.  The sense of community here is strong and the friends I've made are just as real to me as my "real Life" friends.  The kicker is your last line, though!  That says it all and I agree.

robbush6 said...

Did Bosox just say, "vulvies?" Interesting concept, that.

It's funny how collectively chronicalling the mundane, insignificant details of our lives makes them somehow significant when taken as a whole. Think of the virtual time capsule this is. From broken pieces of pottery to, well, this. Look how far we've come, Sis. It boggles the mind (and the rear end).

dbp2000 said...

I love the sentiments you have expressed here and certainly recognize how this community has redefined my definition of friendship.  Thank you for expressing it so well!


judithheartsong said...

beautiful beautiful post and well said. You do shoot from the hip but are one of the most brilliant women I have ever known. Your light and spark makes your writing zing with life force.
I am so glad to call you my friend.

belfastcowboy75 said...

"We are what we write"? Did you have to say that right after I did an entry on personal buffoonery? Are you channeling the Grammy?

I would never have guessed that you feed off of comments. We privy journalers have no need for outside validation--nope, not us, no way. No, really.

Am I in line for a vulvae?

shaz19743 said...

"Its not TV its our lives "
Mrs L you are waayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than any tv could ever be ....more direct , more honest , more funny , more godammned entertaining but most of all Mrs L you are the REAL DEAL ......a truly remarkable , original , outstanding woman with a voice we all appreciate x

swibirun said...

After reading this, I didn't know whether to tell you that this entry "made me laugh" or to start a pissing contest with you, ha ha.  

I'll go with the pissing contest:  "I am not a writer of substance".  Bull hockey.  (Wait....Bulls - basketball, White Sox -  baseball, Bears - football, ahh yes...Blackhawks - hockey....okay, got it now).  To me, writing is like baseball.  No one bats 1,000.  If I have one good entry out of 3 or 4, I am happy.  You have made me think about many things and reconsider my position on a given topic a few times.  For example, when you first wrote about the response to Katrina, you challenged my thinking on a few things.  You don't always CHANGE my mind but I like that you cause me to reconsider.

You rock!


chasenkids said...

I love comments too! I am very guilty about not commenting as I usually read through alerts and/or at work.

I adore your journal. I find you so delightful and look forward to coming here and read what you write. You quickly became one of my favorites.


sistercdr said...

I simply love this!  My daughter nailed it right on the head when she said about you, "She makes me smile."  We are carrying on a tradition of storytelling and sharing our lives, and you recognized that so beautifully.  I used to be a hit counter junkie, then it got zapped, not once but three times, and comments became my drug of choice as well. Losing the hit counter turned out to be a good thing for me. Seeing certain names, and yours is one of them, makes my day.  Knowing that people can connect with something I think just gets to me.  I've got no complaints either

ahhliving said...

Elegantly Eloquent. Dalene of AHH at

jevanslink said...

Wow, you like me, you really like me!!  Mrs. Linklater is having a Sally Field moment here. So she'd just like to say, thank you, she had no idea this entry would spark this reaction.

mombzbe said...

I guess you can tell by all the comments left here how interested we all are in what you have to say.  :)
I always enjoy your entries, and when you aren't making me smile, I'm having to come up with new ways to clean my screen...because a loud guffaw sometimes is accompanied by a spray of beverage.
You'd think I'd learn by now, not to drink and read....  

somenuttychic said...

I'm speechless. No, that's incorrect. One word in particular comes to mind: Awesome.  

I've been quietly and contently hanging out under my rock for a while and decided to come out for air because . . . I don't know why. But I'm glad I did. Look what I would have missed???

Awesome. :-)    

onmiownnow2 said...

WOW!  You are a GREAT writer!  And, yes, you make me laugh, too!  Thanks!  Huggs!  Lisa