The blog went dark over the last month, and I plan on rebuilding its momentum. For over a year I had at least an entry a week, but I have not posted since late October. It is not that I haven’t been writing, but somehow I slipped out of the routine of posting. I wrote a prayer for our Thanksgiving service, I wrote a brief devotional on Psalm 23 (that I may post later this afternoon), I wrote letters, and I have been working on a longer poem—it is far from ready for public display, however, and in fact, it may remain forever private. All the different purposes for which I write have temporarily ceased to intersect appropriately in blog entries, but I feel an intensifying drive to get back to it. I miss the discipline the blog takes, and I miss the demand it places on me to organize my thinking on a number of different topics. The blog has helped me to be more purposeful in my work and in my living—perhaps I have been a bit adrift without it.
That said, as I have been working on the poem, I have been reminded time and again of the necessity of not feeling obligated to share everything or to share something before it is ready, before it has a purpose that includes an audience. Interestingly, I have been good at telling my students about the powerful role of expressive writing—writing we do to think, to sort out, to leave unfinished; however, I have not been as good in the last year and a half or so of taking that good advice. Some personal blogs seem to seek a space that lives between writing expressively and transactionally—writing that has an audience such as is necessary for transactional writing but yet is still without a polished form or function, as is characteristic of expressive writing. For me, however, this blog, Ross All Over the Map, is full of transactional artifacts. While blog entries can be personal, having an audience is essential to them.
I guess this all leads to that conclusion that I need both forms of writing. Some of it is not only “not ready for prime time,” but it is never intended to be ready for a wide audience, while other writing that I do benefits from the recognition that others will see and evaluate what I have written. I am looking forward to get back on track with the blog in the coming weeks.