Sunday, October 31, 2004

Culling and Kissing

Although I was a geography teacher by education, training, and experience, I also spent a few years teaching high school English. Those were some of the best teaching years of my life. It wasn't all due to the subject, I'm sure, but part of it certainly was. It was also the stage of my life or career, the school, the students, and the staff that all converged in a kind of synchronicity to make it a memorable and fulfilling time.

I got as far as team-teaching a large, senior, university-bound, writers class (or writers' class if you prefer the possessive). The course was ostensibly designed to supply some of the better and more dedicated student writers with the opportunity to hone their fledgling skills without getting involved with all of the other distractions that become part of the traditional English course. What really happened was that a lot of weak students took the course, mistakenly seeing it as a sort of remedial opportunity or because they thought that it would be a bird course. (Do they still use that term?)

Early in the course, we examined some material from an accomplished, premiere, Canadian author: various drafts and edits of a small portion of his work. This absolutely amazed me: to see how much effort he invested in revising and editing. You see, I had never been trained to do this: either that or I was too preoccupied with kissing frogs in my juvenile years. All of the way through university, for example, I would write a paper and submit it: wouldn't bother to proof or edit in any way. Now, I can't even do that with a blog, but, having said that, I am probably still quicker and less careful than some of you are. I get an idea, and, if I have time, I sit down and pound out a blog — like now for instance.

My wife blogs from time to time. Her style is different; her blogs are longer; and, she ruminates and fusses over them. She writes a bit, puts them away for a while, and writes some more. Not me: not often anyway.

Another note, I think from the same author but perhaps not, was a statement something like this: "One of the hardest things for a writer to do is to kill his own children." By that, of course, he meant that you can expend quite a bit of energy on project, task, or even a chapter, and have to toss it on the heap because of some deficiency that you just can't get past. The pieces that we write become, in a sense, our children, but we sometimes have to part with them regardless, and that can be hard to do.

So it is that I noted last night that my blog count was getting up there, hovering around eighty. It seemed to me, if you'll pardon the metaphoric shift, that it was time to cull the herd. Actually, it wasn't hard to find about twenty blogs that begged to be put out of their misery. A few others barely made the cut.

Part of it is in the nature of the beast. Sometimes, we (or I) post a blog primarily because it feels as though our time is up: like it's just time to post something, indeed anything, if we're really going to keep a blog going. Sometimes, I post a bit a trivia about some little thing that occurs on a given day. Sometimes, my topics simply have a short shelf-life. Whatever the reason, I certainly had some less than stellar blogs that simply didn't deserve to occupy their cyber-space, even if the space is free and even if Google has tons of both it and money to spare.

I don't venture into politics much, but any blog of that ilk became a casualty last night. The blog preceding this one is a prime example of one that has a short shelf-life and must shortly be sacrificed. I kept all of my essential blogs — those that contain a modest modicum of reflection — and most of my photo blogs. The time to part with some of the photos will come, but I can't bring myself to shoot them yet: if you'll pardon the unintentional pun.

Speaking of photos, following is a picture of one of the many frogs that I kissed in high school (see paragraph three above) when I should have been paying attention to my lessons but seldom was. Sadly, my kisses lacked fantastical powers, and the amphibians remained confined to their lowly states of being. I kept hoping that a royal transformation would occur, but frogs remain frogs in my world. Kind of a cute little thing, but I have grown up, attend to my lessons, and don't kiss frogs anymore.

Sad that!



K-Squared said...

I wed through mine too, but Part of blogging for me is therapy, just to put out in words my thoughts or feelings, I'm trying to get better at articulating my feelings......somedays it goes better than others. to each their own. Sadly, the frogs never changed for me either.

Steve said...

This is a wonderful blog. I disagree with you, however, when it comes to the future of political blogs. I can promise you that American liberals will continue to fight for peace and justice. There is too much at stake to just roll over and concede to the prevailing conservative monopoly.

Anvilcloud said...

Thanks for the comments folks.

Steve, I don't think I made myself very clear. I have nothing against political blogs and read a few. They're just not the main focus of this blog, and I didn't wish to keep the ones that I had written.