At the present, according to Weebly (which grossly overestimates web traffic), about 80 people visit this blog a day. This probably really means that I get about a third that amount—perhaps even less—but still, it’s more than read it when I wasn’t doing much with it. No, there’s definitely been an uptick in web traffic, which means that people actually take the time to check out what I’m writing.
I’m actually a bit stunned by this, because it may very well mean that some people may even look forward to reading my writing each day…maybe even someone I don’t know, and have never met. The reason I’m stunned is that though I write so as not to waste someone’s time, I write, above all, to write.
What I’m saying is that these essays are exercises. Some people write in bursts, laying off entirely for days, and then plunging in to whatever writing project is at hand. I’m just not one of those people.
No, I need to write every day, and because my journal writing seemed self-indulgent, I vowed to write something every day that I would share with other people. This meant that my writing would change, because I always had to be facing the fact that someone else was reading it, someone who was giving me a sliver of their life that they would never get back. This changes everything.
Yes, I write about my personal trials and tribulations, but certain things that I write in my journal just don’t work when I write them for others. There are sentences that are replete with obsessions and ruminations, and they often feel like the secondary definition for rumination, which involves a cow chewing its cud. Journal writing, it seems, is for chewing and regurgitating, allowing everything to move through four stomachs, sometimes more; writing for others, on the other hand, is about serving up a final product after its gone through that process.
I realize that this basically means that I’m saying that these essays are refined vomit, but the unfortunate truth is, when we read someone else’s carefully chosen words, that’s exactly what we’re taking in. We willingly eat honey, and there are many times that writers have compared well crafted words to honey. Yet honey is, basically, bee vomit, and when writing, it is good to remember that.
We want the honey, not the process that went into it. We don’t want the journey to the flowers, and the digestive process of the worker; we want the final product. Journal writing is about gathering the pollen, and letting it work its way through the digestive system; writing for others is about serving up the final product.
So basically, what I’m saying is that whenever I write for others, I’m serving up tasty vomit. Sometimes, I like to write about the pollen I’ve collected, the books and films and tv shows and music and radio shows and art and dance and whatever else that I’ve taken into my system. Journal writing, however, is where I process all this stuff; these essays are, above all, exercises in which I try to chuck up something worth reading.
Journal writing is the contents of a bee’s stomach when its going to work on all that stuff, and essay and story writing is about the final product, that stuff that, if my rudimentary knowledge of entomology is accurate, workers serve to larva.
I try mightily to turn away from the phrase “tasty vomit,” but I am unable. These daily exercises are an attempt to do just that. And perhaps, if I keep doing them, I will serve up vomit so appetizing that people will search for a word that, like so many in the English language, glosses over the naked truth of a thought or situation. Hence the word “honey” instead of “bee vomit.”
Similarly, the word “milk”—as in “the milk of human kindness”—is really a much more palpable way of saying…oh, never mind. You get the idea. Whatever grotesque analogous mental secretion this is, it’s what I do, and instead of offering you a souvenir of the digestive process, I offer, each day, a sample of the final results of my rumination and digestion.
So bon appétit. Enjoy your meal.