October 20th, 2005

cocked and loaded


There are so many things I don't write about. Sometimes it makes me wonder who I'm kidding with this journal.

I don't write about work, really.
I don't write much about my husband and how we interact, at least not any intimate details.
I try not to write things that would hurt someone if they read them.
I never write about television or the shows I watch...mostly because I don't. Watch, that is.
It's rare that I talk in detail about a bad day or what caused it, especially if there are other people involved.
I don't write about my opinions concerning religion or politics or hot-button subjects like abortion or capital punishment.
I don't write about the skeletons in my closet.

Sometimes I feel like that doesn't leave me with much. I wonder at times, who's reading this? Why are people reading my natterings about my kids, my impressions of life as an expat, my enthusiasm about singing or the turning of the seasons, the books I'm reading. I get filled with self-doubt, and it bubbles up, black and oily, and threatens to spill over. The thing is, I know I'm a good writer, but I sometimes don't think I have anything worth writing ABOUT.

Some people are born to write novels, to write books, to fill pages with well-researched and well-crafted tomes on every subject under the sun. I've always been better at crafting sentences. A paragraph. Poems, and once in awhile, a short story or an essay. Little things.

One thing from my childhood that has stuck with me even as an adult is my love of small things. I received a shadowbox as a gift as a pre-teen and carefully filled it during our years in Europe with little keepsakes from the places we visited and the places we lived; things that could fit within a square no more than 2x3 inches at the largest. Even now, tiny things fascinate me. Miniature animals and objects, diminutive curios, bitty baubles, tiny trinkets. It fascinates me that people can make things on such a small scale, with such detail. I still have somewhere an article I saved when I was about 13, along with its accompanying photographs, about an artist who carved sculptures in human hair and on grains of rice. He had carved an entire soccer game of figures along a human hair. You had to look at it with a microscope.

When we visited Mora, Sweden a couple of years ago and toured the dala horse factory, the only souvenir I really had to have was the teeny-tiny dalahorse, painted in minute and perfect detail, that was no bigger than the fingernail on my little finger (and the dalamoose, of course).

I think there is a tendency to consider small things as not being worth as much as large ones, when often the opposite is, in fact, the truth. But that slippery doubt-bubble causes me, far too often, to dismiss my own scribbles as not big enough, not advanced enough, not ENOUGH. It's funny, when I put such value on the petite, that I forget to value it in myself. And obviously, there are others out there who also appreciate the little things, at least in writing, or I wouldn't have the readership that I do, (which readership, frankly, never fails to amaze me. Thank you).

Really, when you think about it, isn't the whole blog and online journal phenomenon our way of catering to and lapping up the small things?? It's perfect for the MTV generation. :P I can take my reading in bite-size doses! And I can write in scattershot and firecracker bursts of enthusiasm, too. One sentence, one paragraph at a time.

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: In Which I Call the Police

More Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: When Autumn Leaves