14 July 2010


The First Basket of Leftovers

Never mind nice, drawn-out introductions to essays. All you need to know is that I had cause to revisit my old blog recently and was stunned at the quality of writing I found there. It was actually quite good. Beautiful, even. And believe it or not, I sounded intelligent and worth reading.

But you'd never know it from the way I write these days, would you? Why, a few nights ago, I got into an argument with a friend about whether blogging counts as "real" writing. I used to think so; I no longer do.

Since it is by choice that I am no longer writing the way I used to, I really shouldn't be sad about it. Besides (I tell myself), another thing that I no longer am is neurotic. While I was keeping that other blog active, I was regularly visited by the thought that anyone who admired my writing would hate the "real" me--and when that thought didn't come calling at all, I would ring it up to remind it that it was late.

And suddenly the best thing thing about this blog--the fact that nobody hangs around here thinking that my writing will improve him--is rapidly turning into the worst thing about this blog. My new neurosis just introduced itself: it is the nagging thought that Shredded Cheddar is just a big waste of time.

No, not your time, dear readers; but my time. I really have to start writing properly again . . .

Yet I wonder if that is possible on a book blog that is sometimes also a Horror blog. I am reminded of the expression, "A writer in a library is like a eunuch in a harem." No, it's not a good analogy at all, judging by the fact that it never "went viral," as we digital creatures now say of old saws: indeed, I've only read it once, and in a book that, from the look of it, never became a best-seller--or even a good seller. For if anything, a writer in a library is like a eunuch in a day-care centre . . . or if you prefer, an old maid in a tutorial centre. (One day, I will have no dignity left, and it will be all my own fault.)

But really, writing about books, which is an easy way to be a blogger, is hardly a good way to be a writer.


Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

Are you fishing? If so let me be the first to say that you always sound intelligent no matter your topic.

You don't just write about books and I find your blog and writing very relevant. Your writing on Shredded Cheddar is leagues above mine so I'm stunned you would find it lacking.

I do get what you mean about 'real' writing but can't you do both-- and be even more fulfilled than just writing one way-- it is better to be well rounded than narrow in all things--in my opinion anyway.

You know how annoying booksnobs and bookbullies can be--Don't be a self-imposed writing snob or bully. In other words, quit beating yourself up!

Enbrethiliel said...


No, I'm not fishing--but thank you, anyway. =)

I think I'm the type of person who'd have niggling doubts no matter what kind of writing she does. But I have been feeling unsatisfied with my output lately, and with no mentor to be critical of (yet kind to) me, I need to be my own blog bully! =P

(In the meantime, I've also been getting my next tournament bracket ready--a musical one!--which is not "real" writing by my bully standards, so I'm not too down. But thanks again for your encouragement, Lesa.)

Dauvit Balfour said...

I often think the mark of a good 'blog is one that is frequently updated with digestible pieces. I enjoy Shredded Cheddar, though I agree the writing isn't as good as on The Old One.

The problem with 'blogging as a style (and I'm shooting offhand here, so I might miss the mark) is that writing frequently and briefly does not lend itself to writing with care and passion (though even that is no guarantor of good writing).

I think that, for writing to really be good, it must have meaning for the author. Music played for others will never sound as sweetly as music played for oneself, so it is also with words.

Not that I think you don't have a passion for books, but I do think the memeticism (a word, I swear; red squigglies be damned) might sap the soul, while at the same time providing a good means of nourishing the readership (does this make the reader a vampire and writing your blood...?).

Perhaps you are right, too, that writing about books is somehow inherently... um, I'm not sure what words to put in your mouth. Anyhow, the play about a play thing never works as well as we like to think it will.

I wonder if it is possible to write in a human (and therefore catholic) way without being explicitly catholic. To explore meaning and beauty and ideas without drawing a swarm of keyboard wielding apologists. With your history, maybe not.

You could always go meta and start talking about literature and language and words and ideas in the abstract. If you like those things. I do. I'd read them. They may not be in the spirit of this 'blog, though.

Well, that's my rambling for the night. God speed your fingers and grant you a quick mind and sharp... word processor.

Enbrethiliel said...


Blogging is definitely a style of writing that is sometimes compatible with other, more "highbrow" styles.

Memeticism is a great word, by the way. What was I doing without it??? What I love about so-called "bookish" memes is that they allow me to write about books without actually reviewing them. I don't find reviews very interesting either to read or to write (though I will sometimes make the effort for both activities). But there is something stifling about keeping a book blog, after keeping that other sort of blog, which is why I cram the place up with movies and music and everything else I can find. Which is both fun and meaningful to me; otherwise, I wouldn't do it at all.

But the loss I feel most is that of the silver thread of one great meaning running through everything. A sense of integrity, if you will. At the end of this blog's run, I want to be able to gather all my best posts and know what to answer when asked, "What is the moral of their story?"

Jillian said...

My first reaction to this is, I must really be a bad writer then if E thinks she's a bad writer-blogger. However, I do see where you are coming from. If I compare my writing when I blog and my writing when I am actually "writing," they're completely different from each other. Blogging asks more of a natural style, almost as if you're talking with friends. It's not formal, just conversational.

Honestly though, it doesn't matter. If you get your point across clearly in the way that you yourself want it to, then nothing else should matter. Whether it's 'Real' writing or 'Blog' writing, they're still words.

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks to you, too, Jillian! *hug*

I really didn't mean to make everyone else look askance at her own writing/blogging. It's just that I know I haven't been on top of my game lately and it has really been bothering me. More than it would bother most others, so please don't let my crazy standards be your own!

Moreover, as soon as I hit "Publish" on this post, I immediately felt better and all these worries stopped being a real issue. I still don't know where to go next, but putting everything down on virtual paper was a step in the right direction.

As I told someone else recently, "Writing is like a toilet plunger . . ." (LOL! Do you want me to finish that? I will anyway!) ". . . As soon as I unclog my drain of thoughts, everything starts to flow freely again."

Hmmmm. Maybe I should have just written of writing as a corkscrew and my thoughts as a bottle of champagne?

Sullivan McPig said...

Blogging is only a waste of time if you don't like doing it. If you enjoy working on your blog it's never a waste of time and you can always do 'serious' writing next to blogging. It's what my owner does.

Enbrethiliel said...


Your owner and I should get together sometime! ;-)

But I do take my blogging seriously, and like Lesa, don't much care for the snobs who look down on this style of writing. Right now I'm just flailing about for a way to find common ground between my serious writing and my blogging; this post reflects several weeks of frustration at not being able to do it. But more breakthroughs are coming (I think publishing this finally broke the dam) and I'm looking forward to what I will write in the future.

Thanks again, Sully! =)

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

I think that blogging fits into the quantity-vs-quality debate, and while a lot of short bursts of creativity make a good blog, they don't necessarily lend themselves to "real" writing. One thing I like about blogging and reading other peoples' blogs, though, is that even if the writing isn't the best we've ever done, it can still inspire thoughts we've never thought before. We're growing and changing, but in many ways it's internal rather than external.

Enbrethiliel said...


Hi, Lindsay! =) I'd say my own inner debate is about "good quality vs. bad quality." As I've said, I know I've done better before and believe I can do much better than I'm doing now.

And it ties into that internal thing you mention, as well. I think of my writing as something that helps me grow and doesn't just trace the growth while it's independently happening; and I haven't been seeing much of that in the recent past, either.

Now excuse me while I find a book to blog about before Shredded Cheddar turns into a movie blog! =P