Friday, 1 April 2011
"Blogging Is Dust"
Or so my creative writing teacher says. We are not friends.
If anyone could do with this wonderfully stimulating community of friends, she could. Living in 'Long-Suffering-in-the-Mud", a hamlet of a dozen farm cottages and one large farm, with neither pub nor shop, housebound with three small children, with a neighbour in the immediately attached cottage who makes it her business to measure, to the inch, where cars visiting the teacher's cottage park - on an otherwise completely empty and car-free muddy country lane - you'd think she'd greet the benefits of modern communication with a grateful tear in her eye.
Not so. I made the mistake of telling her that I blog and called the wrath of the scorned woman down upon my innocent head. Teacher sees herself as a bit of a poet. Not just a bit, but a published poet, with no less than three publishing contracts. All I needed to do was to check out Amazon or Virago, she said, and I'd find her. I checked, no teacher. That may be entirely due to my lack of tracking expertise; when I asked for enlightenment in the form of an url, I got no reply.
Teacher has, in the past, had a blog herself. She tried it for a while and found that she did little else but bitch and moan, she said. She found that friends who had blogs used them to fill in the gaps between 'proper' writing jobs. (Personally, I think trying to keep a blog going with interesting posts, is no mean feat. I should know.) She also found that criticism was unwanted, that blogging is primarily for 'stroking' egos. I concede, she may have a point there, but nobody forces anyone to pour lavish praise on blogs they don't really value. Actually, that would indeed be a silly waste of time and pretty pointless.
When I tried to defend writing a blog, mentioning some of the interesting people I have 'met' this way, she threw them straight back at me: "what are you doing here then, if you have access to and communicate with people whose writing you value so highly?" she asked, thereby making it personal.
Now I have to tell you, what "Here" in this context means: 'Here' is a kitchen in this small cottage in Long-Suffering-In-The-Mud, a kitchen table big enough for four students - three ladies well into middle-age and an elderly gent, who is also teacher's father - and a cat walking all over the table. This being rural England, you have to have a tea break in the two-hour session; tea breaks and gossip go together, so, taking into consideration a delayed start due to teacher having to finish her make-up, finish kneading bread rolls for dad or finishing off a conversation with a friend, who is not a member of the class, 'Here' means a very unprofessional total of max. one hour twenty minutes concentrated work.
I could forgive all that quite easily, we are in the sticks here with few options open; perhaps she was a professional who has fallen on hard times and is trying to make ends meet. But this was not the only occasion I felt attacked personally - not my work, me - and I had already begun to feel uncomfortable on previous occasions. She was so vehement about blogging being 'dust' that she managed not only to knock my confidence but also make me question the pleasure I get from blogging.
For the past two weeks I have spent far less time online than I usually do, have not visited as many blogs and posted fewer posts than before. You may not believe this, but Friko's confidence is a very delicate plant, easily damaged and it has taken me some time to prop it up again.
I have decided to keep on blogging for as long as I enjoy it and give up this particular class instead. The Easter holidays are about to start and I shan't go back for the new term.