One of my favorite Lupe Fiasco songs is called “Words I Never Said”. He says, “you can’t take back the words you never said.” Reading Andrew Sullivan’s Why I Blog again reminds me of that line. A blogger lives on the hope that their courage to write honestly and with immediacy might outweigh the mistakes they will make by the nature of the medium. They push forward, letting other writers lie fault in the gaps in their work—in the words they never said. But I am still uncomfortable with this trade off.
It could be a confidence issue. After weeks of blogging, I am would not be comfortable with sharing my reactions to our assignments outside the community of our classroom. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a personal blog in the past, but I couldn’t get past how narcissistic it felt. But ironically enough, on my favorite tabs a few of my favorite blogs that I check religiously because I love the writer’s insights and commentary on life. So I think it might be the case that I’m too insecure about my writing to leave it open for the criticism that Sullivan talked about.
I did a presentation in my Praise and Blame class about a study that found women apologize more than men because they find a wider range of actions blameworthy. In my presentation, I focused on how that might effect power relations between men and women–if women are seen as the “morally worse” sex because they apologize more, and how a medium between men seeing too few actions as blameworthy and women seeing too many as blameworthy. I tried to make the presentation into a sample opinion column. Oh god, it was such a failure. It was SO DIFFICULT to “de-stuff”, make more superficial, and write in a light and interesting tone. It turned into an agonizing day long process of throwing out paper after paper.
In hopes to avoid that same experience, I am trying to reflect on Sullivan’s piece and find something to guide me for the re-purposing piece. Do I need to be more honest? Do I need to think less about what I am going to write and “write aloud” more? Do I need to let go of the worry about criticism? How do I break out of the form of the original piece and embrace a new form? Hopefully I can find some comfort in the fact that I can’t take back the words I never say.