Once upon a time I wrote a lot on narrative and narratology. Perhaps I will again once the kids are a little older and I can snatch longer than ten minutes at a time to sit down at a keyboard. In my Masters thesis I wrote, “Narrative is a process of repeating or recovering ground that has already occurred, if not in fact, then in the mind.”
If you’ve been blogging long enough, perhaps you’ve experienced the sort of feeling I’m having right now when, as you sit down to write a post that is intended to be serious or ‘thinky’ (as I like to say lightly), you’re struck by the fear that you’ve written it down before, in post(s) long archived. This is when you perhaps find yourself in a storyteller’s bind, or if you were Freud he’d think this repetition was indicative of the desire to move “passivity to mastery”.
Yesterday I was interviewed about all things blogging – speaking from the literary perspective (i.e the publication of Miscellaneous Voices) and from my ‘mummy blogger’s’ viewpoint. It was interesting to try and stand back from what I write here as a ‘parent’ and what ‘I’ (Karen) think about things. As parent bloggers, why do we write? To celebrate our children? To endorse our choices as parents, or posit ourselves against the choices of other parents? To be honest and say when we’re proud (or dismayed) of our actions at certain times? Ultimately I wondered, and still do: what can we learn from our blogging? Does it make us better people/parents?
Lately, to keep Riley amused in the car, I’ve asked him to point out things as we pass them. “Look over there, Riley! What colour car is that?”
“I don’t want to play this game!”
“Look at that building! What do you think it’s made of?”
I look in the rear view vision mirror to see he’s put his hands over his ears. “I DON’T WANT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS!”
I remember – as will my sister – the road trips we went on as we grew up, where our mother asked similar questions. As she is a science teacher (and an amateur geologist, in her youth) she would point out rock formations as we passed them. (“Look at those, girls!”) I still remember groaning, but I’m glad she pointed them out, even if I don’t remember anything about them. As a family, we didn’t talk very much, I think I can say that without fearing censure. Then this week I received an email from a family member, recounting memories of my father and grandfather. I sat there reading this brand-new information, weeping in front of my son, part-sad, part-disappointed I didn’t know any of this before now. The doors of communication, of insight, pass by us all too quickly. These sliding doors are everywhere. Voices are voices, and they can be lost.
This is why I blog. It carves out a moment, an event, and holds it for posterity.