Although I took another sick day from work today (mainly because the combination of congestion, occasional out-of-breath coughing fits, and cold medicine left me dizzy enough that I was a bit afraid to drive), I'm feeling much better now. Thanks to all who have sent good wishes. This cold has kicked my butt more than said butt has been kicked in years.
Some random thoughts on blogs and blogging:
1. There are a heck of a lot of "serious" poets out there. This is not news to me, but reading a bunch of blogs drives the point home a bit. Sometimes this is a comforting thing, feeling like I'm part of a pretty big community. Sometimes, though, it makes me wonder why I bother -- what I have to add that's anywhere near unique. It's the same feeling I get sometimes when wandering through a bookstore: wow, look at all these amazing books -- why on earth do I want to add to this overpopulation? Isn't it amazing how many different ways one can find to try to sabotage oneself? In the end, I think, time spent reading/blogging at least helps keep poetry forefront in my mind, which is probably a good thing.
2. On a related note, I've decided that the temptation to spend time reading blogs rather than reading poems, or (now here's a novel concept) actually writing, is very much like what happens in a writing group when you catch yourselves spending more time socializing than working. The problem arises only because so many writers are just darned interesting people to hang out with, whether virtually or in person, so it's kind of a lovely problem to have -- but I need to regain some discipline and get more "real work" done, even if it does mean tearing myself away from this and other online communities a bit.
3. I'm pitifully un-well-read. It amazes me how many people can practically quote entire poems by a wide range of poets, as well as speaking intelligently and in-depth about them; sometimes I feel like even when I've read a book and paid attention to it, it just doesn't stick in my brain somehow. I think writing about what you read helps, as does discussing what you read with others who've also just read the same work, and this is one reason I'm attracted to MFA programs. When I think about doing an MFA, it's probably only half about the writing -- I also love the thought of being dragged into reading stuff I might never have approached otherwise, and having the opportunity to write about/discuss what I read. I know, I could write mini-reviews of books I've read here on this blog, but it's not the same. I loved the reading I did in Cathy Bowman's class a couple of years ago -- including work that would have completely scared me off had I tried it on my own, like Stephanie Strickland's, which I ended up enjoying a great deal. (What does this have to do with blogging? Oh, not much, I guess, except that every now and then I read someone's blog and they mention a poet or a poem and I find myself envying how they're able to talk about that.)
4. I love reading about others' reactions to rejections and acceptances. In my little local poetry community, most of my writer friends don't put much effort into sending stuff out and trying to get published. I'm not sure why it's so much more important to me than it is to them, and I'm not sure it's entirely healthy for it to be so important to me, but there you have it. Anyway, I enjoy hearing from those who are also in the business of getting their work "out there" and this is a community I've found only online.
5. That said, in many ways I think Livejournal is better for community building. I like how it handles comments -- if you choose to have comments emailed to you, you are also notified when someone responds to a comment you've posted on someone else's journal, which is nice; I also like how it threads comments. And there are several communities within LJ that I enjoy. "Communities" are like group blogs; you can join (sometimes you have to be approved to join, and sometimes you just sign up) and then post to that community/blog. One of the LJ communities I like is "greatpoets," which is solely for the posting of poems selected by community members (not their own work). Sometimes the poems chosen reflect the demographics of LJ (a lot of people in their late teens/early twenties), but I've run across a lot of really cool poems there. Another fairly new one is "submit2005," in which people post about their experiences with sending out their writing -- acceptances, rejections, frustrations, questions. I know the popular stereotype of Livejournal is that it's all teenage angst and drama, but I have a number of talented, interesting writers (and other people) on my friends list.
That's enough random thoughts for one evening. Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is (or where my typing is, I guess) and settle in to do some reading. After I finish my chicken soup, that is.