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To blog or not to blog…

Posted by on June 12, 2014


I have not posted on this blog for awhile now. While I occasionally have begun to frame a piece, I have not gotten around to the writing. It seems that I get caught between the urge to get it all down and the wish to let it all go. And if I must write, why not just keep a diary or journal? This would be infinitely more practical, as I could engage in diatribes that only I would see. I could write on some of the things that I tend to avoid on a more open forum. I could be a crank, a barnyard philosopher, and a fool of six different flavors and I would not be embarrassing myself in front of my friends and family.

There are some topics with which my mind waltzes around now and again, topics which have been central to my life, yet ones which I have thus far avoided: youthful indiscretions, failures of character, moments of regret, a divorce. If I chose to write about my experience at Happy Valley School, I am sure that I could conjure unending stories, though many of them are personal to students and teachers, so perhaps theirs to blog. I suppose that  I could write only positive memories, perhaps less incriminating pieces, but for some reason it is the outlandish, the sometimes salacious or at least bizarre that stick in my memory or call out to be framed. Perhaps I can get past all that and focus on lessons learned, moments of small triumph, insight, or simply learning. Yet part of me knows if I got into writing HVS  I would have to eventually write about the circumstances of my leaving, the loss that I felt, that Meredy felt, my deep disappointment in some people and perhaps in human nature in general and that pain remains raw to this day.

It does not help that I am part curmudgeon, sometimes content to observe, critique, and parody the world, sniping from my chair at this and that like the old fart that I am slowly becoming. On other days I am Pollyanna, rhapsodizing about dogs and gardens, and the simple pleasures of life. Yet both of these affects tend to get boring fast, somehow lacking the meat of what I hope to get at here. But what is that meat? Do I feel as if writing the stories will somehow slowly reveal the truth of my life? Will “getting it out” facilitate “letting it go”? Are these memories and reflections so ephemeral that the writing of them might capture their existence, frame them on a page? But to whom are they important besides me? It is always hard to tell who is reading this stuff. While I get very little feedback on the blog itself….sometimes if I post to Facebook, I will get a couple of comments there…I can be standing in the market or at a party and some acquaintance will offer that they love reading my blog. At this, I feel both grateful and shocked, as if I just realized that I accidently exposed myself.

I was laughing with a friend the other night about the time that a famously eccentric HVS science teacher was showing the school his slideshow from a backpack trip and suddenly the room gasped as a slide of him bathing naked in a stream (rear view) lit up the wall and forever etched itself on the brains of several dozen teenagers. He remarked: “I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. It is merely a buttocks.”   I suppose that this blogging is much the same. It is my memories and reflections. We all have them. Mine are nothing special. If I continue to do this, perhaps I will just consider it like skinny dipping in time.

11 Responses to To blog or not to blog…

  1. Richard Robinson

    “Mine are nothing special.” I have to disagree. You are a person of experience, integrity, introspection,observation, well educated and well read. You have many sides and share at least several of these. In addition, of course, I know you and shared very important years of my life with you with a shared purpose. I learn more of myself and of the world around me by reading your stories and your thoughts.

    U rite gud!

    • drice

      Very kind words, Richard. We did indeed share some interesting times…but dare we tell the stories?

  2. Nomi Morris

    Dennis, I was very interested to read this as I have just set up a personal website and a blog, with the intention of posting pieces of writing from my trip across the country this summer. But I am ambivalent. I have always been a professional, and my work has gone through an editor before appearing in a mainstream publication. In this form, it is self-published without an editor. At the same time, it is a good opportunity to flex the writing muscle and come up with a body of work – and alas, I have never been in the habit of doing that in a private journal or diary. I am choosing to think of it not as a blog – weblog – that must be kept up daily so the media beast will be fed, but rather as a page to feature writing without going through submitting it to an editor or a journal. Makes me feel vulnerable. But there is no question that it is writing for the mainstream public – it’s is a form of unedited journalism or publishing. We can hope it finds its intended audience. p.s. I enjoy reading your writing – however raw.

    • drice

      Thank you, Nomi. I do not blog daily. I write when I am moved to put something down…warts and all. As I look at it more like a conversation between friends, I accept the fact…and I assume my readers do…that the piece is not going to be publisher perfect. Additionally, I am not a good editor of my own writing. I can read over an obvious error several times without noticing. In fact, I can carefully screen a piece, publish it, only to read it on the site and then see the errors. So I would highly recommend that all readers have a glass of wine or otherwise chill out as they read. Usually, you will get what I am trying to say despite the goofs.

  3. Kyra Riddell

    From an outside perspective, you are a collector of stories with an astute memory for verbiage. I love hearing the stories and my heart delights in nostalgia and aspects of your life I haven’t known or wasn’t old enough to be cogniscent of. Like Richard said, you have a great sense if humor and I appreciate your many sides, except when you’re daydreaming rather than listening. ;)))

    However, I can completely relate to the shock and dismay/pleasure when an acquaintance or friend approaches me about something personal I’ve posted on FB. Quick reality check!

    Yet, I will say that perhaps blogging is the modern ritual of oral storytelling. Rather than keeping warm around a buzzing blue screen imagine your audience lit up by the glow of a crackling fire and enlightening stories! Keep writing… The real and the raw! I suppose clothes are good too sometimes.

  4. Michele Montgomery

    Dennis: I wholeheartedly agree with everything Richard and Kyra so eloquently stated. Every word is true. I too love and look fwd to reading your blog. Your wit and wisdom always captivate me.. You and Lane and Andrew all had an important and vital role in helping me shape and discover who I am at such a fragile time in so many of our lives. The respect you earned from all your students directly relates to the stories and opinions you share with us today. Your opinions, philosophies and shared memories are indeed special.. Please don’t hesitate when it comes to your blog! And thank you for the effort and openness that you share. As far as writing about HVS and the unsettled feelings you hold onto, it can only help you to write about them. Even if no one else ever reads it, it’s time to let go of the unsettled ending and focus on the memories of all the lives you touched during your time there. Geesh…Some of humanity disappoints me everyday, but it is the people who are a blessing to me and this world are who I choose to focus on. And you are one of those blessings–even from afar!

    • drice

      Michelle, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am very touched. Lane and Andrew also hold special places in my heart.

  5. Michele Montgomery

    My point about writing down your memories to help move past the disappointment– i know you know is a fabulous remedy.. Not to mention, You wouldn’t enjoy writing this blog if it didn’t make feel lighter afterwards, no? Please know you’re a special soul, and may you find peace in that . 🙂

  6. nikki

    I discovered the romantic side of you Dennis, reading your posts. I think that is marvelous, to learn a deeper side of a long time acquaintance. As for the polished perfectly edited nature of writing, I wouldn’t worry about that. I read an opinion in the Wall Street Journal that asked what happened to the American novel. The mainstream published works have become lifeless and grim. Don’t be self-conscious about your work. It is lovely. Those still waters run deep.

  7. anne briandet

    I think I “often” wrote you that I enjoy reading your blogs, and when I don’t, it’s sometimes by fear that I may be intruding, and that you might wonder why on earth I am reading you!

    As Richard puts it, u rite gud! And whenever you write, it brings me to one of the happiest times of my life, and it makes me put things into perpective, somewhat. A little bit like when I had you during philosophy class.

    However, I understand about not really be able to write EVERYTHING on here, so maybe you can have a diary, but please don’t stop because I had noticed that your blogs were getting scarce, and I was missing them!


  8. Dian

    Hi Dennis

    You once wrote
    ” The superior person brings
    the good things in others to completion
    The inferior person does just the opposite”
    You are a superior person and friend.

    Right back at you
    These words helped build my character
    And I thank you
    So keep the words coming

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