Sunday, August 19, 2007

a dilly of a pickle

It's funny: I used to be quite open on this blog about the minutiae, the massive and even the slightly messy parts of my life. I know this because every now and again I'll read my archives for a given month over the past few years, and I realize my attitude towards blog-fodder was a little more lax than it is now. All writers want an audience, and a large one if they can get it; for blogs, it seems, once you have that audience, you realize it comes with some responsibility. Or at least, having to pay more attention to what you talk about and how, for your own sake.

Also, being in recovery makes me self-conscious. There, I've said it. It was a lot easier to go on and on about my daily doings when I was travelling to interesting, beautiful foreign countries or attending university on scholarship. I felt on top of the world, so I wrote like I did. Even if I didn't always feel fantastic, in general things were pretty good. Here's a secret: these days I don't exactly feel on top of the world. I'm taking time off from what used to be my life (school, volunteer activities, living on my own, generally being busy) so that my mind and body can heal. Maybe that part wasn't a secret, since I've talked about it a bit on here and certainly some readers are well aware of it. And like life before this sabbatical, there's a mix of good and bad days. However, I notice that now I ponder more what there is to talk about, and I fear my life -- a life which is smaller now, and more careful, much more personal -- will seem too small, not interesting. On the other hand, there's also the fear that comes from not knowing who's reading the blog; the larger the audience, the larger the possibility that people who actively dislike me might read it, and who might misuse or misunderstand what I'm willingly putting out here. Add all that up and you have one self-conscious writer, and I'm sure I'm not the first to find out that self-consciousness does not make for boundless creativity.

So I think about all this as I'm living my slower, more personal days, as I walk along the dirt roads that are bordered this time of year with goldenrod, purple thistle, "Stinking Willie" and my favorite, Joe-Pye weed. I think about writing for a shadowy, largely-unknowable audience, the quandaries that brings, and I wonder how the people who've blogged for twice as long as I have do it. How do they still come up with things that feel fresh and new to them? How do they stand not knowing who is reading their oh-so-personal missives, yet keep it personal just the same? I've talked about it with other blogging friends, and we all seem to come to the same conclusions: there's a trade-off, and some can deal with it, and some can't. Some bloggers pull up stakes and leave blog-town, still writing in some form in their lives, but no longer in the public domain. Others keep on tapping the keys, and pondering how they feel about the whole business, like me.

For now, I'm staying in cyberspace, and sticking with "huminbean", because at the moment, the pleasure outweighs the pain, pain in this case being self-consciousness. The pleasure, by the way, comes from you folk who comment, and comment constructively. I hope the ratio stays that way.


Other "dill pickle" related news:

So far, Mission: Dill is going well. This is the mission my mother inadvertently started in early summer when she got the idea that I, being an avid fan of pickled cucumbers flavored with dill, ought to try making some of my own. We know a farmer who can supply us with loads of fresh, organic cukes, and another who grows dill. We grow our own garlic. We have Mason jars, and lids.

So we wrote down two famous recipes: Otis's (his is famous on the North Shore, especially for his love of garlic) and Frank's (the beekeeper who will give us some of his abundant crop of cucumbers). We've also bought pickling vinegar, peppercorns,and pickling salt, although I will admit we bought them from SuperStore, owned by Loblaws. Yes, an American corporation with shady business tactics and an undeniable contributor to people's dependence on fossil-fuel-shipped edibles, not to mention global warming. But, being human and not saints, we do some of our shopping there, in the name of saving time. So that's where we picked up those two components of Mission: Dill.

So far, so good. One thing I know for sure: dealing with vegetables is a lot less of a quandary than that time-honored question, "To Blog, or Not To Blog?" I guess in both cases, time will tell.
Credit where credit is due: The stylish shot of dills is thanks to this site.

Blog Archive