All Quiet on the Blogging Front

At some point every single day during the last few weeks, I’ve considered how long it’s been since I posted here and I wonder, what can I write about?  It occurs to me that I’ve yet to work up my thoughts on Of Human Bondage, that maybe I should reintroduce Poetry Peeks, or that perhaps I should read that essay of Emerson’s on Experience.  Then there’s also writing about reading, or making one of those lists I never stick to, and if all that fails, well,  there’s always food.  But nothing inspires me to sit down put forth the effort.  I’m in a slump, a writing slump.

Whenever I find myself in a writing slump, it’s inevitably accompanied with all sorts of irrational thoughts like, “Oh wellthat was fun. It’s over“.     I become convinced that I’ll never come up with anything to write about ever again.  Tonight I started wondering what I ever managed to write about in the first place.  How did I possibly keep this thing up for the past two years when I apparently have so few ideas?  So I combed through my archives. . .

Low and behold there appeared a post dated July 12th, 2011 which I titled “Summer Writing Slump.”  I think I breathed an audible sigh of relief.  I suddenly remembered, this is normal!  MY normal.  Of course I can’t think of anything to write about.  It’s 95 degrees outside and so humid I can see it.  Everything that touches my skin feels like it’s making me 10 degrees hotter.   Mornings are consumed with contriving ways to keep my naturally curly hair from frizzing into a hazy football helmet around my head.  In between hunkering down in our tiny half bath to wait out ferocious wind storms, I’m squeezing lemons into tea, making chilled pasta salads and vanilla chocolate chunk ice cream, and arguing with my husband about the thermostat and how I will most certainly die if it’s one degree higher.

I’m not quite sure how long it takes for something to stick in my memory, but apparently I get like this every year, and yet I still find myself panicking that I’ve suddenly lost any trace or illusion of ability I ever had. I imagine having to tell people, “I used to write about books, but I can’t anymore.”  Which is even more ridiculous because I’m not in the habit of telling anyone about this blog and I’m pretty sure no one I know in “real life” even reads it.  It’s just one of those lamenting thoughts I torture myself with.

I also remember that for the most part I have to just go with it.  I can try very hard to clear the mists from my head, but I will likely need to squeeze lemons and experiment with anti-frizz serums just a little bit longer.

In the meantime, here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been reading this summer.

1. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott : I discovered Anne Lamott when I was in college and in the length of a semester I read most of her fiction as well as non-fiction books.  She has a combined poignancy and hilarity that makes her work a breeze to read.  That’s all I’m going to say for now as I may work up a post about this one soon.  Gasp.

2. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin : After watching season 1 of this show, I had little interest in reading the books.  The show was enough.  But the second season was like some sort of secret society for book readers only and it took me 3/4 of the season just figure out what the heck was going on.  Besides, this series just makes for good summer reading.  They’re the kind of books you can take outside with a slushy root beer that’s been left in the freezer for too long and bake in the sun while you read them.  Last week I (finally) completed Game of Thrones and have (finally) started A Clash of Kings. 

Okay, that probably looks like a rather unimpressive rundown.  It appears that I’ve been slacking off, I know.  Truthfully I have been reading a bit slower than my usual slow pace lately, but I have been reading some other things too, I’m just leaving those books off the blog for the moment.

What have you been reading this summer?  Anyone else experiencing a summer writing slump?

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12 thoughts on “All Quiet on the Blogging Front

  1. First, I love the name of your blog and second, I love Anne Lamott. I discovered her in college as well and it was just the right time that I came to her books. I really needed to hear what she had to say. I haven’t yet read Traveling Mercies – but I’d like to now!

    • I have similar feelings about Bird by Bird, that book was just what I needed to hear at the time, and the only book I’ve ever immediately re-read. Traveling Mercies is even more autobiographical than that one and contains her trademark humor and self-deprecating honesty.

      • That’s wonderful that you say that because Bird by Bird was the first book I read by her. The literature department at my college just swooned over that book and so I finally picked it up. I will have to read Traveling Mercies now thanks to your opinion! : )

  2. In the Piedmont region of N.C. where the terrain is raw, rolling, and rugged, the temperature has often been over 100 degrees recently, with total humidity, and not a breath of a breeze like dwellers in higher altitudes get. This climate brings on a feeling of enduring malaise for me, every summer. We feature an atmosphere that is still and “close” as I remember hearing while growing up with no a/c. At least, you are able to turn these conditions into some wry humor.

    I watched an Anne Lamott interview on YouTube, but she was constantly interrupted by the host, Mr. Colbert, who is not that hilarious. As far as my reading, I’m re-visiting, Mere Christianity, and also, The 4 Loves, by C.S. Lewis. He sometimes refers to a writer he calls his master, George MacDonald, in his writings. Doris Betts, an acclaimed N.C. novelist and UNC English professor, wrote an article in 1982 that I saved from that bygone time. She tells how she read ” M.C.” one April and it made no logical sense to her. In May, she read it again and couldn’t understand what her problem had been. Her article is titled, “How a `Natural Doubter` Reconciled Intellect and Faith.”

    I think your pictures call forth the “untold latencies” Whitman spoke of in “Shut Not Your Doors.” It’s fun and more to be acquainted with them. A winding lane that disappears around the bend into the foliage is intriguing somehow. A parade from the pantry window on July 4 reveals a slice of Americana. Please keep these good things going at whatever pace you take.


    • I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to summer, I’ll admit. I’m much more of a fall/winter gal and generally find being cold much more tolerable than being hot. Though next week promises some relief with a more than 10 degree cool down.

      I’m sure I read the Whitman poem that you mentioned during my reading of Leaves of Grass last year, but naturally amongst the hundreds of poems I took in over the year, I didn’t remember it.
      I found it again online and printed it off.

      Thank you for your comments and feedback, they’re much appreciated!

  3. Our family always called the heat “sickening” and said “it was enough to kill you.” I’m glad cooler prospects are in store where you are. I’m also glad that you looked up the Whitman poem and copied it. It’s hard to say what photos like these awaken in a person…maybe some sense of wonder. The gallery is continuously appealing.

    Your kind response is good to have. And I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Maugham’s opus or whatever you come up with next!!

  4. I know just how you feel, once the temperatures and humidity climb too high I simply can’t think. At least we have fall and winter to look forward to! I feel like I haven’t read much this summer either–I just finally finished The Silmarillion which I’ve been working on since march. I think some lighter reading it called for until fall arrives!

  5. This year has been one long reading slump for me, so I totally get your pain. I hope your writing slump goes away quickly, but try not to beat yourself up over it in the meantime. I just checked my feed after a few weeks of being MIA and it looks like EVERYONE I follow is fighting some kind of slump. Hang in there and we’ll be here when you’re ready to return. :)

  6. I have a similar slump in early summer. Mine is usually in late May/early June and blogging, for me, is slow throughout the summer. It’s starting to pick up again now, so that’s good. Summer is winding down and I’m looking forward to fall. If you need something to post about and want to post about poetry, maybe you’ll consider joining in the Poetry Project? The only requirement is to post about poetry and we’ll link up to at the end of the month. Here’s more info:

    I hope your slump is over soon and you get back in the groove of writing!

  7. Nicki, happily I’m not in a reading slump, but more of a blogging slump. That’s not to say that I’ve not been adding the odd review here and there, but it hasn’t been all that consistent. Work and family obligations have perhaps cut into my on-line time this summer. I am reading a lot of really good stuff though, e.g., American Civil War non-fiction, some new anthropological books, and I’m starting to gear up for another tour through my collection of Hardy’s novels, short stories, and poetry. I hope you’re having a terrific weekend, so far. Cheers! Chris

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