Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections while reading the novel "Stone Arabia"

Reading this novel by Dana Spiotta is bringing me back to some sort of primal urge I have to blog and "document" my life. The character Nik does this in an extreme manner, creating an imaginary world wherein he is a rock star; his world includes fake album reviews and obsessive fans. The narrator of the book, his sister Denise, lives vicariously through the lives of others, getting lost in celebrity murder / suicides to the point of scouring the Internet trying to recreate the events that led to the tragedy that made the 24 hour news cycle for just about that long. What causes us to connect our lives to these stories, to become emotionally involved with the lives of people we've never met? I don't usually get deeply drawn into lives outside my own, but I did when John Lennon was shot and killed. I felt truly as if I had lost a friend and obsessed over every detail of that night, and the road his killer took toward that violent ending. For days (weeks?) I listened to nothing but Lennon / Beatles music. I'm sure there have been instances since then when I took a little too much interest in the life of some celebrity, but that is the example that allows me to understand the feelings when I see someone else go through that.

The novel explains this tendency as our attempt to escape our own subjectivity, to "give us a glimpse of ourselves connected with every human". That sounds like what draws me to wanting to blog, to connect to others in a way that affirms our own existence. Except that I feel that I rarely have anything interesting to say! I read other blogs, with their ability to tie random, seemingly innocuous observations into some greater truth. I envy that. It's the same ability that a good photographer has to capture the essence of a moment, or the simple beauty of nature in a way that speaks to all of us.

I've always thought of myself as a good writer, but I lack the creative spark to be able to turn these mundane moments into "art". I keep hoping I will be struck by inspiration. Part of my problem (or my excuse anyway) is that I am so busy with my job and my responsibilities, that any creative impulses I have are drowned out. I've been off work now for 7 days and I suddenly felt the desire to relate what I was reading into this blog, so maybe there is something to that?

For those of you who blog, how do you make the leap from the mundane to something universal?   Does it come naturally?