A blog? What’s that? And, why are you doing it? I thought you were writing books.
My mother has not uttered those words yet, but she will. She will when I tell her that I have started a blog. She won’t ask those questions to be cruel. She won’t make the statement to be cynical. My mother will wonder what’s going on with me now. She is the nagging sense of practicality that keeps my feet to the ground. And, I know, if I have an answer for her, then I am ready for any endeavor.
I will respond. “Mom, a blog is like an online diary without too many of the torrid details.” She will miss the intended humor in that line. It will blow out in her sigh. I will go on to explain that I am not giving up writing. In fact, the blog will work in tandem with the novel writing. Novels are long, complex works that take on lives of themselves. There are moments when one is being created that other smaller ideas spring to life. Some are worthy of more attention than they will receive and some are not. Often, it is hard to know which is which, but a blog will give me a home for those projects. A blog will give those exercises a place to be flexed and seen and commented upon.
As I say all of this, she will scroll up and down the page and stare at the blog. She may stop and read an entry. Or, she may go directly to the page where the books are listed. She will like that. That is an easy place for her direct people to see my published works.
But, I will tell her. I will show her. Because, after all, none of this could have happened without her.
I was a different child. Raised among adults, I was groomed as a small adult far more than I was prepared for childhood. My mother is a voracious reader who married a casual newspaper scanner. Every night, after dinner but before baths, she would declare a sacred time of day as Reading Time. As a child, I had assumed it was time when she wanted me to practice my reading. Upon adult reflection, I have come to realize that Reading Time was not about me at all. Reading Time was about her desire to read whatever new novel my father had purchased for her or the one she may have picked up the library.
Reading Time lacked any real rules or structure. There was no time limit. There was no required reading. My father was free to peruse the newspaper or a magazine. I would be given an assortment of options, as selected by my mother, to read. From fiction to non-fiction, from history to biology, she was indifferent to the subject matter or material. What was important was that we read, quietly, for the allotted time. And, I did. I would read and read and read until she retrieved me from my room. As she ran water for my bath, we would discuss what I had read. Again, I thought it was to confirm that I had read; but I know now that it was merely conversational. It was my first experience of a book club. As I prepared to end my day, I would rehash in detail whatever I had read, and she would listen intently and ask questions.
This process continued until I was eight or so. One evening, she gave me a Speed-Reading book. I’ve never known why she would have given a child such a book. And when I have asked her, she has only shrugged and said that she thought I might’ve enjoyed it. I don’t know if enjoy was the right word, but I did devour it. Through its suggestions and applications, I learned how to review the books she selected for me faster and faster. Soon, I was blazing though the selected material before the end of Reading Time and she was miffed. At first, she would assign me random encyclopedia entries. Once that failed to quench my desire to read, she made an announcement. “Reading Time could now include Writing Time.” And, in one fail move, a devilish idea was born.
While I did not stop reading, I began to write as well. At first, I would read a book or a few chapters of a book, then I would re-write what I had read making subtle changes that I thought made more sense. Or, I would capture a passage or chapter of the book, quote it, and tell my mother why I did or did not like it. In the beginning, these notes were sentences that I would hand to her in the restroom. She would smile and read them back to me. As they grew longer and I got older, I would give her pages to read later. By the time, I left for college, it was not uncommon for me to slip twenty pages under her bedroom door in the night. And, so you see, this blog, and its contents, are all her fault.
The Daily K was born out of a desire to write and share with my mother. And, now that her door is too far to slip pages under at night, The Daily K is new door to her room.