On the Cusp of … Something

A few people might have noticed that I haven’t been posting here very often. I’ve taken on a lot of projects that have cut into my blogging time, but more important, I’ve gone about as far as I can go with this blog, at least in its present form. I’d probably never run out of topics, but I’m completely burned out on discussing writing and self-publishing.

So what’s next? I’ve been seriously mulling the problem for the last few days without coming up with an answer. Try to post once a month? Shut the place down? Find a new subject?

This morning, I stumbled over one of those serendipitous moments that happen every once in a while. I read a “reblogged” comment about a post on another blog. From the original blog post: “I often advise my students to avoid sharing their work with a larger audience until they are able, and willing, to create art from life, a process that requires distance or a craftsman’s care or both.”  The comment that followed: “Jenny Spinner with a fascinating consideration of narrative blogging: ‘As with the essay about my father, part of the lure of the narrative blog is that it’s written in the raw. It won’t stand still. Neither the writer nor the reader knows what’s going to happen next.’ ”

There are two things going on in my life that connected with this. First, I’m working on a book about the death penalty. Second, I’ve also been writing a little bit about a relationship I have with a man on death row. I don’t know whether I will continue to work on it or whether I would ever publish it. It’s more about my feelings and how this relationship has changed my life, and how I understand it, than what we talk (write) about. I call it Meetings Before the Dark, because both of us are close to death, he by execution and me by virtue of my age.

From a purely writerly point of view, there’s a lot of good material that could be of interest to other writers. From a personal point of view, I’ve often found myself wanting to talk about it, if only to release bottled-up feelings. Maybe I could do that here, not in a confessional mode, because I’m a private person, and this would be pushing the boundaries for me. I’m also quite analytical, as my regular readers know, so there would be a great deal of analysis and contextualizing.

The over-riding context would be the American criminal justice system and its flaws. Within that, my concern is the lives of the incarcerated, particularly those who are condemned to die at the hands of the state, and how the existence of the death penalty impinges on our lives. I wouldn’t propagandize, though I’m completely opposed to the death penalty. My focus would be more philosophical and ethical.

So this is what I’m thinking about as a possible new direction for the blog. I’m sure a lot of subscribers would drop out, but that isn’t a factor in my decision. I’d be interested in feedback, of course. Yes? No? Maybe? Suggestions?




10 thoughts on “On the Cusp of … Something

  1. I think it sounds like it would be a really interesting blog to read and an important contribution to the debate especially as you have both personal experience through your correspondence and the research you’ve been accumulating. I’d read it.

    1. Thanks Clodia. That’s encouraging. I just hope you’re not the only one who would be interested.

      By the way, I’m looking forward to your ebook.

  2. This is a subject that interests me greatly and one that I have written about. I hope you pursue this line of thought. I think what you have learned through communication with a man on death row needs to be shared, and I for one, would be interested in reading about it. I don’t believe in the death penalty nor in death.

    1. Olivia, it’s a subject that’s hidden behind a wall of secrecy on the part of officials and a wall of myths perpetrated by the media. Very few people know much about it or have any reason to care. I’d like to change that.

  3. I think a lot of people have strong opinions about the death penalty. A blog with this as a focus would be of interest to a rather wide audience. I’d say, go for it!

  4. I guess in the long run the only thing you can do is have a go and see what eventuates. Keeping propaganda out of the blog is a must. Many people find propaganda a major turn-off, no matter how worthy the cause. However, achieving that might be more difficult than you suspect. Good luck, though, it could be an interesting blog if you can master such a wild horse. .

    1. It probably isn’t possible to avoid an accusation of propaganda because it isn’t possible not to come down on one side or the other — unless one is determined to be a fence sitter. But this is about how the issue has affected my life and my writing, so if that makes someone unhappy, that’s their problem. I don’t plan to get into arguments in the event that someone comes on board determined to stir things up. As you said, it may very well be a wild horse, but that will only make it more interesting.

  5. Well, I’ll read it. I’ve been following you for several years but since I don’t write did not feel I could contribute much in comments. However, I have a strong interest in the issue of Life without Parole and those very long sentences. I am especially horrified at people in the teens or early twenties sentenced to live a long life and die in prison. My state does not have the death penalty but LWOP is alive and well; we went to determinate sentences, and life means life. Since I am not a writer I am looking for ways to put my activist streak into some use; talking and foisting books on public libraries seems to be what I’ve found so far. So I will follow you and read what you have to say with interest.

    1. I’m sorry you felt you couldn’t comment, but I hope you will now. Juveniles in prison is another topic I would like to pursue one day, but I don’t know if that will be possible. I welcome questions, but won’t have much time for discussion until August, since I’ll be concentrating on the book during Camp NaNo, which started today. Are you familiar with the Juvenile Injustice website? The URL is http://www.juvenile-in-justice.com/ The design of the site is somewhat confusing, but there’s a lot of information, and they send out a newsletter if you want to subscribe. I have other resources, if you’re interested. One of them might give you ideas for something more concrete that you could do.

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