Why Do I Blog? A Crisis of Identity

More specifically, why do I write on a blog site?

After about 2 years of maintaining Ramn Wright  I have stumbled upon the answer through sheer dumb luck. Or you might say it was written in stars.

Soon after I wrote my first post , I knew why I should not blog. It takes time away from my “book-writing”; I spend gratuitous time tallying likes and comments and my blogging skills have not improved. And I am not even going to mention the guilty pleasure of philandering with fonts.

Now, not knowing why I do something does not stop me from doing it and its also not something that concerns me. But a few weeks back I found out that some publishers will not accept material that has been published online. So I asked myself – why do I write online? I love software but I am not writing software. I love my professional writing but that is not what Ramn Wright is about.

So why do I blog? It was just yesterday that a series of tangential events led to an epiphany of epic proportions.

It so happens that I am a veteran subscriber to Poets and Writers magazine wherein I spend countless hours scanning contests and classifieds – though I have yet to submit anything and I have no intention of joining an MFA program. Buried in there was an article: Shaowboxing: A Faculty Panel on the Intersection of Culture and Craft.

Right there, staring at me in black and white, therein lay the answer and also another question.

Do publishers (readers) care who I am- ethnically, culturally?

I have a strong feeling they do and yet I don’t want to be boxed into any one identity. If I create a Hispanic character would a publisher/reader find me authentic? Or am I boxed into creating only characters sharing a background similar to mine?

I found from the article that there is a lively, ongoing  “Identity vs. Text” debate that goes way back in time. Writers have long grappled with  identity, experience and “cultural capital”. After having read the whole thing twice I am not sure which side of the fence they are on but my problem is as follows:

I want to pen pieces about curry and karma and the immigrant experience. But I also want to pen pieces about a mainstream American voice. Having been a majority for a while and a minority longer I want to speak authentically about different sections of society. Even more – I want to broker a dialog between people of disparate backgrounds and I cannot allow a label to be attached to my voice. Men can create women characters and vice versa, but somehow “cultural capital is hands off” says the article in quotes.

My average blog piece is 500-1000 words and for each post I am just whoever I want to be. There is no commitment to a particular religion, ethnicity, sex, income group, period in time.

I bristle at labels (don’t you?). And yet to be taken seriously as a writer of fiction I have to label myself. And that is so boring.

So I blog. I experience variety. So what if my blog is the best kept secret in the world? Perhaps that is exactly why I blog. Or am I rationalizing?

Why do you blog?

(Reference – Poets and Writers: Issue Sept/Oct 2015, pw.org. Page 90. Degrees of Diversity- Talking Race and the MFA by Sonya Larson)

Blogging Prompt: What’s the most important (or interesting, or unexpected) thing about blogging you know today that you didn’t know a month ago?

Published by neerja2014

aspiring, perspiring, trying: yes. writing: sometimes publishing: tomorrow

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