Sunday Salon: Why I’m Here

6th March 2011

Sunday Ramblings:

The Sunday Salon: an opportunity to bask in bookishness. I have been nervous to join because even though I have been blogging for a year, there are moments when I don’t feel legitimate. I cannot say that is unusual because, at some point, I have felt that way in every aspect of my life. My teaching isn’t good enough. My writing isn’t up to par. I would say, also, that it is difficult treading the line between academic writing about literature and blogging about literature. On one hand, I don’t want to review books in a purely academic fashion as that can be boring. Yet, there are moments when I find myself desperately wanting to explore facets of the books I read in greater depth, and this is the place I want to be able to do that. Even as a teacher, I miss sitting at a desk in a classroom, thinking about what I read before class and trying to put my thoughts into words. I do that in my classroom now, but it is certainly different. I have to pull those thoughts from my students carefully. I know there are plenty of students sitting at those tables, too shy to speak up about their opinions, students who think they, too, are unqualified to talk about what they’ve read.

Those moments, though, that thrilling second before I would raise my hand and say something I prayed wasn’t completely obvious, my stomach quivering, those are the moments I want to instill in my students. Not because I want to torture them but because more than anything, I want them to feel my classroom is an open space to talk about and love or hate on literature. Learning – and teaching – is about discovery, and you would be amazed at how discovery has been discouraged in school. Students want to know the answers, and they want to pick their grades. Discovery never enters the equation.

Discovery is why I am here, why I am a blogger. Blogging is an experiment – one of the biggest I have embarked upon. In academic circles, writing spaces are a hot topic. The Internet as writing space is one of the biggest. Writing into the void. Often it feels that way. There are days when I log on and see no comments and feel disappointed. I want that sense of community. I don’t want comments for comments sake. However, I still blog. My aunt sent me a card week before last that says, “It isn’t enough to be a charming, witty overachiever anymore. Now you have to have your own blog.” In some sense, it’s true, yet I don’t often tell colleagues about my blog (partially because I think the word is so incredibly goofy sounding) because there is still a bit of that nervous grad student in me, so worried to say the wrong thing and feel embarrassed. I feel free here, and I blog because it is my opportunity to reinvent the classroom, to speak up and voice my opinion, my critique, except this time I am among peers.

Week in Review and What’s Next:

This week, though I certainly wanted to, I had no time to read. I picked up a fourth class, as an instructor had to leave mid-semester, and along with one class being in the library for the first time, it was an incredibly hectic week. Plus, I had a headache that, as of last count, has lasted six days. I finished up an M.C. Beaton but didn’t really enjoy it. However, this coming week is ….drumroll please…. SPRING BREAK! Though I still have to advise students (I do that 25 hours a week), I won’t have classes. I hope to finish grading some annotated bibliographies, and after that, I will read. I have had Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld since the Texas Book Festival back in October and still haven’t read it. Shame on me. That should be a fairly quick read, and I have plenty left in my TBR pile to choose from. Today will be spent reading, recovering, and preparing to paint next weekend. Yes, I finally chose a color for the dining room/library.

What are you doing on this day of rest?

P.S. The new Jane Eyre adaptation hits theaters in – count it – five days. FIVE DAYS!!! Is anyone else excited?

  • Hi Picky Girl! Welcome to the Sunday Salon. This was a lovely essay. I understand that feeling- will what I do be good enough- all too well. But thankfully with blogging I’ve let that all go. I hope you will, too!

    • pickygirl

      Thanks for the warm welcome! I am so glad you stopped by.

  • Hello,

    I am so happy to have found your blog through the salon, and I am following your feed now. We have quite a lot in common, including blogging insecurities and missing the world of academic discourse. It is very nice to virtually meet you.

    You can see my salon for this week here: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/03/sunday-salon-some-old-favorites.html

    • pickygirl

      Hello and nice to meet you, too. I am glad I am not the only one out there who feels this way. I will definitely head over to your page and check it out as well.

  • Welcome to Sunday Salon! I’ve consistently posted at Sunday Salon each week since I began blogging. I like its openness.

    Here is my Sunday Salon post: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2011/03/sunday-salon.html I hope you will stop by and say hello.

    • pickygirl

      Deb! I like the openness as well. Plus, the idea of a salon is pretty appealing. It’s almost enough to make me not dread Sundays…

  • Welcome to Sunday Salon! Such a great group. Lovely essay and captures much of what I’ve felt about blogging and life in general. I’m an academic myself, and I kept waiting for someone to come in and correct me or point out something that was wrong in one my posts. Hasn’t happened so far, which is such a relief compared to the set of reviews you get back from an article or a book. Also, blogging is an odd word. I was afraid for any of my colleagues to see my blog, but now I don’t care. It’s for me, not them.

    • pickygirl

      You are so so right. It is for me. There are certain people I have told about it, but there is always a sense of trepidation in doing so. I guess I need to step back and just enjoy what I enjoy about blogging and leave the rest alone.

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the blogging community, and especially love The Sunday Salon. Welcome! It’s great to discover blogs that are new to me.

    I also love reading posts about homey topics; I’m going to click over to read about your color for the dining room/library.

    Here’s MY SUNDAY SALON POST

    • pickygirl

      Thanks so much for the words of welcome. I do absolutely love this community. In fact, I have been working to put up a page of “blogs I read” as a sidebar just won’t do. I’m so glad you also like the homey posts. I love decorating, so it’s a natural progression, particularly since the room I am working on will house my books!

  • Welcome! That’s kind of how I felt when I first started blogging too! What I love best about book blogging is the feeling of being part of a community! I’m so glad you joined the Sunday Salon! I love this meme so much mainly for its personal nature. Besides, everyone does their own kind of thing for Sunday Salon that it feels very diverse!

    • pickygirl

      I’ve always enjoyed everyone’s Salon posts but thought it was full. When I looked it up yesterday, though, I saw there was an invitation for all to participate through Facebook. I always enjoy the personal aspect as well. It’s nice to know the people behind the reviews.

  • Glad to see you’re joining the Sunday Salon group! It’s a great way to become a part of the community. I’ve been blogging for three years now and there are still times where I don’t feel legitimate. I think it happens to all of us. I’ll be sure to say “hello” to you on twitter and come again to your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • pickygirl

      Thanks Vasilly! I am glad I joined in, too. I’ve had a great day blog hopping and adding way too many blogs to my GR. (One of these days I am going to have to cut back.) Have a great evening, and you’re welcome around here any time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Possibly one reason why we interact less these days is because the blogging world has become so large that it’s hard for everyone to keep up with everyone else. Still, it’s a good thing that we’re all able to have a little space in the vast web universe. I used to get a lot of comments when the blog was newer. Now, lucky to have 2 to 3 comments in a post. Sometimes I get zero too. It’s weird because I had fewer readers then. But then I understand, too, that my posts hardly promote discussion. I have such a busy day at home that reading has been literally an escape and I wanted to go back to preblogging days when I didn’t scrutinize what I read so much and just experience it. For the past months I’ve been doing that and realize I’ve lost commenters because of it. But to be able to do something we believe in entails sacrifice. I could start reviewing properly and have the comments back or I could do what I originally set out to do, which was to keep a reading diary of just stuff that impressed me, without having to resort to analysis. I love reading others’ deeper thoughts but it’s not how I want to write because it stresses me out, as if I have an exam every after I finish a book.

    Anyway, on another note, just want to say I really, truly love your blog. Yours is one of my favourites in the whole book blogging world. You write such clever posts and they’re fun to read. I like how open and honest you are. I’m just sorry I haven’t the time to comment as much as I’d like to and chat a bit more, but I hope you feel that what you’re doing here is not nothing. xx

    • pickygirl

      Wow. Thank you so very much. For all of that. I am sitting here grading student work, not able to blog at all this weekend, and your comment made my day.

      I think you’re right about the interaction, but you and I have very different purposes. I seek the interaction in a sort-of virtual book club way, wanting to see what others think and how their opinions differ. I also very much understand where you are coming from. You have children and a busy life and you want to enjoy and remember specific aspects of what you read. More than anything, I think each of our blogs is a reflection of who we are at this exact point in our lives, and I wouldn’t trade that.