A few weeks ago I posted a writer’s profile about a journalism graduate who had written a blog for a time, mostly about matters of personal interest. Any blog is an act of “publication,” in that it is placed on the web and is accessible to any reader who should happen upon it. But the journalism graduate’s blog was clearly intended for friends, not a larger public, and therefore illustrates the kind of confusion about what is public and what is “not so much” that characterizes our digital age, particularly since the advent of, first, personal web pages, then blogs, and then the social networking sites that have become so popular in the last half-decade.
This will be a light blogging week for me, as I will be traveling to Louisville in a few days, to the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication. When I return I will begin posting profiles of graduates of our undergraduate creative writing program. So it seems fitting in this posting to mention a blog on creative writing that has come on-line in recent months and is produced by one of the graduates of our program. It’s called Rosemary Writes, and its two most recent entries—on “Failed Writing” and an “Author’s Voice”--demonstrate a comfort and confidence with this form of publication that is instructive to me. I suspect that Rosemary isn’t just writing for friends, but is hoping to draw in readers from a much larger community of creative writers. Having read several of her posts in recent days, I hope that she will gain that public, as her blog is informative, thoughtful, and inviting.
Rosemary is currently in a Masters of Fine Arts program, which suggests that she is serious about developing her craft. That seriousness of purpose was something her teachers here at Slippery Rock witnessed as well. But what is of most interest to me, the creator of this blog, is that she wants to share not just her most polished and “publishable” material with a larger audience, but also her reflections on writerly discipline and craft, and on the teaching of writing. (I also bet she hopes to learn from the reactions of her web readers, no matter what they may be.) Writers’ colonies and workshops were, not so long ago, a step away from the myth of the struggling artist in a garret, and an affirmation of the social nature of writing “in process” and not just in frozen print. With blogs like Rosemary’s we see this affirmation taken even further, without the necessity of travel to rural retreats.