Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tao of blogging

In a recent entry, after acknowledging that blogging "is, in part, a way of looking outward, not inward," Ken Smith suggests that another "part of blogging's appeal is meditative, reflective, perhaps even a sort of spiritual practice."

Ken draws from a Jesuit practice in which a person calls to mind the events of the day, good and bad, and reflects on them as an analogy for some blogging practices.

For me, there's something of the paying attention aspect to blogging that does resonate with a meditative practice. Blogging (or at least the kind of blogging I'm drawn toward) requires an openness, a willingness to begin again, over and over. And blogging is never about judging so much as it's about practicing. Doing. Seeing what happens. Witnessing what happens.

For example, I titled this the Tao of blogging when I started writing because I wanted to gesture toward eastern meditative practices, and I understand that Zen (or Chan, as it was originally called in China) was influenced by Taoism. However, I have no real knowledge of Taoism. I read some of the Tao Te Ching years ago. And I was told, when hanging with practioners of T'ai Chi Ch'uan in Bloomington, Indiana, that the practice derived from Taoist philosophy. But in Toronto for MLA some years back, a taxi driver told me about the Tao and gave me a business card with the address of the local Tao center, and when I told him I had studied T'ai Chi Ch'uan, he said--Yes, that's a good exercise. But that isn't the Tao.

So this is not the Tao. But remember all the Tao books in the 1970s and 80s? The Tao of Physics. The Tao of Pooh. Maybe they're still doing it. I haven't checked.

And now I notice I've gone far afield. What's this post about? And so I decide it's time to end. I've noticed enough. Have I made a point? Don't know. Is this a very helpful representation of anything? Don't know. Here it is. A blog entry. I move on.


dhawhee said...

I'm pretty sure this post is about Rick Springfield.

Donna said...

You may have something there, D. Except that whenever I think of Rick Springfield, I think of Decatur, Illinois. I'm not sure I see any Decatur in this post.

dhawhee said...

Ha. Is RS from Decatur? That town now reminds me of the awesome Sufjan Stevens song by the same name: But I'm digressing from your really nice post!

Donna said...

That is a nice song, yes, though I'm particularly fond of the one about little Egypt.

Rick Springfield was performing at the conference hotel when the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference was at Milliken, back in 2001 (one month after 9/11). Weird times.

Chad Simpson said...

I'm particularly fond of the song about John Wayne Gacy, which I usually refer to as the prettiest song ever written about a serial killer.

But what I really wanted to say that I like where you started: with Smith's quote about blogging being an outward-looking, rather than inward-looking practice.

I'm going to have to meditate on it for a while before I have anything intelligent to say, though.

Donna said...

"the prettiest song ever written about a serial killer"

Another line to remember, by Chad Simpson. (Another I sometimes call to mind: Great dreamers and great drinkers. Do I have it right?)

Chad said...

That's surprisingly close, especially considering it's been, what, three or four years since you read that little essay?

I just looked it up on my jump drive, and it goes like this:

My girlfriend Jane and I are fabulous drinkers, fantastic dreamers. And when we combine the two--when we drink and dream--the world becomes right, and just, and conquerable.

I think I told you this but I'm not sure: That's actually the piece I read at the Gala, since, you know, it was short. The husband of the other J.C. said really nice things about it, as did, for some reason, B.L.

Donna said...

Ah, see? It's even better than I remember. I love that little piece. The slices of peaches dipped in sugar and all. Which makes me all the sadder that I didn't manage to get back for the Gala. Sigh.

I can't remember if you said you've sent that out anywhere or done anything else with it?

Chad Simpson said...

It's been rejected three or four times, and it's been out at two different places for about six months each.

The odd thing, though, is that a friend of mine emailed me just last week to say that I should write essays (he writes non-fiction), and I sent him that essay, because, you know, it's short, just like three days ago.

The universe is aligning. Is the moon full?