Babbling About Writing, Foucault, the Superbowl, but not the kitchen sink

So the Steelers, or as we Pittsburghers pronounce it, the Stillers lost.  I served my guests real Pittsburgh fare:  Barbequed Chipped Ham, Beet Pickled Eggs, both of which were as awful as I remember them growing up in Pittsburgh.  Chipped Ham from Isaly’s was a delicacy in some homes, I supposed, but not mine, and not because we were Jewish.  Ham and bacon were big deals in my house, but Chipped Ham? Chipped Ham is one step away from Spam.  And Beet Pickled Eggs–they’re red, which is about as unnatural a color for an egg as possible.  If I were a better blogger, I would have photographs to show you.  Not only did I take no pictures, I sent the leftovers home with one of the guests so I wouldn’t have to look at them again.  I didn’t really care that the Stillers lost.  In fact, I had a little thing going for the Packers quarterback who is from Chico, CA.  He used to be a skinny little thing when he played at Chico High and Butte Community College.  He has filled out some.

Welcome back to the world where I babble.  That’s what I’m doing, trying to get my groove going.  Or is it, get my groove on?    Two weeks ago I achieved major projects five days in a roll.  That must have exhausted my creativity, because last week, I managed to eke out one column for Patch.  And this week, let’s just say my editor is still waiting.

I’ve been doing these columns for ThirdAge and Patch for not a very long time, but already I’m starting to feel whiney.  On the one hand, it’s great to have these venues where I can just blather about and get paid for it.  On the other hand, it’s all beginning to feel a tad self-indulgent.

I keep thinking about my first foray into the NY publishing world when an editor rejected something of mine because it was, in his words, “California slick.”  Is that what my work has ossified into?  Is that bad?  Of course, my anti-California slick style is that hard-core, jargon-laden, obscure, obfuscating academic writing.  It is, believe it or not, fun to do it.  It’s fun to write sentences that you kinda know what they mean sorta, but if you actually have to parse them–nah, you don’t really.  Like this, from my dissertation draft:  ”Foucault isolates four strategies that produced sexuality: the hystericization of women’s bodies, the pedagogization of children’s sex, the socialization of procreative behavior, and the psychiatrization of children’s sex.”

Wow.  Wow.  My heart rate just went up as I typed that.  I actually had a frisson of interest–as opposed to the frisson of  self-indulgence I was feeling before.  What do you supposed that means?  Perhaps my dissertation is like an old lover, one that you know you’ll never be with again, but still, you remember the good times.

  • http://www.laferle.com Cindy La Ferle

    I hear ya … agree with all you said about writing. I write for a couple of Patch sites in the Detroit area. Where can I read your Patch columns?

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  • http://midlifebloggers.com byjane

    @Walker,
    I hear you. I’ve been doing so much more journalism these days and I’m reminded that my lack of connection with the material will always show up. I’m also reminded that that lack of connection can usually be resolved by digging a bit further into the story. It’s the toss-off that bores me.

  • http://awomanspage.com Walker

    Can’t say that I’ve written anything that pithy. But I do find the self-indulgent stuff I write feels flat sometimes. It’s easy and it flows and sometimes it bring a check! And, the problem for me is that the work I get paid for, often low-brow stuff, keeps me from pausing to really dig deep and write higher quality articles to bring in better and more satisfying jobs. It becomes a vicious cycle.

  • Alice

    Way over my head

  • http://injaynesworld.blogspot.com injaynesworld

    Oh my dear… I can so relate. ;)

    • http://midlifebloggers.com byjane

      @jayne…yes? yes? you relate? Tell me how.

      • http://injaynesworld.blogspot.com injaynesworld

        Just the ebb and flow of the writing process. After every project or post, I feel like I’ll never have a worthy idea again. Sometimes that leads to writing an “unworthy” idea, but nobody hits it out of the ballpark 100% of the time. Sometimes “babbling” is all you’ve got.

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