I feel refreshed after a week away from blogging obligations and thirteen hours of sleep last night. I needed the time away, and while I'm not 100% ready to throw myself back into the fray of blogging, tomorrow is April 1-the beginning of my month-long sprint to read Samuel Richardson's Clarissa. I had planned on staying away for another week, to finish collecting my thoughts and ideas for how to transform my little space on the internet, but because of the Clarissa event, I wanted to at least say that hey, I'm here and you're going to see posts from me again.
Like I said, there were a few reasons for my absence. Mainly, I felt (and still feel) like the book-blogging world has taken some nasty turns. I try very hard not to feed into anything that I see online-the controversies, the arguments, etc. But I do. I think there is a part of all of us that calls us to pay attention to drama. We love it.
But I have to find a way to separate what I see online to what I do here. When I began this place, I had no idea the book blogging community existed. I stumbled into it and was excited to find other people blogging about their reading. I didn't even stumble across any other classics-heavy blogs until 6 months in my project. I had no idea that my project would be appealing to anyone other than myself (and a couple members of my family who have read it from the beginning).
I have closely aligned myself with the book blogging world since I first started reading some other book blogs in those early days. But I never intended to have that label. I don't think I really write "reviews" as many book blogs do. Instead, I try to chronicle my experiences as I read. This whole things started because I wanted to become a better teacher. Some part of myself believed that if I started to really educate myself with great literature, that would somehow transfer over into the classroom. That it would allow me to be a better teacher-to help kids in more ways because I had been exposed to more facets of humanity.
Maybe I was only wishing. And maybe, I really only started this place because I was so tired of feeling unneeded and unwanted. In the 2 1/2 years since I wrote my first post, I have grown a lot. I don't think I knew where starting this place would bring me. I don't think I expected the pressure of keeping this place up, or of having the draw to host events, participate in challenges, and having a voice online in the way people see old, dusty books.
But I do feel this blog has become more than what I thought it would, and in the last six months or so, I have struggled to see how it still fits into what I intended it to be. Yes, I still focus on talking about my reading experience. Yes, I still am yearning for a permanent placement in a school, so I can finally transfer all of this knowledge to my own students (that is not to say anything against the last three placements I've had. All of those kids were "my" kids, but it wasn't my classroom if you know what I mean). I am still looking for ways to express myself and show the world what I am made of. This place was easy to start-no one knew who I was or what I wanted-and I was determined to make my own little mark on the world...much like the writers I have come to love.
I know I'm not there yet. I still have a long way to go until I am happy with myself and this place.
I'm not sure what changes I'll make in the future, but I can't go on with this feeling of pressure from outside sources. I didn't start this with the intentions of feeling obligated to others, and I don't intend to let that feeling continue. As I mull over what I want to do, however, I am going to continue posting and talking about my reading. That is why I started and why I will still continue.
As for the posts on my teaching, I am hesitant to share what I am doing. After I posted about my "Arena" Game for the teaching of The Hunger Games to my lower-level elective class, I had some nasty e-mails. And when I take that into account along with some snide comments about my discussions of what my other classes are up to...I don't know if I am willing to share that anymore. My kids are off limits. They are all wonderful, and their enthusiasm as we read, and as they adjusted to having me as their teacher, is all the positive reinforcement I need in my life in regards to my teaching. I don't post about it to feel validated, but because I want to share my passion. That was ruined for me last week.
Well, this is far longer than I wanted it to be...because I really meant to say is that I am back. It feels good to be typing this into draft form and knowing it will soon be live online. I missed you guys, and I cannot wait to share more of my thoughts on reading with you.
Please let me know if there is a post I missed this week. My reader looks scary, so I'll probably mark it as "all read." I just don't want to miss anything!