Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Here we go ...

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This is my inaugural blogging experience.

The concept of blogging has never appealed to me. It has always appeared to me to be some sort of self-aggrandizing confessional; a forum in which people broadcast their mundane, often pedestrian and rambling thoughts; a place for personal obsessions and anecdotes about children, cooking, travelling or dating rituals; an editorial seeking a global audience to satiate the ego of a single individual; a place in which written form matters as much as thoughtful content – not at all and for that matter, let’s not worry about spelling or punctuation or formal conventions of the written language but more than that, more than all that, it seemed to be a format that was incredibly personal and if I’m to be completely honest, I don’t care that much about the personal lives of strangers. Or their obsessions. Or the obsessions of their pets. I don’t want to read other peoples’ diaries. And, more to the point, I have no desire to share my own.

From other people who write, I want more than personal confessional. I want form and content that stretch my imagination, my own facility with language and ideas. I want stories that transport me to other places, take me into the lives of people I don’t know in neighbourhoods in my own city or countries I’ve never been to. I want to think and feel and have my own assumptions about the world affirmed by some stories and challenged by others. I want a transformative experience. This has always seemed to me beyond the scope of a blog. Having read no blogs. This has been my opinion.

Of course, as my friends keep reassuring me, a blog can be whatever you want it to be. And as I read more blogs I see that it is indeed true: blogs are as diverse as the people who write them in both content and form. And there is something nice about posting thoughts and experiences as they occur, rather than sitting with them for months or years before performing them in front of an audience. So as I set out on this month-long journey to write and share as I have never done before, I set myself the following guidelines. I will:

• be spontaneous
• write about things that matter to me
• write about writing
• write about my process of writing
• write about theatre and making theatre and watching
• think about what I write, but not worry about perfection
• be as truthful as possible
• lie once or twice to make the story more interesting (but only once or twice – I hope that’s okay with you, but as a writer the stretching of truths is truth if it gets to the centre of things)
• write with heart and brain
• try different forms ... my form is all about dialogue so ... I will blog with dialogue ... or monologue ... we’ll see
• only write about my children (Olive, two and a half; Tallulah, 6 months) when it is entirely necessary
• write one really short blog and one really long one
• write at different times of the day
• respond to questions or thoughts from people who read this blog

With all of this in mind, please bear with me.
This is my first blog.
It may be my last.
Or the first of many.
We shall see.

1 comment

I completely agree. It is harder to find material (we all have lots to confess), but it will make your blog worth reading.

Looking forward to your next post.....

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Erin Shields

Erin Shields is a playwright and actor who most recently won the Governor General's Award for her play If We Were Birds (Playwrights Canada Press). She is a founding member of Groundwater Productions through which she creates, develops and produces much of her work.

Go to Erin Shields’s Author Page