On Leaving Some Things for Yourself

Person wearing a golden yellow sweater holding a bunch of sunflowers

This is the third draft of this blog post.

Halfway through the first, I realized it was getting a bit too personal and its proper place was in the journal I have yet to write in since late September. The second draft turned into a great essay idea for a parenting journal or magazine.

The process of writing this post only helped clarify something I’ve been wrestling with more this year than years previous: not everything we write is for everybody.

In some ways that means some of the content we (I) write won’t be well-received by everyone or resonate with every reader — and that’s okay. But it also means that not everything we write has to have a public audience. Sometimes that audience is just us as the writer.

I think that’s a difficult concept to reckon with when current capitalistic cultures urge us to mine ourselves for every little bit of content. I’ve had to form my own hard stops to keep myself from turning every aspect of my life into readable content for the world. To do so, I ask myself a series of questions:

Will this help anyone?

Will this hurt anyone?

Does it need to be published?

The last question goes against hundreds (if not thousands) of published articles that teach you how to cannibalize your life for content. If that’s the route you choose, more power to you. But I think it’s important to ask what will be left for just yourself when you’re done mining your life. When you’ve given everything away, what will still be sacred to you?

Books I read since the last post:

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (graphic memoir) by Adrian Tomine

Dawn – Xenogenesis Book 1 (sci-fi novel) by Octavia E. Butler

Black (graphic novel) by Kwanza Osajyefo

What Kind of Woman (poetry) by Kate Baer

Good Talk (graphic memoir) by Mira Jacob
*This is a particularly poignant read for U.S. readers on the eve of the 2020 election

Gods of Jade and Shadow (fiction) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Uncomfortably Happy (graphic memoir) by Yeon-sik Hong

Moms (graphic novel) by Yeong-shin Ma

The last of my poetry reads for #TheSealeyChallenge:

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker

New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich

Blue Iris by Mary Oliver


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