i’m working with a student who is finishing his dissertation on writing and identity. reading one of his chapters i was struck by this quote, from Dona J. Hickey’s Developing a Written Voice:

Any reader, like any writer, is in a state of both constancy and flux…Each writer strives to discover and communicate her private relationship to the world in which she lives, yet that same world pressures her to conform, to please. How do we know when we are responding to the pressure to please and when are we asserting our distinctive selves? This is a lifelong question. All we can do, I believe, is live with the tension. Its existence is part of what it means to be an individual and a member of a community. Every day, our voices are spoken and heard, written and read, within that tension. The sound of that struggle, however, is often what’s missing in print. (25)

it’s an interesting passage to stumble across as a sort of lazarus blogger. i have felt an odd, um, oddness with myself as i’ve tried to recreate my blogging life. i blogged primarily as a grieving mother of a recently stillborn child, and while i am still that woman and still that writer, i find that i want to do more as a woman, as a writer, as a mother, and yes, as a blogger. what, exactly, i haven’t fully figured out yet. but i have found, at times, that the sounds of those tensions can silence everything else.