Thought Processing

Patrick fore 0gkw 9fy0eQ unsplash

Speaking of writing, as in the previous post, I came to this activity late in life.

Although most of my teaching career involved helping students understand the concepts of mathematics (which usually doesn’t include much traditional writing),1 I started in college as a history major. As a result I learned to craft an effective bluebook exam essay and build major research papers.


Learning to write for an audience beyond an instructor or a class of teenagers came much later, and really not until I started blogging.

Which is why a recent post by Austin Kleon rang many bells. In it he offers three reasons why he continues to blog after fifteen years, and number 2, “To figure out what I have to say” is probably the primary reason I’m still blogging after seventeen years.

Every time I start a new post, I never know for sure where it’s going to go. This is what writing and making art is all about: not having something to say, but finding out what you have to say. It’s thinking on the page or the screen or in whatever materials you manipulate. Blogging has taught me to embrace this kind of not-knowing in my other art and my writing.

What happens around here is hardly art. But like Austin, writing in this space is my way of organizing my thinking and throwing those thoughts out into the world.

I suppose these posts might offer ideas to someone else or help them with their thinking. But that’s just a bonus.

Mostly this blog is just me embracing not-knowing and trying to turn it into something else.

Thanks for reading.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash. I was given my first typewriter when I started high school, although it was not this one. I do have something of the same vintage in the basement, a hand-me-down from my father-in-law.

1. About halfway through my time teaching math, I started adding some writing assignments for students. It started as participation in a school writing-across-the-curriculum project but grew into a valuable learning activity for both me and the kids.

2 Comments Thought Processing


    One of my favorite quote is from Joan Didion who said “I write to know what I think.” Like you, I often start a post and have NO idea where it might go. I found my writing niche writing for professional publications before there were blogs, but I found my blog liberating. If I wanted to write about my grandchildren or my most recent trip or “Bullshit Literacy,” there were no anal retentive editors to say no. I honestly did not care if anyone else but me read the Blue Skunk (nor do I still) and I was always surprised when someone at a conference would come up and ask “Are you the Blue Skunk guy?” And this after countless books, articles and columns in nation publications! Keep writing, man. I, for one, am a fan.


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