You’re probably thinking, “What the hell is modular blogging?” The answer is, I have no idea. I first came across modular writing through authors like Eula Biss in The Balloonist and Eileen Meyers Cool For You through my English studies at Ball State, and for a while I’ve wanted to do something along these lines. I loved the way these authors broached difficult and often traumatic topics through the brief glimpses of memories that both were momentary and timeless. I saw in this kind of writing an opportunity to show to so many people who never understood before why seemingly insignificant moments in my life could be so traumatic. So many key moments in life aren’t just what they seem. They’re informed by years of experience from previous interactions, conflicts, conversations, and other seemingly “insignificant” moments.
I always struggled to explain to others why something another person did or said hurt so much. I couldn’t explain to my peers or teachers or family why I was crying because I didn’t know how to explain to them the impact years of similar hurtful interactions had caused. Sometimes trauma is caused by an obvious, breaking moment, but all too often it creeps up slowly on you over time, working through the cracks like a vine slowly breaking down the stone wall that it’s tendrils steadily climb, growing till it finally consumes the crumbled ruin, lying at its roots.
Modular writing showed me an opportunity to break that, because it allows the reader to see each influencing moment, to feel for a moment the impact of each of those events building up over time. I knew it would be important for me to use one day, but the trouble is, I hate writing about myself. I write fiction because it is easier to address the trauma I’ve been through when it doesn’t have to be me. My experiences inform my writing, but I get to explore them in a world and place and time of my choosing. I can allow my character moments of hope or empowerment that I didn’t get. I can write their lives knowing that eventually they will be ok.
But I know it’s important for me to write what I’ve been through, because too many voices who have experienced similar things remain silent, and too many people who want to share their stories, simply don’t know how. I’m a writer, and I have a lot to say, and I’ve gotten to a point that I can stand writing about my own life, as long as it is in short bursts.
So this is my experiment in modular blogging. I’m going to try to create a post now and then around a theme or idea that contains flash non-fiction fragments of my memories, with the hope that seeing into these brief moments people might begin to understand just a little, what it might be like to live through another person’s struggles.