A lot of people see the onset of autumn as a yearly crossroads. We feel energized for change and renewal; it’s as if the ripening leaves and drunken migratory birds lure us off tired old paths. My unanticipated absence from this space probably has something to do with all that.
It’s not good blog form, they say, taking a break without offering some sort of substitution posts. Or at least some advance notice. But then again this space has always been more about being true to me than retaining you. That’s not to say I don’t think the world of you for stopping by and offering support and conversation and encouragement. I’ve met some really wonderful friends here and for that I’m genuinely grateful.
After a couple of weeks of not being able to face that Typepad dashboard, I reassessed the future of my blog and what, if anything, I want of it. It turns out my longstanding goal of writing with more candour and openness has not changed, so I wondered if I was resisting that honesty. Especially as the desire to spend some time just living, without telling the world about how I was going about doing that, was forceful. With more certainty I know the photo project gave me license to resist the writing part. That wasn’t entirely unintentional, but now it was time to stand back and decide if this was what I really wanted.
I’ve not abandoned the photo a day project, though I will admit the “a day” part has gone amiss. Well before the blog break I’d been giving this whole “living out loud” some serious reconsideration. Blame it on Facebook.
Lest you think I’m entirely Facebook-Jaded, I still love social media. I love that people can express their passions and tell their stories on their blogs. I love that Facebook has put me and my extended family and my old friends in back touch with each other’s lives.
But I have, as should everybody, reconsidered how I want to use these things. Just as I feel it is an absurd waste of time reading that a Facebook “friend” – someone I barely knew even when I last saw them thirty years ago – has a headache or is making roast beef for supper, I also feel that my daily journal belongs in a bedside book, not on your computer screen. Some bloggers journal engagingly and with great success. I, however, am not comfortable merging the public and private. And because of that, the blog has become as insipid as an average Facebook status update.
Maybe it’s because I’m happy. Reluctant Blogger wrote once that she has no desire or need to write when she’s happy. It’s been a wonderful year and I will cherish this record of it. But it occurs to me, I don’t want to share every aspect of my personal life with the world – rather I want to share my perspective on that world.
I remain committed to the photo project for the rest of the year, and I will back-post the pictures I’ve been taking while “away.” Maybe a fresh approach on the project will reinvigorate it and, let’s hope, my writing.
Last month I signed up for a blog challenge to post something every day. I should have known better. My creative self doesn’t manage real well with rules. It was good for the first little bit – it gave me the impetus to stay in the moment, because in the moment is where I find things to write about. But it was also December, and for me, December is a month of parties and shopping and preparing and friends and events – it’s a month of distractions. And this particular December was particularly distracting.
I do approach this blog with the intention of writing every day. Everyone who engages in this process knows that if you write every day, your readership is more likely to grow. I enjoy the growing numbers as much as anybody – creating something, and sharing it is a source of enormous personal satisfaction. I am exceedingly grateful for you, that you show up to read what I have to say, and that you may have shown up to find I haven't written, again, is the primary reason I chastise myself for missing days.
But I got a little jaded, I suppose, as I explored the many bloggers also participating in this and other challenges, because so many would fill up space with nothing just to get a post up. Some of the posts would even say “I don’t have anything to say today, but here I am.” In one respect that’s GREAT – a cardinal rule for any writer or artist is to show up. Sit down and if all you have to write is “I have nothing to say” write it anyway because it may turn into something else. At least you’ve kept your office hours, and if a writer didn’t have any discipline, then nothing would ever get written. But in other respects, you write because you want people to read you, and a sure way to get someone to run the other way fast is to say “I have nothing to say, but listen…”
That kind of stuff belongs in my journal, not on my public space. My space is about ideas, not clicks; style, not volume. Experimenting yes, but striving to maintain a standard more so. I’m certainly not above light and silly – I’m sure you’d dump me quick if I was always long and serious. But if a post isn’t interesting to me, it sure won’t be interesting to you, and you are here because something I said once resonated with you enough to bring you back.
And for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. So this year's posts will be dedicated to you. I couldn't think of a better reason to try a little harder and dig a little deeper, could you?
I'm officially on holidays. I even took (almost) an extra week at the last minute.
I hope to blog. I've got a couple of posts in my head I want to get out there before I leave Sunday. I've got a fancy new phone that should facilitate quicky picture posts at the very least. After that, who knows? I've gotten so I don't know how to do anything online without an instant wireless connection. And where I'm going, it's all "huh? wireless what?"