I have not been here since February 2019 and I don’t have a good reason for that. But I have some theories:
For the past decade or so, I’ve had a blog somewhere on the internet. I go through “seasons” of writing in these blogs, and the end of these seasons have been determined by any number of things. As far as I can tell, though, I usually stop writing because 1) I start to hate what I write or 2) I run out of time to truly “run my blog like a business” (lol), or 3) I assume no one cares about a weird interaction I had at a gas station one time, so I close up shop and quietly recluse myself until further notice. Seeing all of the options listed out like this, I now realize that they’re all actually sort of the same option. But no matter the reason, the reality is that my blogging season of late-2017 to early-2019 has ended. Goodnight, sweet princess.
There have been loose themes to most of these blogging ventures, and when I lose the already-split thread, I lose the blog. For example, I had one blog that was for “humor writing.” (It was also my only attempt at Tumblr, which is truly the wrong platform for me because I don’t “do” pictures or images, and I HATE GROUP WORK so the sharing and interacting element was a tiny nightmare.) I spit out a few humor pieces that were sort-of-kind-of funny, and I even solicited funny friends to contribute every once in a while. While that was fun, it was also juuuust enough work for it to sometimes feel not-fun. Perhaps more importantly, I didn’t want to be funny all the time. This issue repeated itself over and over in all the other blogs, because I got tired of making myself always talk about the same thing (adulthood! finding the meaning in the seemingly insignificant! LA is weird!) in the same way for an audience that was, uh, small.
That much time/energy/thought/etc. has a way of feeling “not worth it,” which is not a very romantic admission about writing, but it’s the truth. Because here’s the thing: I care a lot about what I write and what I post. When I write, I slice off a small piece of my heart and leave it on the page. I’ve always been this way. I guess this is what happens when you’ve kept a diary for 25 years. Now, this isn’t a brag or even an endorsement for telling the whole truth every time you create something. I should also mention that I’ve written plenty of things that are 10000% imagined and made-up. But the core of most of my writing is usually a hyper-specific emotion that I experienced once, and the feelings that came after, and then I compress it all into a teeny-tiny, about-to-burst kernel and hide it inside of the fiction (and also inside of myself!). And then when it’s time to write, I sit and think about that one time when I was 18 and I told a guy I had a crush on that I was “really getting into Broken Social Scene” but I was so nervous to talk to him that I fucked up the band name and I said “Social Broken Scene.” And now 13 years later, I still think about that and I can feel my face flush and my lower back start to sweat. But instead of writing the story as it happened, I will convert it into 5000 words of fiction that tiptoe up to the edge of Embarrassment and just peer over. And even though I’ve chosen not to tell the actual story, climbing up to the ledge just to peer over takes a lot of energy, too. No matter how you slice it, writing can be exhausting.
In terms of my personal blog protocol, though, my point is this: I don’t want to present anything that is untrue. I’ve tried on a couple of different writing voices over the years, and none of them fit, and I would always rather show up as myself (which is…such an embarrassing thing to say! Don’t worry, I’ll think about it for the rest of my life). But I don’t want to share too much, either. This is a public-facing platform, I have a job that does not require me to have a social media presence, and I have older family members on the internet. HARD PASS on exposing too much of myself! I also don’t get paid to do this. Did you know that? I’m sure you did. (Though I secretly hope that at least one of you is like…but I thought that’s why you moved to LA. To blog…professionally!) There are few rewards here–or anywhere, really–for slicing up your whole heart for the internet to passively consume. There are absolutely circumstances where it’s worth it to do so, and I work really hard to identify those opportunities. But I can honestly say that a blog (at this time in my life anyway) is probably not the best place to lay it all out there every single time I post.
Which is how I stop posting.
I realize now, 10 years and thousands of words later, that I back off from the blog when it starts to feel like I’m not saying enough real things. Or like I’m one big wind gust away from being knocked into the canyon and just spilling my guts. (Also, if you have any suggestions on how to further this cliff/canyon metaphor, let me know, I’m not “outdoorsy,” per se.) The stopping is protective, as most stoppings usually are.
But I’d like to find something a little more in-between.
It’s been a difficult, surreal, confusing year for many of us, myself included. I don’t know what to say about it, because there is no neat and easy way to say you miss the world. As is my blog nature, I’m choosing not to be pithy because that feels weird, but I absolutely am not going to spill aforementioned guts anywhere, because that feels weird, too. I wrote A LOT between March of last year and now (brag!) but only a few people have read any of it, including the fine editors and contest readers at myriad publications and festivals who straight-up rejected me. Which is fine! The point, though, is that I have written. It’s just the blog that needs figured out.
I recently re-read* The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. This passage hit me:
Gregor spent his nights and days with hardly any sleep. Sometimes he thought that the next time the door opened he would take over the family arrangements just as he had earlier. In his imagination appeared again, after a long time, his employer and supervisor and the apprentices, the excessively gormless custodian, two or three friends from other businesses, a chambermaid from a hotel in the provinces, a loving fleeting memory, a female cashier from a hat shop, whom he had seriously, but too slowly courted—they all appeared mixed in with strangers or people he had already forgotten…(Kafka, 57)
I think about people a lot, too. So I’ve decided to come back and talk every once in a while. (It’s also worth noting that I cut that Kafka quote before Gregor expresses that he actually doesn’t miss any of those people, but Gregor is going through it, so he’s entitled to feeling any bug feeling he wants. Also, this one has a bummer ending, so tread lightly, my fellow bug people!)
Anyway, I’m sort of back, sort of not. Working on something in the middle, at least. Stay tuned.
*I also re-read Bunnicula in 2020. It holds up!