Blogging–the sheer amount of time and effort, hours and hours–is something I don’t talk about offline. How would I describe it? Addictive. Debilitating.
When I wrote for a blog with an audience, I had the promise of feedback prodding me into work. At the same time, writing became more and more difficult: there was so much anxiety hanging on each short essay. About William Saletan re: partial-birth, even, and that was dwarfed by the fear that would leap up whenever I wrote about anything important. Eventually, it was too much to continue. And yet, not blogging hasn’t made me more productive–the opposite, actually. I sometimes wish I hadn’t given it up. Politics aside, personality aside, at least I was making words.
I wonder if blogging isn’t a way to channel–and neutralize–some of the rare tendencies that make writers. Obsessive editing and reading, picking over and picking out words. I’ve gotten used to doing these things primarily on blog, and I may have lost the habit of associating them with other media and formats.
The thing is, I like writing. I like being a writer. I don’t want to send my work elsewhere. But at the same time, it really doesn’t seem–after a decade–as though blogging will result in anything but more blogging.
So now what?
We moved in yesterday. The house is beautiful inside, but its newness makes it feel uninhabitable. There’s something hostile about living in a house no one has prepared for you, as though it’s reserved for someone else. It’s also chilly suddenly: the gentle slide into winter is something else to miss about California.
We’re driving downcountry to help with arrangements. It’s as elaborate as a military campaign, these movements of troop and horse, scheduling and provisioning. A whole family has to converge on a single home, to straighten out a single life, hand over hand.
Without going into detail: we hear about the “Death Tax;” can we talk about the dying tax? The shortfall between Medicare and Medicaid that can only be solved by the premature liquidation of all your assets? I wish I knew someone about to die with more than three million dollars on hand, so I could be outraged for them.
Apparently, the very first thing I did was lose my old wordpress login and my confirmation email address, so I can no longer blog under the name I’ve been using for a decade now.
I’ve started this blog because I need a blog again. I used to denigrate the writing I did on blogs as inferior to real writing: ephemeral, shallow, picayune. Then I stopped blogging, gradually, and started doing nothing but commenting on other people’s blog entries. And my comments became wholly polemical. I stopped writing personally, even though my personal writing was my best writing.
At some point in the decline I got a tumblr. tumblr is not really a blog; tumblr is more like a spike file on the internet. It has no archives as such, only a pile of virtual papers. Nothing is organized, and nothing connects in any but the most incidental ways. I’m not the kind of person, let alone the kind of writer, who responds well to that level of freedom.
I am not blaming tumblr! I do not blame tumblr for ruining my life or wasting my time or giving me an attention span of about thirty seconds and the emotional volatility of a terrier. I stopped blogging for myriad reasons, which will be delved into at length here if I can find the time. tumblr did not help me get back on the horse. tumblr is not really a horse. tumblr is one of those riding dildo machine sex toys, sybarite or something, wish I could google. tumblr is not helping.
And I want to do some writing again.
This is about the tenth time–or, no, the eightieth time–I’ve said exactly that before starting a blog or leaving all the pretty pictures off my tumblr or getting into a pitched battle on facebook. We’ll see how it goes. But I honestly believe the format has been a small part of the problem.
So I’m on WordPress. What would be some other suitable taglines? “The same river twice?”