In a world of constant communication—relentless thoughts expressed, instant responses to accounts of mundane activities—a blog seems positively old-fashioned. For many of us, Facebook has become a [the?] way we communicate with friends, acquaintances, business associates, even those we lust after. Our interconnected comments and status updates mean that our reflections about life and each other are quick hits, fragmented but frequent, instant and cavalier. Not good, not bad, but definitely a new kind of real. For many of us, blogs served that same purpose, B.FB. My own wildly successful first blog (yeah, I'm still really funny) had at its heart a series of status updates. One of the things that made chronicling those years so fun was to be part of a community of witty writers who did the same thing. Almost without exception those folk have moved on. When I want to know what's up with Meema, Woolgatherer, Squab and so on, I don't go to their blogs anymore; I simply launch Facebook.
To contemplate a blog now is to acknowledge that writing needs a space in my life, and that people care about what I have to say, and how I say it. Maybe only a handful of people, but still, I have my loyal few. To make a blog work in this day and age means, I think, showing a willingness to experiment, to pick themes and exhaust them, to go beyond the Facebook status tease and share more than a few words at a time. To the drumbeat of "blogs are self-referential, me-focused, navel-gazing blogger" I would add, "yes." Writing what we know is how we start. HOW we do it, that's what determines value, however you define it. And let's face it, if I'm going to write, and I do, why not grab the feedback that comes from thoughtful commenters? Why not push myself to craft an essay that can be read by a few, honed and reshaped and transformed to useful fodder for another project? Who's to say. But we'll try here.
The occasion of my last blog was a major life transition: returning to school at forty. That hurdle past, I expected some years of quiet gentlemanly pursuits. Instead, I am surprised to find myself in the biggest upheaval(s) of my life: a new job, a partner seriously ill, the relationship unraveling as a result, living in limbo, a cherished pet dying, some minor health challenges of my own. I find myself overwhelmed and baffled, excited and terrified, sad and lonely and grateful and loved: sometimes in the span of an hour. Maybe if some of the craziness works its way out here we'll find a way to work out other weird shit together, and maybe we'll learn from each other's mistakes, and learn what it means to be okay. Maybe my stories will inspire your stories and your stories will change my life. Maybe real life is bigger than Facebook. Maybe I have something to say. Maybe you want to listen. Again.