If you don’t see me posting on the socials for a while, don’t be too alarmed. We’ve had a falling out, social media and I. I don’t want to be one of those guys who stomps his feet, picks up the ball and storms off saying that I don’t want to play anymore. (I guess one can’t help appearing that way.) But as I slouch into my 40s I get that feeling like Facebook and Twitter and all their ilk are like great lumbering beasts sharting out great hypnotizing clouds of faux news and belching giant isolating thought bubbles and that every time I visit, every time I post, every interaction I have with one of those services I’m feeding that damn beast, shoving bits of undeserved food into their maws while the world suffers through misinformation and sinks deeper into that brave new world, a soma-coma of rot, of feelings overtaking truths, perceptions overpowering evidence. It’s left me feeling sad and overwhelmed, like trying to hold back a tsunami with a little plastic pail on the beach. So, my little vacations over and lacking anything more interesting to share with you there for a while, instead I’m going to focus on a social media thought machine I can control: this blog. I’ll lurk on the other sites, a little, but don’t expect much else more me for a while.
For the entire month of June I’ve been writing a series of blog-a-day posts based on a set series of open-ended questions to myself. This is the LAST of those posts. It’s done! Huzzah! We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming… until next June.
June 30th // Something You Want To Share
We always seem to be trying to teach kids to share. It’s a mantra: Share! Why aren’t you sharing? You need to share! SHARE! And if they don’t share? Then we force them to share until they remember who is in charge.
But then when we unavoidably turn into adults, sharing becomes almost like a bad word (unless it refers to cookies or other tasty carbohydrates) with all sorts of (yes) good but also bad connotations: Sharing is for hippies. Sharing is dog-eared library books covered in someone else’s grubby finger goops. Sharing is taxes and quasi-socialism. Sharing is what electronic pirates do with music and movie files. Sharing is giving away trade secrets and breaching non-disclosure agreements. Sharing is risk and putting a piece of yourself out into the world for everyone to trounce and pounce and judge. Sharing is letting someone else have what you’ve worked for.
Or… how cynical am I?
I’ve just spent the last twenty-nine days (plus today) writing this series of 29 (plus one) blog-a-day posts, presumably because I feel inclined to share…. what? Something. In fact, over the course of this month, I’ve gradually — the same sort of way I inched into the cold ocean water when swimming on vacation, letting a little more of the cool shock splash up on me with each tenuous step — re-opened this blog to public consumption. I’ve ever-so-gradually added little tweaks, changes, enhancements, plugins, code, and all that, here and there that make it easier and easier to find. I’ve dipped back into the sharing realm. I’ve reloaded (or so the new title would have you believe) even though said sharing wasn’t necessarily in the plan at the outset back on June first. But this blog is now effective and unabashedly shared.
And that was something of a sticky point way back in early May when I first started poking at this blog again, the bulk of it still hidden behind the twisted labyrinth of secret domains, layered passwords, and search-engine-blocking code. Sharing was something I was wanting to do, but not exactly remembering how. Sticky. Sticky because sharing is all those things I listed above, but also a bunch of good things too: Sharing is words and thoughts and memories building a collective history with each other. Sharing is photographs spreading pictures of my life and fun and family around the internets to make friends and other family happy. Sharing is a grain of an idea spawning new ideas spawning new ideas spawning new ideas spawning new ideas, ad infinitum, until we all know something better and deeper than we did before. Sharing is letting someone else have what you’ve worked for.
Chances are you haven’t gone back to any old posts to figure out why this blog mysteriously reappeared here again. And chances are you are rolling your eyes while you read this because you are sitting at your desk scrolling through this text and thinking, “oh shit, here he goes again…” And chances are you don’t even care.
But I’ve got a much better sense of something I want to share now. I’ve thought about it. A lot. Probably I’ve thought about it too much. But there it is. Share… and enjoy.
What’s there to say? A month ago today I started typing away on this blog again and forty-some posts later I seem to be back in the habit.
But no. It’s been good. It’s been cathartic, in a sense. Things in my life are reasonably calm and relaxed, and the ability to open up and just, y’know, write… fill pages with this stuff that’s floating around my brain… has been useful. And still, it helps that this is pretty much a private place. I’m not hiding it, per se, but I’m not broadcasting — tweeting, facebooking, messaging the world — its existence.
One or two exceptions, of course, but those are quite subtle and perhaps yet unnoticed.
I think it helps that I can already leaf back through the last month and get a glimpse of little moments, memories, happenings that I’m glad I caught and wrote down before they drifted into nothingness. It’s been worth that much, so far, and even if I woke up tomorrow and decided this little reloaded experiment was over, well, I had that much.
I spent a couple hours this evening and worked on my template again. For the moment the template is not changing. It’s refining. It’s honing closer to the concept I want to get across. It’s drifting in line with the spirit of the blog that I feel I want to convey (when and if someone else ever begins reading this) in the form of a template and images and scratchy little icons. Of course, by the time you are reading this the template may have changed a number of more times. Heck I read through the archives and realized that this blog — this loose collection of writing — has had half a dozen names and five times that many templates, formats, and hosts. Who can say what it will look like in ten years. Who can say what any of this will matter. But for the reference of the future, the template right now is a variation on the template I used prior to the break: a sketchy-styled blue-block text header on a white backdrop. When I revamped last month, I added some grunge and coffee stains to make it look worn and old, like a tattered notebook pulled from a dusty drawer somewhere and revisited with new words. This evening, I added a new feature (with the same grungy styling) placing a row of highlighted topic feature boxes under the header banner, the idea being that I want to slowly focus my blog. I don’t want to make it exclusively about those six topics (fatherhood, running, photography, writing, information management, and gaming) but instead align the writing as a kind of fifty percent topics versus fifty percent unfocussed writing, with the understanding that those six topics are what I write most about anyhow.
So, yeah. A month later and it’s starting to form up again. I’m starting to get a purpose. I’m starting to get some joy out of writing this. And I think I’ll keep it up.
The truth of it is that I’m probably overcompensating right now…
I mean, I haven’t really blogged in over a year. And I do mean blogged. Really blogged. That act of just opening up a blank bit of screen and letting the text run freely, not so much concerned about opinions as much as marking a point in time, and then hitting publish and letting the words float into the past for some impossible future, a self-referencing journal of narcissistic whimsy. And I kinda have this urge to get it all caught up — trivial as it is — like I missed telling so much and now I need to fill in the blanks. Like I need to back fill for the last year, tell all the stories I missed between then and now, about being unemployed for six months, about the contract work I did, about my new job, about being a dad to a ferociously smart little girl, about grandma’s funeral, about traveling to the Dominican Republic and Hawaii a few months later, about new friends, lost friends, past ideas, thoughts, ideologies, about what I’ve been reading, writing, building, and playing, about running, running injuries, pains, and doubts, about dealing, diverting, distracting, and dismissing the angsts of months gone past, about new thoughts and perspectives, and about all the trivial life events in between. About everything that has filled the year.
There’s just so much.
Such as, for example, I just this morning transferred over my “2010 New Years List.” Yes, it’s May 2011, but back in December, feeling both rested (just back from the first of those aforementioned vacations) and nostalgic for the turn of the year annual recap, I wrote out a revised attempt at my annual New Years Recap gush timed perfectly for post, and albeit in a shortened, tighter, revised take on the list, posted it on another blog. Less fluff. It was delivered being more stuffed with introspective, and carefully crafted thoughtful replies — I would argue — but delivered nonetheless. I backdated it, but noted atop the list a brief explanation of the history.
And there’s still so much. And so much I’ve already forgotten. Dust, as some might say, in the wind.
This will probably be the last of the ‘retrospective regret’ posts. I’ve given myself this twenty-four hour window to do this thing I just called overcompensating. Twenty-four hours to catch up on a year of missed musings. Twenty-four hours for an unapologetic gush of this-is-why-I-changed-my-mind blurts of text before it’s time to move on with the much less meta postings. Twenty-four hours before I return to the regular musings of life, the universe, and everything.
It will pepper throughout, of course, this missed history. But that’s another matter.
But, as a final — official — word on the topic I wanted to share one last reason. I might even call it the metaphorical straw that broke the metaphorical back of the metaphorical camel: in other words, what tipped the balance on my flip-flopped decision to resurrect this blog? See, I’d been thinking about it for a while now. Pondering. I was supposing that it having been a year or more after the events that tipped the balance the other direction — thoughts cooled, circumstances changes, perspective bought and paid for — minds might be changed. And by chance, my Facebook feed prompted me up the motivation: a friend linked to a posthumously published posting of a west coast Canadian blogger, the short essay called the last post. If the link still exists when you read this, I encourage you to click over and read it for yourselves. A blogger — a dad, husband, artist, musician, etc — just a few years older than myself, who’s blog I’d unfortunately never read until after he died of cancer a few days prior to this very post, the one you are reading now, wrote a beautiful goodbye to his readers and everyone he loved, and asked that it be published after he died. It was. And like all amazing and purposeful messages, it touched a lot more people than he probably ever intended, and went viral on the net. Which is where I came in: as yet another tourist to his concluded life. And, perhaps like had happened to others too, the message, literal and sub textual, got to me. His perspective in the end was not so much different from my perspective, all of creatively, expressively, and ideologically: and in the end his words hearkened to my own nuanced feelings on the topic of both the risk and responsibility of keeping a blog or any public writing, and the reasons for assuming such risks and responsibilities. It hinted at a purpose in a life that might not be measurable in much more than the wake one creates traveling through it. And I noted that I’d been doing little more than trolling in that respect, though that was never my intention, never something I wanted to have happen, and never a responsibility I wanted to forsake because of fear or feigned offense. It made me think it might be time to pick up those oars — to extend my boating metaphor just one inch further — and test them back in the waters of this digital life I’ve cherished so much, and missed even more.
A few minutes later I flipped the switch back on for this space, and wrote that first reloaded post. And the rest? Read on, I guess…
It’s funny. I wrote in a post about a year ago that I’d finished with blogging here. Permanently, I wrote.
But I’m not so entirely sure anymore.
See, the thing is this: you may not like what I write, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I should need to censor myself to make you more comfortable. This is my paltry little existence, like it or leave it, but it’s mine. It’s defined by the limited time I have on this planet, the limited experiences I can absorb being bracketed as we all are by birth and death and forced to tread through time in a constant linear, moment-by-moment path. And see, you may not agree with what I have to say, but it’s my choice to say it, and if readers choose to frame their relationships to me differently because of that then so be it.
See, the thing is also this: I don’t really think there is much more to this little life of mine than this. No, not this blog. But, this. This right now, right here. By that, I mean, you know… this life is what you get. That’s it. I was brought up to believe differently, but I don’t really — even though that will probably make a ton of people either angry or disappointed to read (supposing they haven’t guessed already.) So, given that, I figure I should make more of this little life, and after a year of drifting in the uncertain tides of self-expression and quasi-rational, largely-emotional outputs, I realize that this blog was one of those things that grounded me as I tried to give meaning to this short, temporary little life of mine.
Again, like it or leave it.
A year has passed since I cut all this off. A year has trickled by, and the stuff I wrote building up to the cut off seems so silly now. I mean, who cares, and if you really want to go sort through that shit and read it again, pine over it again, then fine. Just know, I’m not a one dimensional, static character: my own thoughts change, and I’ve probably going to re-evaluate everything I’ve ever wrote here in the context of my past year’s experience, including (a) an emotional trouncing, (b) a span of unemployment, (c) a career re-evaluation, and most of all (d) a shattering of some of the (admitted) naivety I held about the world.
I’m still growing. And I use this blog to think out loud — or at least I used to.
I’d like to again. So. I’m back. Kinda. One toe in the water, just to see how it feels, you know. And that’s how it’s going to go.
…dipping my feet into the water to see how it feels.
I’m not sure what I’ll do about that yet.
There was more here once.
You may have noticed.
A long time ago, lost within the glistening epochs of time immortal, I was something other than what I seem to be now. I don’t know where that is, or how it goes. If you don’t like it, imagine how I feel.
Days pass. The city rages.
I was peering down some path not taken, peeking around corners yet explored, and I realized that I had seen it all before. It is a frightening thing. It is epic. And I find some connection where once there was much.
The folds of our simple existence are trapped like so many lingering thoughts. Did I say that already? Did I mention that something is following me through the streets of this place, lurking. I can feel it. I can hear it. Taste it. Warmth, waiting just beyond the firmness of absolute perception.
I crossed the grid last night. No one noticed. Not even me, until it had happened. Am I being too cryptic? Are you missing the point? Are you not seeing any of this?
I’ll slow down and mention something completely unrelated. We went to the store last night. I bought a lock. Why? Because sometimes one just needs a sense of security. The price on the rack told us six dollars. The cash register rung up an unexpected one hundred and eighty dollars. Scanned. We waited while price checks, alterations, modifications, and authorizations were performed. It was marginally amusing.
But then there was this thing, see? A thing of something else, and something was somewhere doing more than I can ever describe. It was nice.
And then there was the city. I waited in the city. Lingering. Watching. Peering over my shoulder because I knew there was something following me, and that should I ever stop for a few minutes, open my eyes to that essence that is washing over the something, it would be more than just a tag-along, suspected but never proven.
I should wait.
I should sit down and let it find me. What could happen? Maybe then I would have more words to sell. Here. There. But mostly here.