The Nature of the Beast
It’s the wee hours of a Saturday morning, and I’m already regretting letting that last cup of coffee in the evening get the best of me — it’s so hard to resist a hot cup of something after dark when it’s this cold, but tea just feels so anemic, unless I go to great lengths to turn it into a latte-type thing that’s really just a counterfeit version of what I really want — a fucking cup of coffee.
I am determined to get back to blogging on the regular this coming year, and I think it just might be possible. I’ll still be doing a lot of paid writing work, which takes the wind out of the old sails a bit — the last thing I want to do after a day spent tapping away on my laptop to pay the bills is continue to tap away on my laptop for the hell of it. But I’m starting to realize that wasn’t the main part of my previous job that really put a damper on blogging for me. It was the constant, unending contact with other people — being on call 24/7 and sending and receiving dozens of messages a day.
The internet is awash with, uh, memes? — I think is the right word — and articles about introverts these days, another lovely side effect of the weird subculture Tumblr has become — everyone’s an introvert, now. But the one thing that really rings true for me is the concept of energy output versus input. While most people may not think of sitting down to write as an active form of communication, I find that my ability to do so is severely disrupted by what, to me, feels like an excessive outflow of social energy.
On top of that, in the time since my sporadically interrupted, unofficial hiatus from blogging began, the whole practice seems to have become hogtied to social media. I just can’t be bothered. I don’t even post on my private Facebook anymore, and Instagram, I kind of get, because that at least involves photos — a different medium — but if I have anything that’s really worth saying, won’t I need as much space as a blog post allows? And if I’m going to say anything that long, shouldn’t I do the world a favor and put it in my own space, where people have to intentionally seek it out, rather than bull-horning it into unsuspecting people’s timelines? And if it what I have to say can fit in a few respectable lines, does it really need to be broadcast to the world? Probably not. Why does Twitter even exist? I haven’t stopped asking myself that question for over a decade now.
I realize blogging is dying, because no one wants to invest that much time in someone else’s life anymore, but to me, that’s counterintuitive, because if I don’t want to invest that much time in someone else’s life, I sure as fuck don’t want spend time flicking through their every brief and fleeting thought.
I know I was born outdated, but getting nearer my mid-30s is really driving the point home. I don’t know that I really have a point, which is the thing about making the decision to open a ‘new post’ window at 3am, but a series of strange, insomnia-fueled clicks on Google led me back to the source — Livejournal, if you can believe that — and somehow, I just became nostalgic for the days before blogging was a business and everything on the internet was sponsored. And, in some ways, the days before I felt so guarded about every little thing I posted online.
For me, for the writing I do that doesn’t earn me one red cent, the most satisfying outcome is to get to the truth of something. But we seem to be living in a world that’s become painfully how-to, or worse — aspirational. I don’t altogether mind writing something that explains what I already know, but I vastly prefer the kind of writing that teaches me something instead.
You know. Whatever. I got a degree in poetry in the 21st century, and most days I don’t regret it. Not paying any attention to what I should be doing has served me fairly well in life so far, or at least I’ve been relatively satisfied with the outcome. I’m going to make chocolate babka in the morning(ish), so maybe I’ll do a post then about something that could actually be useful to someone. Until then, well, I guess I’ll just apologize for not being able to compress this all down to 140 characters.