I don’t really remember when or why I stopped writing, but after more than 10 years of more or less the same thing…it was time to take a real break.
But without writing, I have felt like a defanged predator – full of the urge, but without the means. That is to say, it’s not really that I haven’t wanted to write. I have just felt as if I haven’t the words with which to do so.
So that’s partly how we got here.
Also, though, at a certain point I began to wonder – is writing all this stuff down more harmful than helpful? Am I exposing myself to too much criticism when what I need is support? Am I sharing things that I will regret later?
The truth is that, in looking at myself and my writing even in my most vulnerable, pain-drunk, vicious state (i.e., those Molotov cocktails of flame and shrapnel launched at Frederic’s head), I have no regrets. Sometimes I have said things that were hard or harsh or patently ridiculous, but they were true in the moment, and I’m glad I was true to the writing urge.
When I started blogging over 10 years ago, the universe of blogs didn’t exist as it does now. People were just doing their own little thing in various, quiet corners of the Internet – some on Xanga, and LiveJournal, and other free spaces – and sometimes we were linked together through groups and lists. Through that network of groups and Spaces to Be, I’ve made some amazing real-life friends.
But back then, there weren’t these ideas of branding, or platform, or revenue generation looming over every blogger – blogging wasn’t a business. It was more subversive, and weird – like putting your diary out in public for strangers to pick up and read. So, a decade ago, when I told people I had a blog, first they’d ask me what the hell it as, and once I explained it, then they looked at me like I had horns.
Now, these sites are a dime a dozen. People distinguish between being A Writer, and being A Blogger. Bloggers can make an actual, legitimate living off their websites. (Writers, on the other hand, still struggle.) In order to keep up with the crowd, you have to have a flashy theme, and the right comment platform, and you have to actively moderate, and produce content, and cross-post across platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook).
It’s exhausting. It’s not what I started doing a decade ago, and it’s not really what interests me.
So that’s also how we got here. I’m just here to write, man.
I’ve never been known for being a spectacularly adaptable person, and sometimes I fear I used up every ounce of flexibility in my body when I was going through my divorce and career change and had to be constantly light on my feet. Since then, I’ve spent the better part of six years settling back into a routine of living on the Upper East Side, running marathons, travelling, and being a deliriously happy dog-mom to my beloved Roo.
I’m standing on the cusp of real change for the first time in about half a decade, and I know I need to push through; I know I need to write about it.
But I’m a creature of habit. And I’m scared.
Scared to adapt to a new life; scared to adapt to writing in a world where the output is considered “content”; scared to grow and change and believe that letting go makes room for good things.
That’s where we are.