I seem to have fallen silent – at least on here.
When the blog started in 2006, bloggers were already an established thing. But Facebook was not. Twitter was not. Social media was something entirely different than it is now, and not the twelve-headed beast that has connected us all and simultaneously disconnected us from one another.
The long form essay, the thoughts strung together on a daily basis, sometimes with pictures: those things have been replaced by the 140-character soundbite, the link to something that links to something that links to a meme that is passe before it’s even 72 hours old.
I like to think that this blog created something lasting and permanent, a print of my life, my thoughts, my views. I love going back to see the moments of my daughter’s life that are not recorded in any other form. I treasure that my father’s last months were captured here, that I was able to articulate some thoughts about marriage and family and the passage of time.
Now my daughter is ten years old and entering a new stage in life, where she struggles to learn and find her way with peers, where she is testing her boundaries with us and testing the tensile strength of our family bond.* I can’t post pictures of her like I used to without feeling that I need permission – she is a different person, her own entity and spirit in a way that differs from when she was small.
My work life has changed as well. Since my father died, I stopped working for someone else and have my own business, which has started to consume exponentially more of my time. My involvement in the youth retreat program has ended, my husband has his own business, and the extra time I have seems to revolve around something other than blogging.
I’m not saying this blog is going away. What’s happening is that it feels as though I’ve said what I need to say in this format and perhaps I need to rethink what to say and where to say it. What it means to me to be a writer is still elemental: I have a story, I have a voice, I have a need to set it down for posterity and reach out with it to touch other people.
How I do that by writing about school lunch ideas or making detergent has become my dilemma. This blog has strayed from how I feel about things to being a record of what I did that day – I don’t like that development. Obviously, there is a time and place for rants and anecdotes and recipes, but they are the extras.
In other media, I post snapshots, school lunches, jokes, daily events and running commentary. I have come to realize that I want my written voice to be more than just a series of soundbites. I want this strange and complex and beautiful life God has given me to look like more than a jumble of hastily scribbled sticky notes.
For now, I would appreciate knowing what it is you most value from this forum. That may help determine where I go from here.
But meanwhile? After not writing from age 20 until age 38, I have spent nearly seven years exorcising the trauma of my thin-skinned college self reeling from the shock of a C grade in creative writing. What an idiot I was, but what a gift that turned out to be. I spent the past seven years and over 1,500 posts learning all over again what writing meant to me. It means everything.
The blog stays up – I will still post on a semi-regular basis.
But. It’s time to start that book.
*By the way. Her name is April. His name is Phil. And they are completely wonderful.