Sun. 11.18.18 – Yes, I am back in London to write. I find that I write best here, for a number of reasons both known and rather mysterious to me. When I am home in California, I can muster 2000-4000 words per month, hardly words enough to finish a short story in reasonable time – let alone a book. When I am in London, I can reach that word count in two days or less.
The last two years of US politics have heavily weighed me down and when I get to London, as long as I stay off of the news and social media sites, I am able to feel slightly bouyant again. At least here, I can float in my imagination – unfettered from the fecal matter of US politics – long enough to create and write.
While I am not participating in the NaBloPoMo nor NaNoWriMo, I am doing my best to restart my blogging practice in a more regular fashion – albeit in clumps – as well as finish writing a few stories and a book.
Here I am for a month. Let’s see how much writing and editing I can get done. Wish me luck.
Photo taken by Ms. Jen from the Embankment Golden Jubilee Bridge at dusk with her camera phone.
This is a blog post. All the blog posts compiled together are a blog.
It drives me slightly nuts when people call a blog post a blog. You are writing and posting to a blog, thus it is a blog post.
One does not call one deer a herd. Nor does one call a crow a murder, nor a dog a pack. To have a herd of deer, one needs more than 3 or 4 deer – plural. One needs at least 3 or 4 dogs to have a pack. Multiple crows to have a murder. etc.
For the folks who write blog to indicate a singular instance, one wonders what they call a plural or grouping or compilation of said singular instanctiation? Can’t be a blog can it?
Wed. 11.30.16 – 2016 seems to be the year of endings. After the US Elections, I saw several folks on Twitter calling 2016 ‘anno horribilis’. I am not quite ready to call it a horrible year, as we still have another month to the year for a major tsunami, nuclear war, asteroid strike, a plague that kills billions, gamma ray from an exploding star, etc.
I feel even more than ever that it is time for me to take back up with my own version of personal mixed with life mixed with professional mixed with tech mixed with humor blogging, as I truly believe that making and creating in the face of adversity is how we best express our humanity. Although I may suck at blogging on a regular schedule, I will do my best to blog here a few times a week and on some weeks more.
Dear 2016, please calm down for the next 31 1/2 days.
Sat. 11.12.16 – I promised myself and Roland that I would blog every day this month to help me get back into the swing of blogging again. And it has.
Big thanks to Roland for all of his encouragement and comments.
I have not much to say today other than this week got more extra special when I was returning home from the vet to drop Scruffy off for cremation. I felt nauseous as Belle and I drove back and as I pulled into a parking spot I knew I would not make it into the apartment. I got very sick. Luckily, I still had two dog bowls in the car.
I have the flu. I am still crying about Scruffy. And Trump is still Doofus-in-Chief-Elect. Gah.
It has been 5 years, 6 months, and 22 days since I was hit with a large shockwave that blew me off my daily blogging perch. I have struggled time and again during this past half a decade to resume a daily blogging practice to only have the silence over take my blog, my typing fingers, and more deeply my soul.
For many bloggers this past half a decade has been a time to leave their personal blogs for writing on their Twitter or Facebook or Medium or other social accounts. That has not been the case for me, as the silence has gone deeper: I quit Facebook in April 2012, I see no reason why I should write on Medium when I could write here, and my Tweeting has declined since 2011-2012 significantly.
No, the real problem that I have become silent. My whole world, internally and externally, has shrunk. And this is more than ok, it was necessary.
I have had one major cycle of quiet whole life silence in the past, where I withdrew into myself for a period of nearly four years. It was a time of reading, learning and conserving my energies before I jumped back out again.
I am not interested in discussing at length what happened in the past but finding a way forward from here. While I am not quite ready to be out and about yet, I am working steadily in the background; there are a number of background processes currently running of writing, thinking, and taking photos.
I am writing fiction stories to be published soon. And I am, also, thinking quite a bit on ideas and trends in technology and how people use it – whether I blog about it anytime soon remains to be seen. I continue to take and mostly post photos daily to Flickr and/or Instagram and/or here.
I don’t think the personal blog is dead. This one may be quiet and full of photos, but it is not dead and the background processes may very well come to the foreground soon.
I like the Dish. I am not and was not too fond of all the intricate details of the Washington D.C. political scene, but I very much liked Mr. Sullivan’s perspective, breadth of blogging interests (Hello, beardoftheweek!), and insights into worlds and cultures that I don’t live in. And that is what the best of blogging does no matter the subject matter, it gives the reader a personal view into a world(s) or culture(s) or interest(s). In particular, Mr. Sullivan and his team gave me insights and views into many worlds. Thank you, Mr. Sullivan.
It is this quote in his going away post, that reflects a similar trend in my own life that I have not written about much here on this/my blog:
“The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully.”
I have been online daily since 1994. I have been creating websites and various bits on the web and internet since 1996. I have been receiving my primary income from web work since 2000. In the late summer of 2010, a large tumult occurred when the internet start up that I co-founded and spent up to 16 days in a row without a day off coding for failed and I had to ‘pivot’. While my pivot to mobile web and app development made a great deal of sense at the time, it took a toll. By 2012 I realized that I was burnt out – burnt out on web design client work, burnt out on bigger project contract work, burnt out on trying to get my own app ideas out of my computer, and just plain emotionally and psychologically burnt out.
In real life, I got sick – weekly or more migraines, bad environmental allergies, insomnia, bad stomach acid issues, etc – my body was sending me several large notice to cures and I felt pressured by work ethic guilt to not listen. In real life many wonderful and well-meaning friends and web colleagues encouraged me to get back up on the saddle and find another music or mobile start-up to work in or write that tech book on mobile user experience or… or…
In 2012, I traveled, I came back home refreshed, some family stuff hit the fan, I traveled again hoping to regain my perspective, then the family stuff really hit the fan. I found myself trapped in 2013. Sick, stuck, angry, stuck, working on a couple of mobile apps that would never see the light of any app store, broke, and did I mention angry and still sick?
A little over 9 months ago, I pulled the plug. I gave notice at my overly expensive apartment, I lined up a few house sitting gigs for family & friends, I stopped checking and posting to social media sites more than once a day, and off I went to figure out how to slow down, to live, create, and thrive in the actual world again.
I did something that I have wanted to do for years but never could allow myself to do in my rush to always be on and always be useful/working, I started reading fiction again – both in paper book and ebook form. And shooting film on two actual real live film cameras, as well as a weekly photo walk with my Nikon D800 DSLR. And went out to look at the stars as much as I could with my binoculars. And I discovered the wonderful world of onlinefan fiction.
It sounds odd but the world of online fan fiction helped me to remember what I loved so much about the internet in the beginning and middle of my life on the web: folks from anywhere and everywhere gathering together in communities over specific interests and sharing their d.i.y. creations to their online friends in those communities. The creations may not be polished, they may not be shiny, and they may never have a business plan or V.C. backing, but they are really the best of the web.
Much like Mr. Sullivan, I wanted to slow down, get off the web hamster wheel and figure out how to live again. Sorry if there has been much silence in the public facing parts of my digital life, especially on Twitter, but I don’t regret the last year of silence. Like Mr. Sullivan, I am also a human being before I am a person on the web, I am a creator before I am a web worker, and I am a creator and a human being and a friend before I am a social media __________*.
One of the things that I am looking forward to in the supposed future of the internet of things – a digital life that is an embedded, ubiquitous, and mundane part of every day life rather than a screen that demands all attention. To quote the old Nokia taglines, it is the act of creating with the technology and connection to people that makes the digital life interesting, not to be subsumed into it.
Good luck to Mr. Sullivan in his reading, writing, and personal life endeavors. Good luck to me in attempting to find a good work / life balance between creating for earth monies and creating for the love of it.
* Given how much I truly hate the words that social media and marketing industry folks use for people with high to medium numbers of followers on the major social media sites, I won’t be using the term(s) to describe myself. My hate for one particularly gross term, that starts with an ‘i’ and ends in an ‘r’, is the subject of a whole blog post to come.
“During the panel I shared a sadness I’ve felt about the increasing lack of independent storytelling online, how so much of the content being produced now is all about images and beautifully styled vignettes. So much of the web has become a giant Pinterest board”
While I don’t read many lifestyle blogs, I have noticed that many of the food blogs I have read for years are now more like a slick food magazine than a blog. More and more of the bloggers I know have either gone professional or they have stopped blogging.
I enjoy the holdouts who are not sponsored and who are blogging/writing/sharing their passions for the joy of it, even if their passion is also their profession. A few of my current favorite blogs are: