The truth is, I’ve been off the online journal circuit since before it ever got popular. In fact, I’m going to bet that the last time I wrote consistently was 2008-ish, which was about two years after my crazy ass Vegas girlfriend and I called it quits. (Though I had to keep slogging along at the journal for a while afterward because APPEARANCES.) I was pretty burnt out after that–I’d been writing several times a week for about seven years at that point–and I just let the last cute domain name (and there had been several over the years) fade back into the ether from whence it came. In the intervening nine years, I haven’t kept much of a journal in any form. I buy expensive and beautiful notebooks and keep them in decorative baskets on my bookshelves, preparing for the unavoidable eventuality (ha!) that one day I’ll be walking by and decide that today, instead of reading, I’ll write. That happens not nearly as often as I would like. I have many pretty notebooks with writing in them, but unfortunately, it stops after no more than 20 pages and never picks up again. I don’t know how it is for other people, but I’m just bizarre enough about my notebook journalling that I cannot allow too much of a passage of time between entries…skipping a year, for example, is totally not cool and absolutely necessitates beginning a new notebook. Were it not for the fact that I cannot stand to waste paper and that someday there’s probably going to be an apocalypse wherein I’ll need all the paper I can get, I would throw them away in a heartbeat. As it is, they just sit there and torment me.
The great thing about writing in this forum is that there is no paper to waste (and no money to waste on buying it). Also, until I decide I need all the bells, whistles, and customization options (which is at most a couple weeks down the road), it’s free. I admit, writing online again is also a lot like coming home, only it’s more than a little strange to have no history making the journey with me. Once upon a time, y’all, I didn’t go ANYWHERE without my archives, and quite honestly, I’m still having a hard time with the idea that they aren’t–and won’t ever be–here. Obviously, I’ll end up retelling some stories, but wow, it’s pretty weird to be out here all alone and unknown in this place where I once felt so seen and so at ease. (Isn’t it wild to hear anyone talking that way about the internet in this day and age?) I guess I’ll just have to move along by taking the advice of my high school public speaking teacher and fake it til I make it…someday, dammit, I’ll look (again) as prolific as I feel.
I have five books going at the moment. The majority of them are decent enough, and yet whenever I park my ass on the couch, I don’t end up reading a single one of them. My excuses are varied and only occasionally acceptable even to me:
- I have a cat on my lap who won’t stop nosing the Kindle.
- I have this pretty new Chromebook and I need to download ALL THE APPS and create ALL THE BOOKMARKS because I’ve never had one of these machines before and OHMYGOD I love it so much.
- I’m writing on the internet again and sweetbabyjesus, I have to write on the internet again right now.
- I have rolls and rolls and ROLLS of yarn pressed against my left leg and a 10-ton half-finished scrap afghan draped across my lap that I must work on RIGHT NOW because otherwise it’s just going to sit there forever and eventually suffocate me (and the cat).
- Truly, I have to watch the next episode of The West Wing, otherwise I’ll never finish, and I’d like to start over again with the pilot (for the twelfth time) by next week at the latest.
- The teenager(s) won’t stop talking to me long enough for me to read two sentences in a row. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind so much if he was talking. He’s laughing neurotically and making me watch stupid YouTube videos…what is it with these kids and their ridiculous videos?)
- I have to start supper/laundry/cleaning the bathroom. (Doesn’t that one sound responsible? I like that one.)
- If I read, I’ll just want to drink tea and eat way too many Sixlets, and I’m really trying to stop being a fat ass by Christmas.
- I can’t figure out what I’m in the mood for. What the hell do I want? Should I reread Harry Potter or The World According to Garp for the tenth time, or should I finish Hillbilly Elegy or the third Diana Gabaldon (which you can go ahead and shame me for because I’m already ashamed anyway)?
There are too many damned options and too many damned distractions and I’m overwhelmed by my way-too-lofty Goodreads reading goal for the year.
I think I’m just going to go to bed.
A month or so ago, The Chronicle of Higher Education posted an article about keeping a journal in the age of Trump. As a person interested in both first person historical accounts of traumatic events and journal writing, the piece spoke to me, though probably not in the way (or for the reasons) the author intended. For one thing, I already keep a sporadic paper journal, though it mostly contains the extremely malleable and changeable nutso thoughts that run around in my head on a day-to-day basis and not so much commentary on the utterly sickening and terrifying political goings-on in our country. Obviously, I wouldn’t choose to ever have those personal pages put on display in a museum, and it’s likely that no one would want to see them anyway. Secondly, though it’s been many, many moons ago now, I once kept an online journal (with several names and incarnations) that covered all sorts of topics–from political to personal and back again. Point being, I don’t imagine the article above had my type of writing in mind with its call to action, nor do I think that the author was advocating any kind of online notation of current events…there are plenty of news and personal sites doing that already. No, I’m fairly certain the writer was attempting to convince its readers that future generations would thank them if they would take pen to paper and describe what effect the current political climate was having on typical individuals trying to live their normal lives (and if there’s an Anne Frank among them, so much the better).
Well, needless to say, I am not Anne Frank. I do have an on-the-ground perspective of the world in which we live, but I doubt seriously that it’s any different from others; mostly, I just use a lot of profanity and try not to throw things at the television. Nevertheless, I am a person “of a certain age,” and I remember fondly the days when people wrote on the internet because it was there and because there were other awesome people doing it. I want to go back to those times, and I cannot help but hope that this pilgrimage back to the ‘net of my misspent youth leads back to those ridiculously amazing people and that I find myself still among their number. But even if there are no nice and/or brilliant people left writing on the web these days, I’m spending this evening pounding on the keyboard because there was a call in that article a few months ago, and I heard it: IT’S BEEN A FREAKIN’ LOT OF YEARS, BOO, AND IT’S TIME TO WRITE ON THE INTERWEBS AGAIN.
Here goes nothin’…