Lately I’ve seen a few calls of various sorts for people to bring back personal blogging. I don’t know that I care one way or another about if people bring back personal blogging, but somehow the suggestion created a tiny itch I couldn’t scratch. Should I start a blog? For some reason, the answer I kept coming up with wasn’t a clear and unambiguous “no.”
It’s not quite that this non-existent blogging renaissance has made me want to start a blog. It certainly isn’t that the desire to blog is exploding within me and I’ve finally thought of an outlet. It’s more that, this time, when I’d think, Man it’d be too much work to start a new blog of any kind and just not worth it at all, I’d realize that, well, I actually kind of already have a blog. That’s what this website is. I haven’t been using it as a blog, and that’s certainly not the main reason I made it, but this WordPress framework… It thinks it’s a blog even if I don’t. All it takes is just starting to type an entry into a new post, and, bam, blog post.
So look, I don’t know why I would start writing blog entries. But I seem to be talking myself into it for these reasons:
First, I miss writing (sort of) and want to have the regular writing practice. I’m a poet. Or, I have been a poet, since I started writing poetry in my mid-twenties. And before that, I’ve been a writer, as long as I can remember wanting to be something.
Or, I was a poet? I was a writer? I don’t know.
I stopped writing poetry in March of 2020. I guess, if I think about it, I tried to drag my writing practice into the pandemic. The absolute disruption of life of the early stages of the pandemic, combined with the stress of seeing how much worse everything was getting than it had to be, made writing impossible for me. I couldn’t concentrate. The textures of life and thinking I used to like to mine for writing poetry weren’t there anymore. I couldn’t read. I tried, for a while, writing every single day, but I didn’t want to just write about the pandemic and that was all that was happening. And somehow, some part of the faith in a world I had apparently needed to make the process of writing meaningful for me had disappeared. I’d write a bit and it felt empty to me. Just words on a page. There wasn’t anything there for me in thinking about phrases, ideas, juxtapositions the ways I always used to do.
Fortunately, I found my way to drawing, and I took up photography as a more serious pursuit. I’m happy with where I am creatively. I miss writing because it feels weird to me to have gone this long without really doing it. I don’t miss it out of any yearning for creative fulfillment that I can’t fill. I don’t miss it out of a feeling that I need to get back to what I was doing before. But there’s ways writing helps you organize your thinking. There’s ways writing allows you to articulate things that’d never have just unrolled in your head. In that way, I miss writing.
Second, it could potentially open up some space for me to feel like I can talk a little bit more about what I’m doing with my drawing and photography. I think I might like to start a newsletter people could subscribe to that goes out a few times a year and sort of recaps my drawings and photography from that part of the year. But if I did that, I’d want to feel like I know what I’m doing when I write about my work. I haven’t done that much, and it’d be natural to do that a little bit here, occasionally.
Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t have a whole lot that really want to say about what I’m doing artistically, so it might not come up all that much as a blog post topic. But then, I don’t really know what topics would be anyway, and for now the only real idea I have is to write a blog post that’s sort of the story of drawing in my life.
Even if my drawings and photography are not really the main subject I’m writing about, though, if I have this space where I occasionally write out things as blog posts, it would naturally lend itself to becoming a space where I occasionally comment on my art. I could also talk about the movies I watch sometimes, a bit. I don’t know. I’ll have to see what I feel like.
Third, it could be a way for me to bring my poetry and other writing into this website. This website was initially and always will be primarily a home for my drawings and photography (once I figure out how I’m bringing the photography into here LOL). But, I also think of what I’m doing here as continuous with my poetic practice in ways that are deeply important to me (even if I’m fudging a little bit). I haven’t really ever cared much about publication and I care even less now—it’s sort of hard for me to imagine drumming up the energy to work at trying seriously to publish the poetry I’ve written. But I think I might get something out of collating some of it and posting it here, maybe with some blog thoughts. Ultimately, this is my website. It’s about what I do. I never would have made this website if it hadn’t been for the reception my drawings have got, which then left me feeling that I’d like my drawings to exist on the internet in a form that isn’t fundamentally a social media post, and, yes, I don’t think I’d ever have thought there’s much point in making a website for my poetry. But I can bring it onto here. My poetry can be here because it’s a part of what I’ve done. It won’t get in the way of anything.
Fourth, occasionally I may want to post something a little bit more thought-through and written-out and seemingly whole than a tweet or a mastodon post or a thread, and having an already-established place for public blog entries to appear would work for that. Needing something like that isn’t something that’s happened to me very often. But there are some examples, and they’re important. For example, when my best friend Elliot passed, I made a post on facebook as a sort of unofficial eulogy. I think that’s the only place that piece of writing exists publicly. And I practically never use facebook. I sort of don’t like that that’s where it exists. I think I haven’t logged into facebook for over a year. People read it there, but I’d like that post to exist somewhere other than just as a facebook post, and if I’d had this site going then, I’d have made it a post and a page here, so it’d at least have a permanent home that I control. Maybe, if I keep up with the blog entries, I’ll eventually import it here. (And I can hear Elliot, the guy who had his own domain and website as far back as when I first met him in the fall of 2001, agreeing about the importance of owning your own website for publicly posting what you make).
I used to use twitter as an outlet for thinking much more than I have used it that way since August 2021. As my follower count grew for my art and photography I felt less certain about posting my thoughts there. I hadn’t really ever tweeted in a way that was inviting followers much at all anyway, so posting the way I used to felt at cross-purposes to this world where I’m actually trying to get people to follow me. Sometimes, though, I might want to try to work out a real articulation of something, and maybe if I think it’s worth saying, I can just post it as a blog post nobody reads instead of a twitter thread nobody sees. I could certainly imagine it feeling satisfying to be able to do that now and then.
I’ve blogged before. I tried briefly to create a cool humanities grad student blog, to show off my versatility with theory, to try to craft an edgy but academic take on the general topics of the day. That didn’t last long and I’m not interested in doing that. A couple of other blog attempts didn’t really get off the ground. There have been a couple of movie blogs. I might do that (movie posts) occasionally, but I don’t want to write a pop culture blog.
And back before twitter there was livejournal, which in its heyday was probably the ideal version of the social web. I really enjoyed livejournal even though I was a depressed little boy who was working through a lot the whole time. There was a kind of interest in self-exploration, though, or, I don’t know, presentation, that I just don’t have anymore. I don’t think I’m interesting the way I thought I was interesting then. Or, put better, I’m not interested in myself (or semi-public explorations of myself) in the ways I used to be that drove my interest in livejournal blogging. That desire transferred to facebook, and then to twitter, and then, honestly, it just kind of fizzled. The impulse of this is just not that. I’ve just never really had an impulse to make blog posts that didn’t ultimately come from that desire for self-presentation. I sort of don’t know what the urge to blog is when it’s not that. Maybe I’ll found out.
I’m going to try to write at least one blog post a week. On the off chance that I start to have the urge to do it more often, I’ll still probably try to keep it to once a week. I want the point to be the regularity of doing it. I guess I’ll try to outline the rules I set for myself a little bit more as they come to me.
For now, this is just to say, I’m going to try something, not sure what it will be.