I’ve been reflecting recently (who hasn’t?) about the various ways I’ve written out my world over the years. I know, this blog is sparse – more so, if truth be told, than was originally the case, as Past Cat quietly pruned away things that felt just a little too vulnerable and left only those things that felt the most important, for self and/or others. It’s also one of several I’ve had over the years since 2002, when I cobbled together a simple HTML site and did the daily blogging thing that was so common at the time – moving to Geeklog when that was what those of us in tech industries used when the rest of the world was MySpacing, before flirting briefly with Blogger and finally discovering WordPress.
The thing that all of them had in common was that I was trying to maintain an awkward balance between having a space for my thoughts and having all of my thoughts on the interwebs. So, they faded away as I moved through different phases of my life – different jobs, different relationships, different living situations. All of the differents made me reassess what I was putting out there, and every significant life shift had me going back to paper and journalling old-style rather than pouring it out here, where the rest of the world could see my thoughts before I’d finished processing them. I still journal now.
I’ve never had a job that was compatible with openly blogging about work-related themes, so those were out – a shame, because I have Thoughts, but professionalism comes first. And while I briefly attempted to review books, ultimately, it felt a little too much like revisiting my Lit degree. I prefer to read them and to have conversations about them, and Goodreads already does a sterling job of sating my tracking instincts.
When you think about it, removing all of those potential subjects results in a reduced pool, and for long periods my energy has instead gone into, well, talking. I’m more active on Instagram and Twitter, and, well,
in person WhatsApp.
But I have missed this. Missed the longer form writing and the blog commenting and the place to express an opinion that can be engaged with and the engaging with others’ opinions.
So when I feel the urge to write online, what am I writing for?
The same thing everyone writes for: connection, conversation, and community.
Those things are more readily accessible via social media now than they were in 2002, so it follows that the old style of blogging daily thoughts and habits doesn’t really exist in the same way now – the blogs that I followed then are often still going, but have shifted in tone and content. But there’s still a need for connection and for community and conversation, and now, as we navigate a two-month-and-counting lockdown courtesy of COVID-19, more than ever.
That we are social creatures is proven more clearly than ever when our ability to be social in the usual ways is removed from us. After an absence borne of the depression mentioned in my last post – which was two years ago, incidentally, things are fine now, and I’m feeling healthier than ever – I’ve wandered back onto Twitter and started participating more. And been welcomed back, because people are wonderful. Instagram had to some extent filled the gap, and I remain active there because pictures aren’t just pictures – they’re conversation sparks.
I’ll always keep my most raw thoughts for my eyes only, and maybe this will continue to be a place for occasional opinion pieces and explorations rather than a regular window on the world. But… I’m planning to shift the rhythm, to make those occasions more frequent.