It seems that there has been a spate of navel-gazing on several of the blogs I read regularly, and I admit I am not immune to memes. I have been thinking a great deal about my unintentional blogging break and why and how to end it.
Why do I keep this blog, anyway? What is it that I want to write about, to share with the world at large? I started this blog as a sort of diary of my artistic life, proof to myself that it still exists. At that time, my art was painting, and I was interested in pursuing growth in that area. Since the beginning of this blog, though, my artistic life has morphed into different creative ventures - my career, photography, scrapbooking. I paint very little these days. While I miss it, and do still dabble in it when I have time, and know I will return eventually, I don't think it is useful to hold myself to a definition that is no longer accurate. It is more useful, and healthy, to be honest about what is currently important in my life.
But I do still live an artistic life, as my banner says, paint brushes out or no. I see life through the eyes of an artist, no matter what I'm doing, and honoring that perspective is good for my soul. The posts I've made here that I love most are the ones that I consider mini-essays - epiphanies that I've articulated and which really capture the kernal of that learning and growth. Unfortunately, one does not have ephiphanies every day, so I need to find more than that to keep this blog alive. I've considered what blogs I read and why, and where that intersects with what I want to create myself. I love blogs that have strong, thoughtful writing, beautiful photos, and that let me see into the creative life of others, especially those that have a life split, like mine, between work and art, whether that work is parenting, running a business, or working in a field removed from artistic pursuits. I'm so impressed with bloggers who keep up regular postings when their life is obviously vibrantly full, and that's the part where I'm failing. I have my excuses, to be sure. I work at a company that jealously guards its secrecy, and so I simply can't talk about much of what I do. I'm a manager, and this is a public page, and I have ethical boundaries that make it uncomfortable for me to talk too much even about how I think about my work. Sometimes I come at it obliquely, and that's fine, but it mostly stays private. But because so much of my time and attention is focused on this career of which I do not speak, there often seems little left to speak about. That is the place where I need to change my perspective. Because I don't want my life to be all about my work, and honestly, it isn't. I, too, have a vibrantly full life, and so much in it that I want to celebrate. And those are the things I need to turn my attention to here and share and make large.
And what of audience? I see so many bloggers saying how much of their inspiration comes from their readers, of which, truly, I have few. Or at least, few who interact with me here (I know a bunch of you are out there, reading silently, except when you refer to somehting I wrote when you are standing in my kitchen, sneaky people you). Really, I'm not sure that having a larger audience would be better. I'm pretty shy, really, and imagining a huge crowd of you out there, waiting expectantly on my every word is sure to give me performance anxiety. I have a love/hate relationship with my stats. Most hits come from google image searches, still, which I find interesting. Occasionally a topic search that randomly matches some string of words, and recently a few searching on my name (and who are you people who are looking for me specifically?). I am grateful for every comment I receive, and I do love that this medium allows for people to respond to the thoughts I send out into the ether. My most favorite comment ever was from someone asking where I was, because I hadn't posted in a while. It does feel good to know that these words are appreciated, waited for. Even when it gives me performance anxiety. It is nice to know that you are interested in what I'm thinking about.
That's another thing, though, and I'm reminded of an old friend's blog tag: "I have a lot of Thoughts. They're full of strange colors with seemingly random trajectories and they're clammoring to get out. I can't take the noise any longer. Proceed at your own risk." I have a lot of thoughts, too, and I filter them pretty heavily to protect the innocent (that's you) from the barage of weird tangentental wanderings that is my constant inner dialog. Really, it is quite noisy inside my head. Interesting, but noisy. Perhaps I should widen the filter a bit and see what happens. If only I could figure out a way to type and drive at the same time - I think of the most interesting things in the car over the space of my daily commute, many of which I don't remember later. Must remember to write some of them down before I exit the vehicle and reset my brain to "working" and not "wondering."
All of this navel-gazing is brought to you courtesy of the fact that today is my birthday, and what are birthdays for, if not pondering one's purpose and place in the world?
I have struggled with my birthday for the last few years, wanting to create the most pefect day, but never quite sure what that might be, so I get paralyzed by choices and am constantly disappointed by whatever I decide to do. Last year was a little better with only one little freak out (while standing on the banks of the Siene, just in front of the Tour de Eiffel - how lame am I to be disppointed by anything when I'm in Paris on my birthday?), and this year I'm feeling amazingly calm and content. I'm working at home today, and have plans to meet some friends for dinner at a favorite restaurant. My dad is coming by this afternoon, because it is important to him to see my on my birthday (also to call me exactly at 8:02AM, the PST equivalent to the official time I entered this world). My sweet wife woke me up with whispered birthday wishes and made me a yummy cup of coffee before leaving me in my jammies to find the card she'd hidden on my desk. So yeah, a good birthday so far.
I'm not sure if I've exactly figured out what to do with this blog, but I have some ideas. If you have any for me, please let me know!