Why I’ve been MIA for so long

Why I’ve been MIA for so long

In the 466 days since I last posted an entry on the blog, I have received countless emails from very nice readers asking whatever happened to my posts. Several people I know have asked if the blog is officially dead. Even my mother, who rarely checked in, has asked whether I will ever revive the blog.

The simplest answer is that I’ve just become lazy. Posting blog entries has just felt like work for the longest time. And the longer one goes, the harder it is to catch one up. Like the latest on my vitiligo, for instance. It got horrible this year, all over my face, face is now repigmented, but arms and hands are bad, trying to solve this through diet–oh, and my fabulous doctor tested me for the MTHFR gene, and it turns out that I don’t properly methylate folate. There’s the brief rundown, but the problem is that I really don’t want to talk about it. And I feel like I should, just because by far the most hits on this site come from people with vitiligo looking for answers.

In other words, somewhere along the line the blog started to feel like an obligation. It stopped being fun.

But there’s something more, too. I started this thing at the tail end of 2004. While I am by no means a blogging pioneer, it’s fair to say that I was an early adopter. There was something magical about hitting POST at the end of a piece and watching it go live instantly. One didn’t know anything beyond basic stats. Who was reading it? Did anyone really care? It didn’t matter; that was, to me, part of the magic. It was about having a voice that was there for anyone who wanted to hear it.

These days, the interwebz is teeming with voices. They assault you when you land on a badly written eHow page looking for information. They attack you with completely meaningless information in status updates. They repeatedly punch you in the nose with the regularity of machine gunfire–TWEET! TWEET! TWEET!
I’m not discounting the incredible things that thoughtfully-used technology can do (like wikipedia, harnessing crowdsourcing to search for the tomb of Genghis Khan, and a whole host of other things). Information is great. The problem is that there’s far too much unedited information out there. And I started wondering how much I was contributing to it.

The simple fact is that blogging is an exercise in narcissism. I’m okay with that. In fact, I would argue that this narcissism is essential to the arts in general. You can’t create and disseminate without overcoming self-consciousness. Actually, I struggle with this in my own writing: For me, it’s not so much a question of, “Is it good enough?”–though that of course is always present–as it is of asking, “Does anyone really care?” And with traditional forms of self-expression designed for a mass audience, there’s an external check. An opinion piece sent to the local paper is published–or not. A call in to an NPR radio program is accepted by the screener–or not. A novel sent in to a publisher is purchased–or not. A blog post, a tweet, a Facebook update … none of those have external checks. It’s all ranked at the same level. And as a result, we’re drowing in a sea of opinions and worthless information.

Mine included.

Now this is not to say that I might not start blogging again. I just might.

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