Out of a false sense of self-importance I’ve tried to write topically and with a slightly impersonal stance when it came to blogging, but it wasn’t always that way. A few years ago I had a blog I updated on an almost daily basis and it was about, simply, my life. This was back when blogging was less about page views and audience size, before corporations spun their PR through the guise of “transparency” by blogging or tweeting. In the end I “closed” the blog because I’d felt I had nothing left to say — but that wasn’t exactly true.
The truth was I wasn’t happy with my Technorati position, or the stats, or the number of “Add This” clicks my posts got. The highlight of my blogging back then was a post I wrote about the Cloverfield online marketing campaign. While speculation was running wild for anyone who cared, I did a little digging, threw out my opinion and called it a night. The stats the next day had spiked overnight because someone posted a link to my post in a forum and that got shared.
In a few days my blog was the number two search result for “Monstrous Movie”, but the best part was an anonymous comment left by someone who had way too much advance information at that time: this person dispelled a lot of rumors and indicated that the movie would be about a new monster that has never been seen before, and it attacks New York. I’ve always suspected it was JJ Abrams, but who knows?
My point is that, for all my attempts, writing about anything that interested me came easier than trying to pigeonhole myself and write about only one thing with any sort of authority. This blog, for example, was originally about being unemployed and trying to crawl out from under a smothering depression. Then I found a job and decided to try to write more about meditation, tried to write in the third person. Slowly, though, I ran out of enthusiasm for essentially saying what so many other people said — and, in many cases, said with more authority than I.
So this week, after spending most it in bed recovering from minor surgery and an unexpected cold, I had a lot of time to think. Sleeping at odd hours means a lot of time staring at the ceiling wondering why you can’t get a song out of your head, or why you’re thinking about something cringe-worthy that happened in high school. Enough time awake in the silence of 3 am will make you wonder why you’re not the head of a giant tech company, or a famous painter, or retired from being a smart investor.
And then you realize that all that — the regrets, the wondering, the fucking 80s pop song — is all just some of the noise you’ve put into your own head. And thinking about it further you realize that an increasing number of your waking hours isn’t about new experiences or self-discovery at all; it’s about finding new ways to distract yourself from… yourself.
Far be it for me to judge (and I say that not in the obligatory but clichéd blogger way of prefacing something with a half-hearted preemptive apology) but I’m finding that the more time I waste wondering who’s paying attention to my wry online comments or that I get the news a few seconds after something happens, the less likely I’m going to experience the emptiness I read so much about. Frankly, I wonder if I’ll ever be anything other than an employable receptacle for propaganda and banality.
I’d imagined that by the end of this week I’d have finished reading a few books I’d started a while ago, meditated away all my illusions and that I’d have had an epiphany about what I’m going to do with my life.
Not yet — but, hey, it’s only Friday.