Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Seven and the Ragged Tiger

I remember when I started this blog –I thought it was over: writing. I’d been writing for what was then The Beat for maybe a year. My section of the paper was just about the change when the editor bought me lunch and told me that maybe me blogging for the newspaper wasn’t really working out.

At the time, I thought this was just the first step toward me being cast out of the writing circle I’d worked so diligently to become a part of. I thought I’d have to go back to just writing for the free papers again or –heaven forbid –those fuckers at Graffiti. 

Losing the blog wasn’t that big of a deal, actually. It had never really caught on. I had never really figured out what to do with it and I wasn’t especially happy with what they thought I should do with it. Basically, I think, they imagined it as some kind of cross between the Huffington Post and a Twitter feed –but at a cost to them of $35 a month.

I didn’t update the blog as much as my editor wanted and very shortly after the blog began, I started resenting having to turn in loose blog posts to be edited.

It just wasn’t a good fit for anyone, but just the same, I was being let go, turned loose and that stuck in my craw.

I started this blog because I didn’t like being shown the door –not that that was what really happened. The truth was the newspaper was just getting into blogging. They had no idea what they were doing. Blogging was part of that new electronic media stuff. They're still working out what to do with it.

Anyway, the basic idea for this blog was simple: I’d write about the things I wanted, not just the stuff I was assigned. I’d do it in my voice without an editor demanding that I try to be cooler or hipper or whatever. I didn’t have to be any cooler or hipper than I already am, which isn't particularly cool or hip. I could grow on my own terms. I was free to be weird, profane and stupid.

The audience was only briefly considered most of the time, but I developed one --even if I didn't always know who was out there. I was never more proud than when someone knew me from here and not from what I wrote at the paper. It was kind of perverse, but I enjoyed having a quiet "grassroots" following.

This blog has had its ups and downs. There have been periods when I wrote a lot –and periods when I’ve taken breaks for weeks or even a month or so. I think I took a break this last time partly out of sheer weariness --having your marriage collapse and starting over will wear you out –but also because I didn’t really feel like writing about where I was. Unexpectedly, I'd fallen in love and had no idea what to write about that. I wondered how much was too much to talk about and whether flying my freak flag too high would screw things up with her. 

These are serious things I considered.

I also didn’t feel much like writing, in general. This was burnout. For a while stringing more than two words together in print was tough. My head was in a fog. Whatever I did come up with kind of sucked and I told myself I should save up whatever I could for the people who pay me to write. 

Anyway, some of the fog has lifted. I want to write and I think I have things to say again. In fact, there are things I can say here that I can’t say with my newspaper blog (the word “fuck,” for example) and for sure, there are things I can say here that would and, likely, should never go into print.

This is how it should be.

Somehow, in the past few weeks, I’ve stumbled back to the beginning. It finally feels right to write again, to write like this again at any rate.

Welcome or welcome back, but read at your own risk.

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