Okay you people. Your feedback on yesterday’s post hijacked my before-coffee musings this morning and carried my keyboard fingers in another direction than the one I overheard them talking about all night long. And I tend to give them free rein and let them go where they will. They often know better than I do about such things.
I have other thoughts than these as I attempt to sort out what I want to be when I grow up as a citizen-writer-activist-parent, but some of my disappointment with the blog in recent years is its increasing failure to be for me an agent of community.
Yes, there must be readers who read but don’t comment, and I know many of you now for years. I sense your presence. But I see my site visit reports and know that the majority of “visitors” got here searching for some random combination of words, a result increasingly likely when after ten years there are so many thousand words used at least once.
It occurs to me that maybe my sense of emptiness comes from the increasing lack of connectedness that the blog once provided. While I have become far more engaged in my flesh-and-bone neighborhood and the Floyd community, I must need more. I must feel, even yet, like I’m “bowling alone.” If interested, take a look at the “Lonely American” in Utne Magazine from which this quote is pulled.
Americans in the 21st century devote more technology to staying connected than any society in history, yet somehow the devices fail us: Studies show that we feel increasingly alone. Our lives are spent in a tug-of-war between conflicting desires—we want to stay connected, and we want to be free. We lurch back and forth, reaching for both. How much of one should we give up in order to have more of the other? How do we know when we’ve got it right?
And while I deeply enjoy writing about the daily ordinary and especially about nature and landscape where the words come without effort, I feel compelled more urgently every year to be able to articulate the complex issues we face together, locally and globally, and to look together for solutions.
That kind of post takes considerably more time and energy, and there especially I don’t want to provide fodder by lapses of logic, by inflammatory language or by lousy grammar and poor editing to the “other side” which is increasingly looking for good works to punish among “tree huggers” and other do-gooders. And it is these higher-cost pieces that seem to fall on deaf ears. I’m trying to “get it right” and find the balance between writing to community and writing towards my personal projects. I have just so many quiet mornings, just a fixed number of future keystrokes left in these old bones. How do I find an acceptable, satisfying if not supercharging balance?
For those still hanging on, I found a 2006 piece I wrote on “social capital” and small communities like Floyd. You see the comments, the discussion, the engagement following the posting of this piece to this blog six years ago. It felt other than today’s for sure. And sorry, though I tried to think once that it might be, Facebook just does not feel like my solution to this conundrum. Maybe there isn’t one?