I wrote my first blog post in February 2005 about how much I hated my job and wanted a new one. It’s sad and ironic that while much has changed in 18 years, I find myself in a similar re-examination of my work life which comes up a bit short. But I am not going to blog about career choices here.
I started another blog in 2006 that I maintained for about a decade. I wrote about issues I was interested in, like civic engagement, active transportation, economic development, my layoff and unemployment during the Great Recession, and personal topics. I found the writing cathartic and empowering. I saw less and less time to write as I became engaged in working with many of the issues I raised and connecting with like-minded people who found my writing meaningful.
I started a hyperlocal news blog in 2008 that I maintained for several years–even attempting to make a business out of it. But again, as I engaged in the issues, I spent more time doing things in the community and less writing. I stopped blogging when I was elected to a local government position. I tried to work from “within the system” to promote transparency. I was an early adopter and advocate for social media. But, over time, I detested Facebook as such a dark mirror on the worst of us all, and I deactivated my accounts.
These are the past; today, I write the future.
I am the intermittent writer. I read what real writers say, and I feel ashamed that I have not continued to write. I feel regret because I love the writing; I love the expression of ideas, even if no one is reading. I love the way words come from…I don’t know precisely where, and they reflect back to me with ideas that are only complete as I type. I hear the music of the words in my mind, and I feel that my stabbing keystrokes chisel something of permanence, even if they can all be deleted with a keystroke or two.
As a young man, I wrote “the journal” from 10th grade to several years out of college. I stored those notebooks in a box in the basement for many years until a few months ago when I decided there was no value in preserving those writings. I re-read…some very embarrassing passages. But I remembered the passion and intensity of the moments in which I had written those things and credited the truth that their value was to me, not to anyone else. I don’t need to be reminded of the angst I poured onto those pages, and I definitely do not need anyone else to read those things out of context. They were helpful; they are not now.
Now is the time to write of new things because I have reset so many things and must chart a new path. My life is good; my family is strong, and our future is bright. But my path is not clear, and for this, I must write.