Wednesday, June 22, 2016

And we're back...

It was comforting and reassuring to have had a few people reach out to me over the past couple of months asking, rather exuberantly, "Why aren't you blogging?!" I guess I did leave people hanging with London, implying more was coming. Admittedly, when I was in London that week, I had every intention of sharing more about that trip. But then the proverbial you-know-what hit the fan at work and it knocked some of my plans out of whack. Some of you will understand right away what I'm talking about, but for others who don't, you can read about it here ... or here ... or ... you get the picture. (No update on the whole thing, I'm afraid. I imagine I'm still unofficially-officially unable to comment.)

But since then, life has continued rather well. I turned 46 (egads!). We had a very fun house re-warming party (because since my arrival in AA's abode, I have re-warmed it!). We went to Florida to visit family, then we had an amazing vacation to Mexico City, and I recently went to Portland (Maine) for work. The job itself, of course, has continued with numerous things taking place, aside from the above-mentioned drama. And I've been writing.

I admit I contemplated whether I should blog anymore. With over 500 posts covering almost 7 years, what more could bklynbiblio possibly say? ( KNOW I always have something to say!) It is true that the "old" days of blogging in general have dissipated. The first "weblog" dates from 1997, so it's now 19 years in. But do people actively read blogs anymore? I actually do still read a few, and you can see the links on this blog, but in general I have a tendency to binge-read them, not read their posts regularly. I don't think, however, that most people active read blogs as they used to. What seems to have happened is that as a plethora of information on the Internet has exploded over the past few years, no one can process anything more than a simple paragraph of "facts" (quotation marks intentional) in one quick read. Reading, let alone writing, an essay online is simply beyond what most people can process or even want to process anymore.

All this made me question if writing new blog posts merited anything. As I said in the beginning, it was absolutely delightful to know that some people missed the posts. (Thank you, AA, PR, JAM, PC, and others.) But does blogging on its own provide the same important outlet for news and general information as it once did? Social media has exploded in creating a multiple-platform means in which to convey "facts" (quotation marks still intentional). In other words, if we have YouTube, apps, notifications, and so on, do we actually need full-text information at all? Curiously, this isn't a situation faced only by bloggers. Newspapers are facing it too, as demonstrated by the fact that they continue to lay off full-time reporters because no one wants to read, or has the time to read, actual reporting anymore.

But this blog isn't really about news like our conflicts with the Islamic State, Zika, terrorists, or the Presidential campaign. This blog has been about the arts in its broadest context, filled with personal reviews and original works of art, interviews and travelogues, and "best of" annual recaps. So it does still serve a purpose. What has changed, however, is me in that I now utilize social media more than this blog to disseminate information. My Instagram and Twitter accounts are both bklynbiblio, for instance. Therefore, if one really wants to keep up with bklynbiblio, apparently one has to follow not just this blog but all my social media outlets!! And if the very idea of doing that infuriates, upsets, or even disheartens you, then you're not alone. I feel the same way! It is, quite frankly, exhausting. Seriously.

Perhaps part of the problem is that we are inundated by the insane drama of Trump-Clinton-Sanders-Rubio-Cruz-whothehellcaresanymore...non-stop, 24/7. Perhaps it is because innocent people are being slaughtered by unbalanced individuals who, instead of being encouraged to get mental health therapy, are allowed to buy assault rifles and take our their anger by shooting whomever they like, and we also hear about it 24/7. Perhaps it is something simpler, that I'm now post-45 and my eyes tire more easily from staring at computer screens, but I can't help checking Facebook one more time. My new, longer commute from NJ means I read many more print books each day, which is great, as I'm reminded how much more enjoyable that active form of reading is for me than ever reading online (even if I have to prop a book on someone's head in the subway to read it!). Worth mentioning at this precise juncture, then, is one of those books I have read on the subway: Jonathan Crary's 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. This erudite, short text outright warns us that we need to stop letting corporations control our lives through these online gadgets and media. Their ever-growing capitalist intent fools us into thinking we need the latest technology in order to stay in touch, and that if we aren't online all the time we will miss something important. Hence, the end of sleep, and the utter exhaustion that we are all feeling more and more every single day. (Read the book. It's worth it.)

What I have discovered about myself (and I'm sure others feel this way) is that I struggle between my constant use of various media platforms (as both a browser and a poster), and my desire to pull away from all of them because I can tell how much these various media outlets are exhausting me. And I hope that the latter part of that struggle is winning out. I consciously now try to live "in the moment." I realize that is incredibly cliche, and the quotation marks here are also intentional, but this time not for a negative reason. I really do mean "in the moment." I find myself more and more actually looking at people, admiring who they are and wondering about the lives they live. I look around at buildings and bushes and bodies of water and try to notice what makes each element in life unique or the same. I touch textiles and woods and metals to try to understand what they feel like. I listen for birds singing in trees. I gaze at paintings and walk around sculptures, simply to take in the beauty of what artistic creation. And I actually have grinned when I realize that I have stopped to smell lilacs, jasmine, and, yes, roses. And they smell divine.

Of course writing this blog post right now may seem contradictory to everything I've just written. But not really, because ultimately I've always perceived myself as a writer, and for me this is how I communicate my thoughts and feelings about all these things. So, yes, we are back on the blog! I can't promise how often I will be posting, or whether I will be posting things like I have in the past. But you can be sure: "writing" in some format or another is taking place, simply because living is happening off-line.


JanaStarlite said...

Glad to see you back blogging. Is there a way to follow your blog so that it shows up on my stream from

bklynbiblio said...

Thanks! There must be a way to 'follow' the blog as you mentioned, especially since this is also on, but I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps just copy & paste the blog URL? I appreciate the support and feedback!