Sunday, 22 January 2017

And Whither then? I cannot say

I started writing this blog over two and a half years ago. I'd been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a long time. It was a response to a growing frustration at my lack of engagement with the world, my lack, for want of a better word, of production. I had felt that throughout my twenties I had read, watched, listened to so much. I had consumed voraciously. And I pondered and digested my consumption. Yet nothing came of it. I left no mark.
So, eventually, restless, I resolved to start writing about something, anything. It is a small outlet. I am not so presumptuous as to think any of these private thoughts are actually unique or insightful. Yet I wished to return something. And I needed an outlet for those disquisitions and diatribes I would compose in my head at two in the morning, distilling a day's worth of information overload.
In many ways, this blog surprised me. It lasted longer than I thought. It wandered more then I thought. One constant was remains that I cannot predict which posts will resonate and which won't. I guess I still don't know my audience. Some posts I considered very niche have gone far. Some of the posts of which I remain proudest linger unloved.
From the beginning, this blog has been tied to my twitter presence. And in light of what has happened with the world lately, my twitter presence has dwindled. I have had to preserve myself, control my engagement. Initially, I felt guilty, like I was abandoning the fight. But I've made my peace now. I can fight better if I can control my energy. And leaving twitter lets me do that.
I had learnt that lesson earlier with this blog. I realised reasonably soon that posts that were reactions to what was going on on twitter were not always my best. And so I started deliberately not writing blog posts in response to twitter issues. Or entwining them with thoughts I had for a long time. So my blog remained slightly esoteric, detached, the results, I hope, of my idiosyncratic observation of world. After all, I'd staked a claim in the lineage of Montaigne, and I decided to stay there.
But now that I have withdrawn from twitter, can the blog exist separately? In one sense, no. Traffic to my blog is almost entirely from twitter. Without my twitter presence, my readership will dwindle. But in another sense, yes. I am proud of this blog. I find I am attached to some of this writing. That I want to be associated with it. It has been suggested to me more than once that I should take it down as a junior academic, and I have found I cannot, no, I do not want to do it. There are things here that I feel are of value.
On the other hand, no one can deny I've been writing less here of lately. Why? In part, because when it comes to our current unpleasantness, I don't know that anything I have to say is of any value. I've become self conscious in the sea of verbiage of broadly varying quality that has accompanied the turbulence of these months. Does my writing help? Does my voice improve? Or is it yet more half baked, superficially convincing ramblings of an over educated person with an exaggerated sense of his own intellect and importance?
All this to say, I have not written much of late. But the more I think of it, the more I want to write here again. Perhaps write less, perhaps write better, but I cannot leave this place, not yet.
So, if you still know it exists, watch this space. Because here, still, my voice will be heard.

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