On My Hiatus

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything in this space. This is partially due to the fact that a job I once loved slowly devolved into one I despised, leaving me sapped of all physical and mental energy at the end of each eight hour work day. I simply didn’t have the desire or the wherewithal to write about any of the myriad topics life was otherwise offering up to me. The Orioles were also in the playoff run this past fall, so a considerable amount of my non-work time was consumed with all things baseball.

But I also began to think about the real reason why I even had a blog. I worried that my posts were motivated by a self-conscious desire to present myself in a certain way to the wider world. I don’t believe that efforts to publicly define one’s identity are inherently bad, but this blog felt more and more like a superficial, composite means of doing so. The web is ripe with beautifully designed, thoughtfully written, carefully planned blogs – I felt like I was modeling the look and sound of my own space after these pristine paradigms and devaluing my own work, however authentic it was, for not being up to par. Before even embarking on writing a post, I considered what others would think of the topic, my thoughts on the issue, my writing ability. Surely I don’t need to write about every guilty pleasure in order to be an authentic writer (who has ovaries and doesn’t partake in the occasional perfectly constructed pop song by Taylor Swift?), but when you hold yourself back from putting your thoughts out there for fear of others’ judgment, something is undeniably off. I don’t know exactly how many people have ever read this thing, but I know it isn’t many. That just made the whole effort feel vain and pointless whenever I considered posting again.

I hadn’t even thought about Remember When the Music for a couple of months until today when I heard Letitia Vansant broadcast on the Live Lunch segment at local radio station WTMD. I remembered Letitia reaching out to me via email after I posted about her music some time ago. The fact that my words initiated that communication felt deeply important and meaningful to me at the time, and it still does today. A modest number of other people, whether readers or sometimes the subject of posts themselves, have similarly contacted me via this blog, and each correspondence is unique and significant and part of what I faintly hoped becoming a blogger would entail. Though I appreciated Letitia’s thoughts and we shared a few emails, I feel like I allowed my anxiety to cut short what could have become an even more thorough dialogue. As I was thinking about what this blog has done and could do for me, I decided that maybe I should start writing again. Maybe it could open up whole new worlds, opportunities that I denied myself in the past. Maybe it could be a great exercise in being myself, reigning in my self-consciousness to honestly and openly put to paper my thoughts and feelings on things that move me.

While I was walking dogs today (my new and much more satisfying day job), thoughts of writing swirling around my head, I thought about LiveJournal. I remember this being a popular blogging platform back in the day, although I never partook and can’t even say if I ever visited the site. But the name rings true to what I want to do now. I’ve never been a journaler because it’s exceedingly difficult to motivate myself to write knowing that no one else will ever see the finished product. But I’m hoping to start blogging somewhat more regularly (being a student certainly doesn’t help with the whole time to write thing, despite the drastic decrease in job stress) and with an appropriate level of self-consciousness. It’s good to write with an audience in mind – it keeps you in line and holds you more accountable to what you say. And a journal is more akin to what I hope this blog will be, something personal and genuine and hopefully interesting.

It seems self important to write a post about my own “hiatus,” but I couldn’t really think of how else to frame these thoughts. I don’t know who reads this and I don’t particularly care how many people it reaches. I just hope that maybe it can foster a few more of those connections it has yielded before, those types of interactions that make you feel like what you are writing is meaningful and contributory and real. And along the way I certainly won’t complain if it also becomes a personal project in shedding self-consciousness, anxiety, and too much worry.

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