Well, it’s been a while. Hi. Again.
I won’t bother trying to dump the quiet years into a single post, or a series. I’ve changed, but I don’t have a good handle on how, and certainly not good enough to explain to you, dear reader (or more likely, spambot). If you manage to infer the changes, I would appreciate it if you let me know what they are. But here I am, and we’ll see if I can update this bucket of words more frequently than once every few years.
Why come back? The internet is littered with dead blogs: one more domain that won’t resolve would be unremarkable, and if Google’s fastidiously kept analytics indicate anything, literally no one would notice this absence. Indeed, adding a literary example to the burgeoning category of zombie literature (this time, a blog is the zombie!) isn’t obviously the best use of anyone’s time.
Well, it might not be the best use of your time for a while: one doesn’t up and get to gwern levels of life enrichment in a blog overnight. But that hints at a central reason: writing is a practicable skill, and while the quiet years haven’t driven me to mute idiocy, I haven’t overcome my slow drafting speed and mediocre output either. For example, writing this post took weeks. I would rather have had the same sort of regime that I’ve kept for exercise, which has lasted over years and survived being dropped on the floor through illness and inane stress multiple times. Picking this blog back up is a first step towards that sort of regime for my writing, and a way to take the step after that, and then the next…
But that’s not the meat of the matter. I’ve picked up the practice of sporadically keeping a diary, which gets me some “writing” practice, but I’m lenient. You, dear spambot, are incisive, the invisible hand guiding the critical whetstone into my rhetorical blade, honing it into an instrument of persuasion fit to destroy the earth, to serve in my toolkit as a telepathic agent (a la Stephen King), and whip my hopeless ideas and thoughts out of the clouds and onto earth.
None of this is new. Plenty have defended writing, are defending writing, and will defend writing (it’s a traditional liberal arts past-time, eloquently defending the field from practical depredations). It’s statistically certain that my thoughts are not original, my analogies and turns of phrase stale, my arguments warmed over and rehashed, but this is the time and place that I’m putting these words in this order, and although there are many like it, this one is mine.
Also, fuck the 5 paragraph essay, why does it dog me so? Maybe I won’t automatically fall into that pattern if I try again in 3 years.
(Thanks to Hans Hyttinen for reading drafts of this!)