November 24, 2017

It is perhaps an irony that the more widely-read my personal writing becomes, the less likely I am to actually write any of it. It’s easier to write when the audience is some nebulous, faceless “other,” than when it’s made up of my actual friends and family. People I see on the regular and whose opinions I care about (to a greater or lesser extent).

I mean, we all like to say we don’t care what other people think of us, but it’s not true. Not usually. Not for most of us. What if this friend reads my post and thinks it’s about her when it’s not? What if this other friend reads my post and realizes it’s about her when it is? What if that friend is repelled by my opinion on this topic and decides she doesn’t want to be close to me anymore as a result?

Laying your thoughts out can be pretty raw, pretty exposing. Look at David Sedaris. He writes sometimes-hilarious and sometimes-moving pieces about his life and his family, baring his most personal thoughts about them to the world. He’s made people laugh, and he’s made people cry. He’s moved people, made them feel deeply, and I suppose that is always a writer’s firstmost goal.

But David Sedaris does not have a good relationship with most of his family members. Writing honestly about yourself is hard. Writing honestly about yourself and including all the people who move in your orbit can be damaging.

Not that this nothing little blog is in any danger of being read by more than a handful of people, especially if I choose not to publicize any particular entry. But I think about it, that balance between honesty and hurtfulness, between writing my life and exposing other people’s lives in the process.

I thought that maybe when I turned 40 I really would stop caring about what other people thought. I have, a little. But not fully, and I don’t think I ever will fully. I don’t think that’s possible as a functional human being. I just need to figure out how to keep writing anyway.

November 15, 2017

I’ve been quarantined for the week along with most of the rest of my co-workers at a training class up in the northern part of this city. It’s in a drab building of steel and glass, surrounded by a drab parking lot, encircled by a not-particularly-drab but also not-particularly-exciting interstate highway. Our classroom has a window to the outside, which is nice, though the glass is treated with something that somehow manages to make even the sunlight look drab. The interior smells by turns of Lysol antiseptic, salted popcorn, and exhaust fumes.

There are, I am quite sure, worse jobs than working in this drab building that smells faintly of exhaust fumes. Far worse jobs. But I think that still there must be something a little bit soul-destroying about working in a place that looks and feels like it is a rest stop on the interstate. I mean, at least rest stops have maps and park benches. This place just has parking lots and droopy shrubbery.

After tomorrow I’ll be back to working in my downtown office building surrounded by street vendors and crosswalks and suicidal Jimmy John’s bicyclists and park benches, and I’ll feel a little more human again. And sorry for the people who are still trapped with the exhaust and popcorn fumes in this depressing little enclave.

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome need for a title?

“I’ll probably be up in fifteen minutes or so,” I say, and we both know this is a lie. I will still be here, in this chair, an hour from now, with a no-longer-hot cup of tea next to me — it’s too late for caffeine, but that’s never stopped me — typing words into any forum, venue, avenue that will have me, in some kind of helpless instinct to preserve myself through the language I leave behind.

I think some people fulfill this urge by having children. I do have children, but ever since I realized that they are wholly their own selves and only me insofar as my reflection in a rippling pond is me, I have felt the need for some other outlet.

I’m not sure what it says about me that I keep letting this particular outlet, this blog, die on the vine, to the point that I have to make support phone calls in order to retrieve it from whatever dark crevasse of the Internet it’s fallen into. Probably it just says that I’m lazy.

Or maybe that I should stop typing and get some damned sleep.