What are you going to do today, Napolean?

I miss blogging. Terribly so. Primarily, I miss the old days and the old gang. We networked the hell out of the blogosphere and built spaces that buzzed with creative work. Many people I met online during that time (for me, beginning in 2004, I think) became — and still are — some of the most important people in my life.

All that creative nurturing was not only a boost to my poetry but also a big push to start a whole new life. I am now, several years later, still writing. However, post-divorce and post-MFA, I have to confess I am not as joyful about it as I used to be. In addition, it has a bunch of fear attached to it. I know some, but not all, of the reasons for this, and an older version of myself wouldn’t have rested until I got to the bottom of it. But right now, I have no urge to sort it out. I just want to release it.

A large part of releasing the fear is letting go of the pressure I put on myself and the stress of worrying about what other people think. I’m told these things come easier with age. And for the first time in a long time (OK, honestly, for *the* first time), I’m just watching it unfold. I’m sitting in a middle space.

Just. Sitting. Without waiting for anything. Without even wanting anything in particular. Without figuring what’s next. Without detailing the process for getting there. As much as possible, I’m breathing and listening to the universe. And you know what? For the first time in a long time, I’m inspired.

This blog post isn’t the product of me berating myself because I’d abandoned the damn thing for too long. It isn’t the product of me saying, “Well, Carolee, you know you should…” Instead, it’s the result of being inspired by what I’m hearing around me.

For example, Marie Gauthier’s writing at her blog again, and I’m really enjoying reading. Marie’s “A View from the Potholes” is inspiring me because she’s having the kinds of conversations I want to have in the world again. And in mid-September, Collin Kelley posted this on his blog, “Modern Confessional:”

Without a doubt, most people have discovered my work thanks to the Internet. I’ve grown accustomed to waiting weeks, months and longer for new work to appear in journals, but there is some work I want to put out right now. I don’t want to wait.

I love you all dearly, and while I’m interested in the politics we rage about on Twitter and although I want to be there to wish you the happiest of birthdays on Facebook, I’m energized by what’s really going on in our lives (the deep down stuff, the tender spots, Marie’s “potholes”) and by the work (its immediacy, its freshness, Collin’s refusal to wait). That’s the joy I used to find in blogging and engaging with creative folks online.

The universe has lots to tell me about other areas of my life, too, and I’m listening. And probably those areas are more consequential than blogging. Maybe I’ll write about those things soon. Or maybe not. I’ve been thinking about returning to blogging for a while, but I’ve been afraid to commit. I’ve been afraid of being inconsistent (again). I’ve been hesitant to move forward without a purpose for it. But I’m letting it go.

I may write here again tomorrow or next week or after another 7-month hiatus. I don’t know. Part of this “return” to blogging, if that’s what it is, will likely include poems. I like the balance Collin seems to be striking. For now, in terms of what’s happening here, I’m just channeling my inner Napolean Dynamite:

14 thoughts on “What are you going to do today, Napolean?

  1. Yeah, I miss that old scene(s) too. Like you, it changed my life. I’ve always felt that a certain shamelessness is a prerequisite for a sustainable blogging practice. But over time, thanks in part to age and in part to soc med outlets, I’ve lost the urge to pontificate in any of my blogs. The only thing the world really needs to hear from me is poetry, if that.

    • that is one thing i’m struggling with this go ’round: wtf do i want to say? i don’t mean the teenage version of “do i have anything to say?” i mean the middle age version of “nobody cares what i have to say, even me.” LOL i don’t even journal privately in the traditional sense. i don’t know. we’ll see what happens. right now, i am trying to be of the mind that believes in order for the next thing to arrive, i need to make an opening for it.

      • And yet you are blogging on Instagram, for example. What is it about social media platforms (I often ask myself this, too) that makes them so much easier to post to? The greater convenience? The knowledge that many people will actually see the post and respond? The lack of any felt pressure to polish or nit-pick one’s words?

      • i love instagram. in my realm there, it’s drama-free & my use is almost entirely to showcase the things i love, the places i feel positive. i never lament my time spent on instagram. it is much more limited than my use of other platforms, like facebook, for instance. facebook is truly difficult for me. it’s laden with drama and envy. i’ve had to make lots of rules for myself and narrow my focus considerably. even still, i always lament my time there. i don’t consider either “blogging,” even though i agree they are, technically, “micro-blogging” platforms. yes, of course, there’s the attention/flash factor: my social accounts are more visible/engaging than my blog. however, there’s something more intimate about a blog that appeals to me. & maybe that’s part of why i’m back. i’m not entirely sure yet.

      • & here’s another consideration: audience. despite the friending & following & all that, the audience/network at facebook (& other similar networks) is fraught. i let people in for a variety of reasons almost none of which have to do with my own well-being either as an artist or as a person. & while i’m certainly not *curating* the audience at a blog (by virtue of the web it’s actually more open than social media) people self-select to a degree. so, except those instances when i experienced some abuses here from people either rubbernecking about my divorce or my dating life — or in one case a total nut job stalker — the audience here tends to give a shit or it goes home. is that too crass?

        another thing is that when i think about what platform best represents me — who i am & what i care about (absences & all) — it’s the blog. poetry & the people who make it & the energy we all put into it are primary interests for me. that certainly doesn’t come across when i give into some of the temptations of the other platforms… like vaguebooking about someone i’m pissed at or posting photos of my food. i’m weak! i’m weak! blogging — true blogging — feels like an investment in a passion (& an expression of that passion). facebook & twitter are great for distributing content, but they’re more like freeways than destinations. i really like the idea of people stopping by a while. maybe that makes me an old lady.

  2. Thanks for the detailed response — a lot to chew on here. I know you’re kind of a social media expert so it’s fascinating to hear you ponder all this as it relates to your own work.

  3. There is so much in this post that resonates with me. I miss the “good old days” of blogging too, and I know that I am happiest when I am writing — not writing because I feel like I ought to, not writing because my job as a rabbi demands it, but just writing for the sake of writing and seeing where it takes me. I’m realizing, as I read this post, that a lot of what’s been on my blog lately has been sermons and so on — which is important stuff for me to write, and I try to be as revelatory and personal in my sermons as I used to be in my blogging when I was blogging in a more personal way, but I want to be writing more *other* stuff again too. You are inspiring me to pick that back up again. Thank you.

    (ps: we should have coffee sometime. or wine. let me know if you’re ever in the Berkshires.)

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