Writing this sentence has been a great challenge. In fact, even just pulling out my laptop and opening a Word document with the intent of writing took a lot more than it should.
I don’t know why, but the past few months I’ve had a very hard time bringing myself to write. It’s not necessarily that I haven’t had anything I’ve wanted to write about – during this stretch I’ve gone through a pretty major life change that included a new job at a familiar place and a 400-mile move that’s still somewhat in process. I’ve just had this lingering negativity hovering over my head whenever I think about writing.
What’s weird is that this has never stopped me before. I don’t know why it should make a difference now. But every time I think about opening a Word document and writing about something the thought just hits me: “Why? Why is this worth reading about? Why would anyone care? It’s probably not even worth the time or effort.”
Even now as I write those words the thought gnaws at my mind. And now the secondary thought attacks saying that I’m only doing this in a plea for sympathy, for reassuring comments from any friends and family members who read this. And I promise that is not the intent. I almost want to disable comments on this post to ensure that isn’t the result.
I’ve actually had this thought before whenever I think about Twitter. I enjoy perusing my Twitter feed to read about various things. Usually I pay attention to the news updates and witty banter from the sports world, but I also enjoy certain people’s quick takes on random aspects of everyday life. But I’ve never really joined in with my own thoughts because it just never made sense to me why anybody would care or want to read them.
The most frustrating part of this for me is just how depressing it sounds. It comes across as me losing all confidence in myself and battling the demons of loneliness and melancholy. Even if I disable comments on this post I’m fully expecting to receive concerned texts and phone calls worried about my state of mind.
But really, I’m fine.
Of course, when I say that it carries all the weight of an inside family joke where my grandma always says she’s fine regardless of the truth. She could be (and has been) in immense pain while lying in a hospital bed, and when you ask how she’s doing she’ll give a faint smile and say simply, “I’m fine.”
I think my problem is that whenever I think of something to write about I want to find a way to make it meaningful and applicable to other people. I don’t want my writing to become a diary where I recount my day and people read it out of some strange desire to know what’s going on in my typically uneventful life. But this concern has never stopped me from reading other people’s blogs when that is all they write.
It is also possible that I have grown so used to the background world of sports information, where you write all the stories that people want to read without anyone ever knowing your name. I’ve joked with coaches and athletic directors when trying to get their quotes that they could say exactly what I would say and people would care because they want to know what the coach thinks. No one cares what the SID thinks, even in those instances when he/she knows the history and matchups better than anyone else. They want the information to be available and well-written, but they have no interest in the person behind the curtain.
And honestly, this doesn’t bother me. It never has. As a fairly introverted person, I kind of like the anonymity. I enjoy publicizing other people’s accomplishments and making people aware of some of the great things our coaches and athletes are doing. And while most journalists will never admit otherwise, I don’t care about the byline. Beside my first few columns in high school and college and the first couple of pieces I had published in “real” newspapers like The News Tribune and The Olympian, I have no problem with my name not appearing with the story. The story is what matters, and I like it that way.
But my writing here has always been different. I love sharing my thoughts on topics ranging from mundane movies to ascendant achievements (and I’m using “ascendant” on multiple levels, as one of the greatest personal achievements I’ve written about was my successful ascent up Mount Shasta last year). Going back to high school I’ve enjoyed blogging with intermittent regularity, and while I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check to see how many people have clicked the link, I’ve never cared that much who reads my posts.
Which brings me to tonight. Recently I’ve had several people – both friends and family – comment to me about my lack of recent blog posts and how much they enjoy my writing. And I haven’t known what to tell them, because their own unsolicited comments undermine my own haunting thoughts. But that last question still lingers: why?
After doing whatever I could to pass the time recently other than writing, I’ve finally reached the end. I’ve finally written this post. I hope to power through this brick wall of whateverness (it’s a word now…) and move forward. After all, I’ve got a lot on my mind and I enjoy writing about it! The only one who can stop me is myself, and even if I get no page views or I don’t understand the ones I do receive, I like writing.
With my crazy work schedule and the continuing moving process, I can’t promise any particular consistency. But I’m done with this. I faced the challenge, pulled out my laptop and wrote. And it’s kind of refreshing, to be honest.
I don’t expect the voices (not really voices, but whatever) to stop, but I have an answer to their questions. It’s a very childish answer, but an answer nonetheless: I’m doing this because I want to, and whether or not people care is not my concern. If they don’t care, they don’t have to go to the effort of pulling out their laptops and reading.
P.S. And now that I’ve mentioned voices and pressing through, and since I love random references, I can’t help but quote the Kansas classic Carry On, Wayward Son: “Once I rose above the noise and confusion just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion. I was soaring every higher, but I flew too high. Though my eyes could see, I still was a blind man. Though my mind could think, I still was a mad man. I hear the voices when I’m dreaming. I can hear them say…”
And since the chorus of the song doesn’t really fit the context of my “voices,” we shall flip to another Kansas hit and recognize that “same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea. All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see. Dust in the wind: all we are is dust in the wind.” (You’re my boy, Blue! You’re my boy…)