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April 07, 2006


It will come as no surprise, I think, if I tell you that I've been struggling to justify the continued existence of this blog.

Struggling and losing.

I still read blogs. Still like them and understand the allure of writing one. I just seem to have lost the mojo myself.

When I began writing online in 1999, I wanted to craft stories from my life, from my observations, from my thoughts. Well, guess what? I do that now, in my fiction. Oh, my characters are not me, and the world they inhabit is not my life, but it all seems to draw from the same well.

When I began writing online, I wanted something else too, though I didn't know it at the time. I wanted validation. Readers. Responses. I wanted my words to mean something. And they did. I was nominated for awards, received some. Sometimes unexpectedly, from unusual sources. I loved my referrer logs, loved the me I saw reflected therein.

But now? I'm not who I was then. The blogosphere, too, has changed. I hate to let this slip away, dribble through my fingers like sand, merging back into online anonymity, so very many grains of worn-away pebbles tumbling with every pull and surge of the tide.

But blogs, even personal ones, have clumped into like-minded clusters and I can't figure out where or how I would fit. Mommy blogs? My kid is almost eight years old. No cute toddler stories here, and at a certain point, I believe, his life is his own and not mine to tell (except for the autism-pertinent bits, and at some point maybe not even those).

Writer blogs? I read some of them. Other times I wince and move on. How interesting is it to read about a writer's internal process when said writer isn't even published yet? And really, how many blogs giving tips on writing can – should – there be? And I've recently come across more than one wannabe writer blogging about the agent search, about rejection letters and hope and oh, it's painful. Not to mention raw. Not to mention perhaps a trifle inappropriate to post online.

Moving-across-the-country blogs? Well, there are, um, not so many of those. So yes, maybe so. And certainly there's a lot to document. Sounds good, anyway. But here's the truth of that: I haven't moved to a new city. I've moved to a town just outside my old home. And therefore many of the friends and all of the family I connect with, they're longstanding, with sometimes complex relationships and perhaps secrets and lives that aren't mine to share online.

So it comes back to that again. What's appropriate to share in a space like this? I think it depends wholly on who you are, what you need from this kind of forum, and how much of a support network you have in your offline (or at least off-blog) life. It's all about censors, about drawing a line in the sand (yes, that again). This I will tell, that I won't. John Scalzi is brilliant at this, he writes his thoughts rather than his feelings, opinions rather than his life, and what you get are his often incisive, nearly always witty editorials on politics and current events, mixed with some bits and pieces of the writer at work and occasional snippets – never too up-close, though – of his own life. Could I do that? Maybe I could, but I've never been much for editorials. They don't play to my strengths as a writer. I'm all about the sensory world, all about relationships. All about the intimate life as it unfolds. So what happens when that canvas feels too personal?

I think it's time to shut this blog down. Hard to say, hard to decide, hard to do. It – and you, my readers – have meant more to me than I can express without getting horribly cornball. And I do try to avoid that.

But it's time. If I come back, it'll probably be in a new configuration. A writer, maybe, telling of her first book tour on her eponymous blog. Or a photographer deciding that Flickr is not enough after all. Or, well, who knows, really?

But for now? It's time. I'm done.