1/31/2007

The post to end January, possibly the blog

So, the end of the first month of the year. It's been a busy one, and I'm sure February will be pretty ridiculous as well. It will be over before you know it, as we are all looking forward to March.

Of course, you would not know anything about my life by the contents of this blog, which I've posted to once or twice this past month, if that. I've not been able to finish the entries I've bothered to start.

For that matter, I'm not writing in my personal journal very much, either. I have exactly one entry in my 2007 folder, and it was written on New Year's Day when once again I told myself I'd keep some sort of a diary. 30 days later, I'm not really surprised. I've lost the interest and the energy to put words together. I think part of that is the creation of this blog.

I used to write. Really. I really did. I even used to keep an online journal called Codpiece, which was an anonymous mix of fiction, fact and fancy. I kept it from March of 1998 to February of 2000. It was a way for me to feel I was publishing something, making some mark on the world. It was on the old Geocities site, before Yahoo bought it for $3.57 billion dollars.

Haven't we been here before? At that time, Yahoo expected a ridiculous return on investment for a company that enabled community. I've just had to brush up on this history on Wikipedia to remember all of this stuff. So, working in my miserable office in Georgetown, I signed up for a spot in the Coffeehouse section of the Soho neighborhood. The idea was, you'd set up a space in a block of an imaginary city. I picked this spot because it advertised "art, poetry, prose, the bohemian spirit."

The great thing was, at that time, I got an audience. People came across the site. There was a mechanism for this to happen, because all of the other bored lonely people in the world were looking for other people with similar interests. There was traffic. I met people. I had interesting conversations with people. For a little while, I felt part of a community, but I won't now go into why that didn't really happen.

I guess part of the success of that time was my ability to write pretty much whatever I wanted. I was younger, of course, and more sure of myself than I am now. But, also, there was also no reason not to feel anonymous on the web.

Of course, during that time, I lived in a big city. Or, at least, two big cities. The population of each place was over a million, I guess. In neither place had I been featured in several media reports for my work on the web.

Now I live in a small place. My online self feels totally paralyzed, because things I say off the cuff here may be interpreted in a bad way in the real world. Being linked on cvilleblogs.com improves the chances of this happening. This blog exposes me far too much to people who are actually likely to know me. What's the good of the personal media revolution if you don't feel safe enough to actually be yourself?

So, this partially explains why I don't write much anymore. Writing online no longer produces the sense of exhilaration I used to feel when I'd post a piece to the podcast. For a while, I felt the same rush when posting a new podcast. But, frankly, no one is listening, and I fear that the same imaginary sense of community I built up as a lonely kid in Washington is simply repeating itself here.

Now, it could be that I just don't have enough time to write. But, that doesn't make much sense. I'm at a damned computer for far too many hours in the day. How weird is it, that I've been sitting at a keyboard for over twelve hours today! I did some other things, but for the most part, this screen has been my constant companion. What kind of a life is this?

Could my lack of posting it be a lack of interest in the world around me? I don't think so. There are certainly many things I want to write about. I've always felt it's important to keep a written record of what happened. And, I must admit, I've not been doing much of that at all lately.

I think the problem is, I work as a journalist in town. I'm news director at WNRN, an award-winning producer for WVTF, and the guy who runs the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. I'm putting together a plan for a new venture.

As such, I need to be neutral. I need to not offend. And these days, it's so easy to offend people with your opinion. And, as a person trying to start a news organization, it's incredibly important for me to be seen as having a vested interest in anything. I want to be trusted for being unbiased.

But, it's more than that. I'm incapable of holding the same opinion for more than a few minutes.

Is the answer simply to write more to myself, rather than to feel the need to post to an audience of strangers? This is difficult to comprehend for me because I did grow up in front of a computer screen. I spent my high school years meeting people online instead of meeting them in real life. The only time I ever went out was when I went to work at the Pizza Hut delivery store.

I think I need a serious change-up in my life. But, to be honest, I think I'll just start by closing this blog.

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