Few people have blogs anymore, or maybe I just don’t follow as many as I used to. Still, I’m far removed from the days when I would churn out a post a week. Lockdown would’ve been a great time to revitalize the blog, and yet the revitalization (for me) came from a Neil Gaiman Masterclass and the resumption of my survey of movie adaptations of the plays of Eugene O’Neill.
But that was for Murmurs from the Balcony. This blog didn’t see such a resurgence.
Part of the reason is the nature of these blogs. Dreams of Literary Grandeur is proactive. I pick something to write about, and I write about it. Murmurs from the Balcony is reactive. My pieces on there are a response to something, whether it’s a movie or event or book or play. Eugene O’Neill is a project with an ending. Dreams of Literary Grandeur is all the stuff that isn’t planned. As such, it can be erratic.
When I first started writing this blog, the subheading was “One man’s attempt to become a professional novelist, poet, and playwright.” As it became apparent that very little of the blog was actually about becoming a professional writer (minus my periodic updates on my novel, which is currently hibernating or dead), the focus changed (hence the Robert Schumann quote about “the duty of the artist”). Before the split between criticism and personal essay occurred, this blog had everything on it. I’d have a passing thought and would write about it. And though I only wrote a few posts directly concerning Japan (despite a project idea to publish posts for three years starting in 2015, 10 years after I went there), I created this blog about a year after I came back to the States (initially on Blogger), still riding that creative surge and (later) the large changes that were happening in my life at that time, such as going to the Wesleyan Writers Conference for a day or moving to Seattle from the East Coast (this from someone who, minus a trip to Portland to see if I wanted to live there, had only been as far west as Louisiana, on a Spring Break road trip taken my senior year of college – which is now, to my surprise, over 20 years ago).
Like many things I write, I haven’t revisited most of these posts since I hit the publish button, the exception being my SIFF entries when I was celebrating my 10th continuous year of covering the Seattle Internation Film Festival by republishing some of my favorite posts from years past. In hindsight, that would’ve been an excellent time to hang up my hat on the festival, for the next year, COVID hit, and while I covered the 2022 shortened version of the festival, (2020 was canceled, and I couldn’t secure a press pass for 2021, which was virtual only), it very much felt like that era in my life was over (though I’m very proud of those 2022 entries).
I’ve been in Seattle long enough to have seen several eras of my life go by. The very beginning, when I was staying with friends in West Seattle, the 5 1/2 years I lived in the U-District – which covered the Meetup era – to the post-Meetup era, when I started hanging out more with friends found in those groups than in the groups themselves. I saw a city with a healthy independent theater chain reduce itself to one, with buildings shuttered and one burning down. I went from unemployed to somewhat employed to steadily employed and back to unemployed (during lockdown) before becoming employed in a year where I thought I’d be stopping everything to pursue writing (I’m glad I didn’t; my previous experiment to that effect almost drove me mad and made me realize I can’t write if I have nothing to write about). And now for the first time since Japan I have a full-time job and am being paid a decent wage, but still don’t have any benefits.
Of course, the biggest change is that I got a cat 😉 Okay, so the biggest change is that I went to being perpetually single to being less than six months away from my wedding.
In light of that, the future of this blog may seem unimportant, but that would be like saying sleep is unimportant. I have this blog as an outlet for my writing, and I write because I must. Even when not writing on a screen or a piece of paper, I’m writing in my head. The arts help us make sense of the world, but my writing helps make sense of my world.
So now that I’ve gone through the history of this blog and the history of my life through this blog, what’s next? All I know for sure is that I’ll continue to write, whether here or elsewhere. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll see a prose piece in print this year.