Friday, November 11, 2005

Breathing my own air

My friend Rosie recently posted about starting a new job, about the exhilaration she feels at starting something new and not having "that claustrophobic feeling of sitting around just breathing my own air".

It's a lovely post. And it made me realize something: I'm jealous. I have a job I love, but I've been there for seven years now. Almost exactly seven years this month, in fact. And while I still get a kick out of starting new programs and doing interesting stuff, I've been breathing my own air there for quite a while.

The first few years were hard; I didn't quite know what I was doing and was always scrambling to keep up, plus I felt I had to prove myself so I was always starting new projects that turned out to be tons more work than I'd bargained for.

By the time I was starting to get a handle on the job, I had a baby at home, then a toddler. That was all the novelty I could handle for a while, and it was beyond interesting. But now I no longer have a baby at home. Or a toddler. Or even a preschooler.

Having an older kid has affected this blog, too. A month or so ago, MG was telling me something totally fascinating that she likes to pretend, and I went for the computer and asked, interview-style, "what is that you do again?" And she got a panicked look and ordered, "Don't blog about that!" It hit me that she's not as bloggable-about as she was a year ago: not only is she more and more like a regular third person in the house (albeit an exceptionally adorable person) and less like a cute unpredictable little creature, but she's more self-conscious, more private. I feel more constrained in writing about her now that she's older.

So: work isn't interesting enough to write about, at least the un-dooce-able parts, and MG is more and more off-limits. And the truth is, work and MG are the biggest chunk of my life right now. So what on earth can I write about?

I've been writing this blog and reading others' blogs for long enough to know that things go in cycles: people take a break, officially or just de facto, and then come back when they've got new things to tell about. Sometimes things go on about the same for a while, and it gets kind of boring. Just like real life.

It strikes me that this is just a long-winded way of saying "I got nothin'," and that might be. I'm not quitting, and not even planning to scale back, or at least I wasn't before I opened up this screen. I just started writing with the idea of putting down what I'm thinking, right here, right now.

I've also been thinking about why I do this, write this blog. I started doing it just to have a forum for writing--I missed writing so much--and a way to connect with other people. And I've been doing both of those things. what? I've seen other bloggers use their sites as a jump-off point for activism, new careers, community, paying writing gigs. Me, I'm still plugging along. I've made a few good friends through blogging, but ultimately it's frustrating to not get to ever see them in person or beyond the blogging forum; it's like knowing people only through the cafeteria and never seeing them anywhere else. And I think about gathering up some of what I've written here and putting it into something more cohesive, something I can send out. But I don't seem to have the structure or self-discipline to do that. Blogging feels like the start of community, but not sufficient in itself.

It's fall. It's dark when I drive home, dark when I get up. We don't see our neighbors much these days. We stay home and light fires in the fireplace. People are hunkering down, and I seem to be, also. Maybe I can just accept that.


Blogger Anna said...

I too, understand the strangeness of these blog-induced friendships...because I've never met you in person, and my own blog presence has decreased dramatically over the last months, I doubt you'd believe that I think of you almost every single day. Really. So often I wish we could go have coffee and just _talk_. It's a wonderful but also a bittersweet thing, this blog world.

Pretty funny (and startling) to think about MG having opinions on her blogability. I'm trying to picture TLM doing the same, someday.

gah, this post brought up a lot for me but I'm cramping like crazy so have to lie down again. Just wanted to say that you'd better ever not stop writing, you hear me? Don't make me put you in Time Out for a month.

10:13 AM  
Blogger GuusjeM said...

I know what you mean about "breathing your own air". I've been at my job for 15 years and I do love it but now I'm at the "gotta stay till retirement because I to much time invested in this school district" stage and I feel trapped.

I rarely blog about my girls - they have firm opinions about privacy and think their mother is kinds strange for even doing it in the first place.

Let your mind wander on the drives to and from work and little things will slip in that need to be written about.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I had never thought of that... the start of a community but not where it's going. Where is it going? Several directions at once.

I thought of you last night while I was reading The King in the Window. I think you'll love it!


9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I know I'm months behind here, but I know what you mean. On the reading end, I LOVE your blog, but have been going through a slow period all fall with it. I actually agree with your assessment that you're ready to move on. Which you've no doubt written about already in posts I haven't read??? But I have always--well, since the 1980s I suppose--thought you were a superb writer, two standard deviations beyond the mean (this means better than 98% of people--one of the only really concrete things I learned in grad school). I think that at first you loved blogging because you could pour all that beautiful pent-up writing out onto your blog, but you know you really need to be working on a book, and you've begun to feel that you're just putting in the time now. In Jan (school starts Jan 17) I am going to write an hour a day no matter what. Want to join me?


2:06 PM  

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