It’s been so long since I’ve written anything of substance, I think I’ve forgotten how it goes.
This isn’t another “I’m staring at a blank screen, with the cursor winking and winking, taunting me with my lack of inspiration…” posts – in truth, I feel rather apprehensive about it, as though the cursor might, at any moment, leap from the screen in a death-strike, or the lid of the laptop slam shut on my fingers, gnashing and howling in anger at my pretensions. I’m not comfortable. Not for me the sweaty palms and raised heartbeat of sudden anxiety, but a sullen, gnawing discouragement in the pit of my stomach, and a darkness on the peripherals of my mental horizon – Danger! – don’t do this…
Writing used to give me such a high. I remember spending my days accompanied by a notebook to jot ideas before they flittered away, replaced by more and beautifuller; and the way inspiration could wend its way into my mind through almost any situation, casting enchantments over me, compelling me to share stories of my day, my thoughts, my imaginings, my perspectives…and there were people ‘out there’ to lap it all up, to give encouraging feedback. To care.
People…ah, people. The lifeblood of my extrovert’s heart, and something I used to crave so much. Approval. Acknowledgement. Acceptance. So many wonderfully affirming things were possible in the leap of several people scrambling for “FRIST”, and oodles of comments, conversations, and connections, which happened in the spangled wake of each new post. There seemed to be too little time to keep up with everyone, and I squandered sleeping hours at both ends of the day in order to be present, to be part of things, to be there.
Little by little they fell away, like early autumn leaves at first, quietly rustling off the tree of my little community, slipping away through the branches and wending their way on the winds to more interesting arenas. Perhaps it was because my posts were less raw – things were settling down, and once I’d opened enough veins and exsanguinated the stories of my depression, my miscarriages, my failing (now dead and buried) marriage – I became…boring? Dull. Commonplace. No longer in dire need of shoring up or encouraging, I became someone who wrote prettyish stories when she wanted to, and tried to add her five eggs to conversations about Things Going On In The World. Of course, there was the Thankful hop, but there was always the thankful hop…and guess what? Ten new things every week: not First Class Reading Material.
I’d lost the write feeling.
Gradually the tree of my community became barer and barer, leaving stark holes against greying skies. I saw once-regular visitors leave their calling cards on other people’s blogs – I *knew* they were out there, but alas, vibrancy was occurring elsewhere, and I was passe. Shelved, in large part, and left behind.
Envy threatened to overwhelm me at first, simmering in the depths of my heart, coating its walls with vile slime which burned with the thought “should have been ME”. I desperately twisted words into the prettiest patterns I could muster, juggling styles and genres in a Cirque de Sorrow, as I threw post after post into an ever-widening gap, no longer able to fulfill the je ne sais quoi that made them worthwhile reading.
Bubbling envy chilled to stony withdrawal, coupled with Dramatic Life Events (finalisation of my divorce, a sudden collapse and subsequent surgery) which I felt too flummoxed to share, or was in too much pain to write about, and block by block I built that stone into an invisible wall of social-media incompatibility – for the first time in years of writing, of being part-of, I was Out.
Out of sight. Out of mind. Out of the circle.
The Blogosphere had moved on, and there were newer, fresher writers to tantalise, with sparky political posts and relatable parenting anecdotes. There were people in desperate situations ready to bare all, to be shored up and gathered around. There were others going through Life Events which drew attention, attraction, gathered readers to themselves like moths around a lantern, batting off the sides of those Elsewheres in order to be IN.
I recalled the warning once given me “There are always those people who read you, think you’re an idiot, and leave without saying anything”, its caution looming louder in my memory as tiny bit-spiders spun cobwebs of 1’s and 0’s into the corners which now held damning quiet.
I peered through my stony wall, fingers once well-accustomed to the sleekness of keys, now scraping across the rough edges of exclusion. Jagged, that shape, and long-familiar, with sharp corners which fit well with the janks and kinks of my body, reminding me “you deserve this” – after all, hadn’t I done it to myself as much as anything? Hadn’t I somehow alienated my readers? Hadn’t I distanced myself from them, believing in the gauzy pedestal of fleeting endorsement I’d been placed on by the once-keen attentions of scattered Whoevers? Hadn’t I seen my folly when it collapsed beneath me, landing me harshly on my rump (not only to no jeers, but to no attention paid whatsoever), engarming me with a set of ass’s ears so fine a fairy queen, bedazzled, may well have fallen in love…
Perhaps my mistake was in travelling to make people Real – that having met me in person, no staunch reader could ever again partake of my thoughts without aligning it to flashbacks of the person they met. A fulfillment? A disappointment? An unexpected, with new filters applied to my existence, creating distance when the purpose of travelling had been to diminish it.
I cried bitter tears when I left, and still bitterer ones in the wasteland aftermath of gaping loss, which had shown my heart capable of expanding to new limits, now left echoing with the agony of missing them so much, and the guilt of finding so little contentment within the shattered boundaries of my Here. Would I have cried less or more, had I known the levels of inconsequence to which I would soon plummet?
Perhaps my passion waned, now caught up into the intricacies of relationships which had leapt from the screen into reality. Somewhere along the journey my words were stashed for too long out of sight, and their magic, forgotten, began to diminish. Perhaps in dancing too long through gardens of flowers made bright by the dazzle of Real, I failed to manage the thorns which crept in, choking everything to death in the face of my neglect.
Perhaps…oh, there are so many perhapses, all of which circle in and collapse under the weight of their own irrelevance.
The starter for ten was “When it comes to my emotions or words…”, and whilst most of what’s written seems to be sour grapes, it’s more (and less) than that. It’s desolation. It’s the emptiness of a once-thriving speck in the vastness of the Blogosphere now shrivelled, with half-hearted attempts at filling its veins once a week with thankfulness – possibly prolonging its inevitable death, rather than delivering revitalisation. It’s the thorn-in-the-side hunger-pang of a Once-a-writer whose wellspring dried up.
It’s resignation to the fact that all good things come to an end, and where once upon a time, my words were as silken lips to a lover’s skin; or sparkling sun-drenched meadows to eager, naked toes; or the punchy inhalation of that first steam-soaked sip of coffee in the morning, they’re now old tennis balls, out of bounce with the fuzz rubbed off, thrown pointlessly against the walls of the world I once revered.
I’m joining in with the ever-inspiring Finish the Sentence Friday hop in hopes of finding a pair of hands set to catch one of those tennis balls of mine…or to establish that I really am mostly bouncing off my own walls and rapidly into obscurity.