By lex, on October 31st, 2007
Sorry about that. Wasn’t trying to be a drama queen and wasn’t fishing for sympathy votes (although I do appreciate your many kindnesses) but I’d suddenly realized that I wasn’t entirely in control of my environment.
Which is a hard realization for a pilot to make, but one we’ve been trained to respond to: Controls release, throttles idle, speedbrake in.
As mentioned, I plan to be back in battery come tomorrow, albeit at a somewhat lower duty cycle. The fact is that time is the fire we all burn in, and this was taking a great deal more time (and effort) than could responsibly be supported.
So. I know that was a long walk to a small house. Those who’d want to know more are free to follow the jump.
I warn you though: Whinging follows. A discredit to the service, but there it is.
I started this blogging gig on a lark a little over four years ago and – as is all too often the case, impulsivity being one of the crosses that I bear – having no clear notion what I was getting myself into. I knew I had some sea stories I wanted to tell, and in between inspirations I thought it would be fun to talk about domestic politics and international policy a bit, just between us kids. Pretty airplane pictures from time to time. Apart from that, who knew?
What I didn’t know (but probably ought to have in retrospect, being a bit compulsive – OK, more than a bit compulsive) was that “this blogging gig” would in time become The Hobby That Ate My Life. Technorati rankings and page views and the occasional (dreaded) php call. Spam. The random gibbering troll spewing hate and bile at me – me! – ALL IN CAPS!!1!. For God’s sake. Not only in comments, but also through the mail.
There are 471 email messages sitting in my active inbox as we speak. Not all of them spam or hate mail, by any stretch. But most of them impose some class of burden. An unanswered need.
And wasn’t life full enough, what with a daytime job, kids to raise, a domestic garden of my own to tend?
It had also become an identity issue: What had been something I did – blogging – started to become something I was: A blogger. Hard work at times for damn low pay. Up early to scan the headlines, think of something pithy to wrap around an issue that far better minds had already packaged neatly and hope for some sudden inspiration – a recollection of an untold tale from a honeyed past whose austere glories were already fading in the rear view mirror. Or, lacking that, for some poor fool to stumble into that very small and specialized niche of my personal expertise. To take pleasure, in other words, at someone else’s deconstruction.
Fight traffic both ways, nose to the grindstone, grab a bite to eat around the table, spend half an hour talking with my family and then get back to the homework. Because that thesis still hasn’t written itself, has it?
It has not.
Did you see a place in there for a round of golf on the weekends? PT anywhere? And it’s not like those Guinness’s work themselves off, do they?
No, precious. No they most certainly do not.
But to be fair the rewards were also non-trivial. New friends I’ve met and those I’ll probably never meet, but who are no less real for all that. Exposure to new ideas and insights that, being something of an introvert in real life, I probably would never have gotten around to soliciting. The chance to sharpen rhetorical skills. To think out loud and have those thoughts examined, weighed, tested. There is a kind of amiable discipline in that. And we’re not done here: If I ever get that book published, I’m going to ask you to flog it like galley slaves.
Too, there was the chance to send a kid to camp when the money had run out, through the kindness of people who will never know her. Just in case I ever started feeling sorry for myself. For what I had basically done to myself. Being obsessive. And compulsive.
So it wasn’t easy just to walk away. Even if you do find yourself sitting in the office at 2330 some night, your family sleeping around you, wondering if everything you’ve ever worked for all your life is going be cinders come the dawn. Because that sort of thing can make a man pondersome.
I’m not going to walk away. I probably will have to throttle it way back. Put everything in its proper place. Strike a balance.
I wish I could tell you that the quality will increase with diminishing volume, some sort of blogger’s equivalent to Boyle’s Law. But that’d be unfair to both of us. And anyway, you already got most of my good sea stories. The ones I remember anyway.
For what that’s worth.
See you tomorrow.