Finish? — 2020

Last week, I realized that I have to stop blogging for a while — a good long while, probably. There’s much more to this than the usual whining about time, energy & whatnot. For several years, I really did think that I could do a little of both. But now I understand that writing Web log entries requires an attitude, or a mental framework, that is deadly to the long-form work that the oft-mentioned writing project requires. To write a good entry here, I have to convey the impression of saying everything that there is to say about something in a few paragraphs. To concoct this dangerous illusion, I choose an aspect of the something, the finer-grained the better. Then I appear to exhaust it. At the end, I wrap it  up with a bit of hi-hat punctuation. Proficiency at this mode of expression, I have reluctantly grasped, trains the mind to start hunting for an exit line after the first couple of hundred words. The trick isn’t to get things started, but to make sure that I can shut them off.

Week after week, I would wonder why I hated what I’d written. One day, it came to me, in the following note: “This is nothing but a tissue of undigested observations coated in snappy prose.” That was when I began to understood that the journalistic habits of keeping a blog were strangling my attempts to answer serious questions.

If you’re going to keep a Web log, you can’t afford to be boring — not often, anyway. But if you’re, dare I say it, writing a book, you have to follow every lead no matter how tiresome it threatens to be. Most of what doing so produces may have to cut in the end, but I have learned that there are insights that can be had only at the end of tedious pathways.

There’s more to be said. But only in the way of Goodbye.

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