for almost six years now, i’ve written here. at least a few posts every month. sometimes, in the heady old days, twelve or more. but always a few.

i kept going because i was afraid if i stopped, i’d stay stopped.

until this month. i’ve been busy, under deadlines, distracted. three weeks went by. bless me internets, for i have sinned. it’s been nearly a month since my last blog post.

the words piled up in my throat and it felt strange, not to write, but also kinda…freeing. like unintentionally walking out a door and just keeping on going, collar turned up into the wind, not looking back.

yeh. self-aggrandizing fantasies. i was totally Bob Dylan, 60s-version, in soulful black and white. maybe i’d walk on ’til i found me some Allen Ginsbergs & men in heeled boots to hang with on suitably seedy streetcorners.

Photo courtesy of vvanhee

suddenly i can see why old rock stars get grumpy about playing their ancient #1s over and over and over again, no matter how much gas those hits have put in the car over the years.

old identities trap us, in a sense, like flies in amber.

and in the radio silence of the past month i wondered what it would be like, to close this door.

if i stopped, who would i be? what would i miss?
***

this is my brain on inertia.

the longer i hang on out here on the misty flats of the so-called long-dead personal blog, the more i suspect the radio silence – whenever it creeps up and swallows another of us – never comes from having nothing to say.

it comes from getting out of the habit of speaking.

and then the shame and fear creep in and we doubt ourselves. and maybe we stop. maybe we walk away. maybe we try to become experts on something people clearly want to listen to, instead.

because what value can there be, in just…writing?

i talk in my head all the time; stringing long disjointed narratives that trail out and weave tiny baskets of madness in my head, like waking dreams.

i assume you do this too. don’t crush this illusion for me, please. let’s just call it our little secret.

(well, ours and my neighbour’s, who caught me today as i scraped spring-wet slush from the sidewalk, words leaking aloud. i spun around and smiled, tried to look normal. she gave me a remarkably kind look as she scuttled back indoors. perhaps i should make her a pie. though my pies might be scarier than my muttering).

but that muttering? it’s a private activity. i don’t assume that everybody wants to hear every thought that runs through my head.

it’s just that the longer i go without filtering it somehow, without speaking aloud, without writing, the less i can tell the difference between what i need to say and what’s just noise.

Dave went to India last week. i work at home, so i didn’t talk much in the time he was gone. i mean, i talked to the kids, but my kids are small and forcing them to act as sounding boards and filters for the kaleidoscope blur inside my head seems…inappropriate. and he & i talked on the phone, but…he was half a world away. in a place i can barely imagine. and nine time zones removed.

by the end of the week, between his absence and my extended blog vacation, i was totally, absolutely fine…but unsettled, unsteady. i was Lassie, ears permanently pricked. Timmy, are you down the well?

and then i knew i couldn’t stay stopped. i couldn’t walk away.
***

this space steadies me. here, i make myself look in the mirror. here, i make myself speak.

when i do, i am lucky enough – sometimes more, sometimes far less, but still lucky – to find my words received, and reflected back slightly differently. this space is where i force myself to believe that i have something to say.

oh sure, i have my niche spaces. they’re easier: they’re focused. i write about academic research or open online courses or upcycling and renovating and i understand going into those posts what i want out of them.

here, i seldom do.

this house of who i am when i’m online? this lived experiment? has many rooms.

Twitter’s still where i spend the most time: i can work and play there, both. Facebook’s the kitchen party, where the old friends are and the longer conversations unfold. LinkedIn is the parlour with the plastic still on the furniture. Pinterest is the guest room i wish i had.

the theoryblog? it’s my study, with the door propped open because i don’t want to be alone.

but this blog is truly mine own…a space i no longer have in my embodied life. it’s my bedroom circa adolescence: the place where i am still working out who i want to be, the place from which all those other public identities got their voice.

and so i’ll stay here, try to stay in motion, try to keep speaking. not because the words are always important. but because the writing them matters. to me.

what online spaces matter to you? why? and how do you keep Timmy out of the well, in your own head?