State of the Blog – December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012

There’s little enough left to say about the blog that it seems hardly worth saying. The last post will be on the twenty-first, two days before my fifty-fourth birthday. Shortly after that will appear an afterword, and then, most likely, nothing else. I might tweak the introduction to clarify the blog’s aim (as it’s now much more definable), but I will not extend the reading log into the new year. I will move on without writing, without asking for attention.

A few times in the past few weeks, consecutive days–as many as four, and a total of seven in an eight day span–passed without a reader. One day I “liked” and commented on a few posts of others and readership spiked to almost double digits. I don’t know if I will continue reading blogs once I’ve stopped writing mine. If I don’t, there’s not much sense in checking stats, either. A Bright, Ironic Hell and Satellite Dance are both outperforming Crystal Delusions. I’m just glad they are still being read, as Crystal Delusionswould have been precluded altogether without them.

As I try to think of what more to say on the state of a finished blog, I find only things that more appropriately belong in the afterword, and so I’ll wait. In the meantime I hope my motivation does not entirely dissipate.

November 29, 2012

It’s hard to be natural when asked to analyze oneself. Writing is not spontaneous. It’s just talk, no matter its sincerity. I’m a good writer, but writing is not my life, or too small a part of it to attend so much to it. Talent does not engender its own exploitation: Being good at something doesn’t mean I have to do it. There is no freedom in that. Writing has been many things—good and bad—but it has never been a paymaster, and I have not, with any earnestness, tried to give it that color to wear. Without inspiration, without commercial ambition, with what am I left? Writing has been my confessional perhaps more than anything else, but also my analyst. I don’t need either; I feel much better now. In writing I have charmed, and I have bullied, and I have lied. I was at my most expressive when angry, so writing was a good vent, but why do it publicly? The thing to do is to stop writing and let my life live itself without translation? The world is full enough of people with less to say than desire to be heard. If I yet have something to say, I have little enough need to be heard that I would rather walk away pleased with what I’ve said than go hoarse shouting it.

Readership has gone from trickle to drip. Crystal Delusions has become britishly redundant. I guess there will be no separation pains. It will have said what it needed to say, done what it needed to do. It will have be finished. That’s all I wanted it to be.

October 26, 2012

When was the last time I looked at a blank page with a pen in my hand, or even thought I had something to say? I have not forgotten or even put off writing this. I just haven’t felt the need. I took two weeks off work. Before I left I scheduled the posts to be published in my absence. I looked at the internet four times. The first time, I forgot to look at my blog dashboard. It was an obsession once, checking stats, but I don’t care much anymore. They will be depressing, anyway: Readers are read, and I haven’t been reading even my favorites. Of course, I would like to be read–I still believe in what I’m doing–but I’m trying to get used to it no longer being my life. I nearly wrote another post, but I’d forgotten over the intervening four months how to write one. The style has fulled its purpose, so it’s no longer the way I write. If I have not said all I have to say in the posts, I have, at least, written all I need to write.

Yet I know I will write again. Before I fell for Julie I’d gone three years without writing. I may go three years again. I still have not written the story, perhaps because it hasn’t had an ending. I’m going to give it a chance to end that four-and-a-half years of chronic writing has occluded. (That’s also how I’m supposed to believe love will find me.) I think of Julie often, so she’s what I want to write about; but as a promise to Julie (in absentia) I have forbidden myself from writing about her. At first it was to protect myself from outrage (in the hope that she was reading), then it was to pretend to forget about her. Now, having to admit that she is not reading and that I won’t forget her, I seem to have no reason to continue–aloud, anyway.

Beginning with the first November post, I will have fifteen more to publish. This will take us to December 21st, two days before my fifty-fourth birthday and only two posts short of the full years’-worth of my arbitrary goal–that is, if I don’t reject any of them. But if I have truly forgotten how to write them, by what standards can I judge them?

September 24, 2012

The detachment grows. I’m scheduling posts up to two weeks in advance. As I transcribe them I sometimes wonder who wrote them in the first place, and I allow myself the consequent satisfaction of seeing my strident rationalizations becoming truth. Somehow, I knew what I was doing all along and needn’t have defended myself in any way. I did what I had to do and could not have done anything else. I don’t know if I ever said I was trying to forget Julie. If I did that, much has not come true. I think of her no less than ever, so I’ve had to decide to feel good about it. That requires a suspension of hope, and, well, I’m not all the way there yet, but at least most of the bitterness is gone. That she was right about the impossibility of “us” long before I began protesting otherwise is a freshly painful discovery. I saw her recently, and she saw me, though she pretended not to, while I stared until she was out of sight down the inside library stairs. When she emerged she already had her sunglasses on, fifty feet from the front door. From the circ desk, I followed her path through the crowded lobby until it was impossible to see her. My deskmate did the same after apparently having seen the look on my face. What was that look? I don’t know. I barely know how I felt, except that, for once, I was very happy to see her and surprised that she hadn’t changed in appearance in the eight months since I’d seen her last, though glad she hadn’t. I was disappointed in her reaction to seeing me, but I may have felt flattered, too. And still afraid to talk to her, and glad there was no chance. The only way I will ever have her or be with her will be from just that distance, and I will begrudge myself no more and learn to accept it. So far, so good.

The conceit of the blog-proper would obviate that paragraph. That was the whole point of it: To detach the story from the emotion; remove to a distant point and look at it more broadly. I’ve done that. I’d admit to some pride in that if this had all been just a project finished, an idea realized. It has been a healing. I knew it would help. I knew it would hurt…but I knew it would help. I knew it was how I had to do whatever it was I had to do. It was the right destination but the taxi’s route. I was just along for the ride. The path is now straightening out–ups and downs and potholes, but with diminishing curves. That is my life; this is a blog. Crystal Delusions gets a few looks a day, thanks to a few faithful readers–my respect. I feel I have a high quality of reader, few as they are. The writing I like, you like. September was written in January and February. Post-launch, and my best writing since then. By then I’d figured out how to get the emotion in there. I’m glad you’ve liked it. I have not written a new post since July 4. The next ten-and-half weeks (is that December?) will cover the last five months. What does that matter? I’ve given you few enough footholds in time–another conceit–to render time irrelevant. It is easy to read these in any order, to subvert the subtly chart progress. That was not foreseen by the conceit, but I welcome it as a strengthening of the anti-bond of detachment. (How pompous! but whatever works.)

A Bright, Ironic Hell and Satellite Dance have both spiked in readership. It’s good to see. A Bright, Ironic Hell is still my favorite. When Crystal Delusions has run its course and finished the process, I might start reading it all from the beginning. I was very passionate then–really chewed up the scenery with paranoia, hope, self-pity, and delusion. I don’t know how I wrote it, but I do know that it’s quite a self-portrait of the moment. Even hope turned bn me for Satellite Dance–good writing wasted on the wrong cause. Crystal Delusions is my penance, and I will have paid it in a couple of months.

Then what? I’ll live my life. I am not free of my feelings for Julie, but the desire to write about her is overwhelmed by the innecessity. The distance from her has given me a broader perspective, better understanding of and empathy with her. And myself: The me I look back four years upon is nearly a separate entity, one I haven’t yet entirely forgiven, but one so nearly detached from my self as to make of that gesture an absurd vanity. Vanity is all my writing is, or has been reduced to: It was once important; now it seems little more than a tiresome habit. I hate habit.

August 18, 2012

I couldn’t find my pen, but I wasn’t looking for it. I have now published the pre-launch output. That seems so long ago, but not in time: I am redefined. The me I’m reading is not the me I’m writing, yet I’m yet I’m not quite detached. All writing is translation. I have a life to live, not translate. My best expression is me, and I’ve just about found it. Can’t wait. Then I can let it go.

The me I read is not as good a writer as he thought he was, and I don’t always agree with him. Ah, but he’s just a growing boy. He spoke strongly of distraction (for or against?). Now he’s the distraction. Which makes the irony too tangled to bother with. We’ll just say he’s vain.

The me that writes barely sees the point of it, anymore. All I’ve wanted was a conversation (for starters). Technology notwithstanding, face-to-face, or at least mouth-to-ear, is the best way to talk. Writing can’t translate a voice, regardless of its words. The pen is an extension, but of what? It’s an appendage grown out of sensitivity, loneliness, hope, and pride, in fluctuating proportions. I will give it to atrophy.

I have resisted editing old opinions, except to deny an entire post publication. I wrote eighty posts before launch. Sixty-some have been offered to you. Since launch I’ve written thirty-five more, but none in at least a month. Crystal Delusions might make it to December. I’ll know myself even better by then, but I won’t know you, and you won’t really know me. We haven’t let each other in. Trust is hard. I want to share my life, but not this way, and not with just anyone. And all of my life, not just what I choose. But I’ve held back, as we all do. We’re writers and we’re readers, but who’s doing our living? As usual, I have asked for love from the wrong people. Though you give it, in your way, it’s not the kind I’m most in need of, and I won’t ask for that. There are many things I can’t tell you about myself, and I’ve decided it’s all or nothing. Not that there’s a lot left after four years and over 400 posts. I wrote a book; now I withhold a pamphlet. If I knew you better I might tell you my lusts and fantasies, habits and compulsions. I want to tell you. I want to believe you want to know and care, as if somehow it would be orgasmically freeing and I could call you lover. But you can’t be my lover. I can’t even look you in the eye, much less slide a rough hand round the curve of your hip and across your belly. I’ve written a Personals ad of over 300,000 words and have had no takers. If my words have been unattractive, at least they’ve been me. Or were.

Few of you read me, anymore. At least one day a week, no one does. Am I cliche? old? boring? One blogger I read posts her stats, and I made the mistake, after holding off for a month, of looking at them. They depressed me. She may work very hard to cultivate those readers, but if it takes more than good writing, then I’m better off not caring how many people read me than lamenting over how many don’t, because all I have is the words,and the words are already written and never themselves cared who was reading them. What more responsibility do they have? or me to them? I can’t remember when I last wrote a new post, and the inclination is so absent as to allow me to leave the journal book at work, where, with half of lunch hour, after checking my email and such stuff, I might transcribe one or two posts for eventual publication. There was once a time when I felt so great a responsibility to my online activity that I felt in urgent need of a computer. Now, justification is only vaguely convincing. I finally decided a new mattress was more important, and I couldn’t afford both.

Ultimately, the restrictions I placed on the form and content of Crystal Delusions were the spelling of the finite for it. It became untrue to me. I have rejected from publication much that was important for me to say, its importance and rejection both borne of its emotional impact: It didn’t fit into the cube I had built for its display. So, I fear it is a lie I have published and a truth that I have rejected: I have never stopped thinking of Herself–Julie–and still seem to think of little else. And it’s nobody’s business but mine. And it’s all I really want to write about.

Who are you? Who have I been talking to? That is why this blog will end (November?): I have made no friends, Julie’s not reading, and I don’t know who is–not their real names, anyway. I appreciate the cost of candor. Anonymity is not a hefty price for it. I paid a lot more for concealing no one’s name. I’m not sure I made many friends with A Bright, Ironic Hell and Satellite Dance–I can think of a couple–but the enemies I made were more powerful. The blogosphere should be a nice place, and it tries to be: Its etiquette is based on respect. I respect your anonymity if that’s what it takes for you to be you. I imply candor by not concealing my name, but am afraid to be candid. It’s no way to write. (Ask Woody Allen.) Still, anonymity frustrates me, because I expect more from the blogosphere than it has any responsibility to give me. Being understood is not enough for me. I want to make friends, to touch. But I don’t know your name. If I sound needy, well, aren’t you? Isn’t that why you write?

July 12, 2012

Writing becomes a stranger and stranger creature. I’ve written what feels like the last post, but it won’t be published till…December? I’ve rejected so many posts that what I have left won’t finish the year. But that was an arbitrary goal from the start. Writing has not become more difficult, but less relevant. I’m still pleased with what I’m writing, if less pleased with what I’ve written. Rejection has gone to the too personal, less oblique entries. A mention of Herself is a strike against it. I’ll reject more of the 115 I’ve written, mostly on standards that didn’t exist when I wrote them. I’m not who I was, and curious who I’ll be when this is done. In the posts you’ve been reading, I recognize  the words moreso than the personality that wrote them, maybe because though I’ve never been comfortable calling myself a writer, it was the strongest identity I had. Having to express myself, I thought I had to do it this way, and not even 45 years of brilliant mediocrity could take the pen from my hand. Nothing will; I will just put it down when the time has come. I see that time, and I look forward to it. It will be a freedom, not a void to fill.

Readership dropped by over a third last month from the previous. I’m resigned to that. I have a few faithful; I’m grateful for you, but you’re a quiet lot. We’re all trying to connect, aren’t we? (I haven’t heard from my “advisor” in a while. Are you still reading? I hope I didn’t sound glib in my responses to your comments. I’m afraid it’s a defensive reflex. Your truth hurt, but I’ve taken it to heart.) There’s a lot to read, though. I don’t have a computer, and what I have to do online is too much for the 2-4 hours a week I get on a public computer. It hasn’t helped that said computer has stopped showing my WordPress reader. I already had more subscriptions than I could give proper attention to; now I’m practically prevented from reading them. There are some I rarely read, anyway, but there are several I don’t like to miss. (Assume yours is the latter.) I do, anyway. Readership, among other things, drives readership, so I’m doing myself no favors. But the writing still counts for something (I hope), and I offer that on a regular basis. What It’s worth to readers, I don’t really know. I will spend at least one of my work-week half-hours transcribing this from paper to computer, paying the ironic price for it: Sacrificing the time to read you to the solicitation of you to do the opposite.

I am disinclined to write. Writing, as a means of self-expression, has failed me, or I , it. What satisfaction I derive from it is artistic, of the mind. It does not answer my soul. On the contrary, it smothers it; it exploits it. I don’t trust my skill at writing anymore. I talk about not wanting to “own” afflictions and diseases as some pathetic symbol of personal existence, but I have owned writing in just that way. And what we own owns us. I have “quit” writing several times, over frustration or just plain boredom. I needed someone to listen. Now someone is listening, but that’s all. I’ve just finished my most popular month, and the best I can feel is,”That’s nice.” A disproportionate amount of my life has been spent wanting people to hear the words on my page. What else could I be but frustrated? Writing is not speaking.

I wrote my first song last week and immensely enjoyed the entire process. I accomplished more on those five notecards than all the previous reams of paper and stacks of journals ever did. I have sixty-some more posts to publish and a few more left to write. At 200 words per post, closing the blog could take a while–likely through January, but not far beyond.
I’m not a writer. I’m good at it, but that’s not enough. What is, I’m not sure, but the peg I’ve been pounding is pulverized. It’s time to admit futility. The translation of my emotional life into words has little emotion–as I’d planned–and it seems a lie. I am afraid to express it differently, to break through the wall my pride erected. And so the wall grows higher. It keeps nothing good in and nothing bad out. I can’t forcibly get to the other side, but truth will out somehow,in its own good time.

What I’ve posted in five months is the work of two months. I have rejected at least twelve prospective posts, mostly on the feeling that I shouldn’t talk so much about Herself. It’s one of the lies I’ve told, if only by omission. If I don’t write scared, I still sometimes publish scared, ever wary of disapproval. It’s no way to do anything. Because I can’t write without hope of approval, I will stop writing. Eventually. Perhaps, like a bad habit, I shouldn’t wait to finish the pack to quit, but though it has been a habit, it is no longer an addiction. It had a purpose once (whatever it was) that might or might not have been served, but gone is the need to pursue the quest in public, at least in this way. I still respect what I’m doing here (I hope it shows), so though I’m growing away from it, I want to leave it without the bitterness of failure. I have about eight months to understand how to do that.

But the people who have listened to me have understood. Where will they be when I’ve done here? Readers forget you when you no longer give them something to read. How else would we connect? How important will it be to either of us to stay connected? I want to know my readers better than the internet allows, but what the internet hath given, it will likely taketh away. I won’t prolong this blog for the sake of connection, but after its end I might be compelled, after a while, to write another. That doesn’t mean I will; I want to be heard, but I don’t want to write.

May 17, 2012

I’ve been honored with the Sunshine Award from Laura Susanne Yochelson. I’m sorry I cannot display it but appreciative of its goodwill (and my increased readership). It’s a friendly place, the blogosphere. I almost fit in. I’m seeing my principles rewarded with validation. I’m picking up clues. Participation: As long as I can participate in my own manner I will participate. I “Like” what I like, but ony what I like. Having high standards is to sometimes have to lower expectations in order to keep plugging away: The rarer the avis the longer the search. But good writing isn’t hard to find on the blog platform, anymore. Everybody and his kids have tried it, but the writers have stuck around. Most of them have something compelling to say, and I am compelled to add to their conversation, with a question or riff on the post’s theme. Good writing drives readership, especially on someone else’s blog, but I enjoy the connection made from either direction. My most interesting interaction was made on my own page with someone who chose anonymity to call me out on my behavior chronicled in A Bright, Ironic Hell and Satellite Dance. (And Twickory?) I was disturbed to be accused of having perpetrated some “passively creepy shit,” but I owned up to it and asked to be judged (if judged at all) by my most current output of writing. Please, disturb me, but don’t be afraid to own your words. Your anonymity is an assurance of your sincerity and care, but may also mean that you know me. Well, that’s my intent–to know and be known–so I feel cheated when I can’t follow you back to a blog and read what else you have to say, because I trust that it, too, will be heartfelt. This sometimes feels like a kind of online dating process.

Whatever I write I have rules for, and one of my favorite rules is, “Don’t write about writing within the posts.” I have applied it successfully to other blogs. All writing is somehow about writing, but life is not. Writing is a medium with which to express life, not the life itself. Writing can’t be natural with any other attitude. (Paule Marshall would be neither the only nor the first writer to disagree with me.) But I do have an audience, and an audience always holds sway with the writer’s need to be understood, if not outright adored. Here I find an advantage to having written ahead: I wrote not knowing anyone would read it. I have no editor or publisher urging me, at the behest of a paying public, imploring me to produce something to sell them. I wrote it to challenge myself to follow a self-contrived set of rules. I did not expect to entirely succeed, and I haven’t, but the successes have begun to outweigh the failures. Any desire I might have to cater to the readership is practically obviated by the time between writing and posting. (last October’s output will not be entirely published before June.) Today’s influence can’t be tomorrow’s published post. I can’t write to be adored, but I can’t write to the audience, either–or at least it won’t hear me for another eight months. I haven’t yet come close to fathoming the influence of jumping back and forth through time, posting old while writing new; but by the time I do I will be writing posts about it, and then this won’t be Crystal Delusions.

April 12, 2012

I am finding the conversation I’ve been seeking, as well as the community I only now realize I have also been looking for. My strategy is simple: read blogs, and continue reading the ones that are heartfelt and well-written–in that order. If I like a post, I “Like” it. If I have something to say beyond a compliment, I say it. I notice who else has commented, seeking thoughtful words, and I follow them to their blogs and read them. Knowing what I like, I am quick to acknowledge it with a “Follow.” Comment response is important: I expect and hope for the same consideration as I put into my comment. I have only once not gotten that–in the form of a glib brush-off–and have since lost considerable respect for that writer. It is not you; I doubt they still read me, though still follow. (It is the same for me with them.) Crystal Delusions does not inspire much commentary–I have just as many comments as posts. I have few readers, but faithful ones, anyway. I can say the same of my friends, so maybe that’s just as it should be. I won’t get involved in a popularity contest. I want to be known, but only to those who want to know me. Am I touching anyone?

What I’ve posted in the past three months is a month of writing–last September, to be exact–and it exceeds the amount I have written this. I routinely go a week without writing, when, in the course of compiling posts for this blog, I rarely went two days without writing. I m not blocked; I am just not as inclined to write as I have been for most of the past four years. I don’t feel less inspired, but less sure that writing is my inspiration’s vehicle for expression. Had I another vehicle, this would not be a problem. I become more inclined each day to feel what I have to say in terms of song, but I have never tried my hand at that. It seems about time–restring the guitar left-handed and give it a go. I believe that the way I’ve been writing–the short, dense abstractions and allusions getting more abstract and allusive (you’ll see)–have been preparing me for the move from the prosaic. I have almost a year’s posts produced for Crystal Delusions, and that’s still more than eight months away. At this point I don’t know how much more than that I have left in me, at least in this form and forum. I’m not predicting it’s demise, but preparing myself for its eventuality. In the meantime, the majority–or, at least, the frequency–of my writing may be in the comments field of other blogs. Keep reading; there’s a long way to go yet.

March 20, 2012

The ship still lists away from my hopes, but it will tack its own course and take me with it. There is more meaning in a meander than in a crow’s flight. And I’m not a crow. I’m taking the scenic route and trying to appreciate the sights. Might as well, since I really don’t know where I’m going, though I have very definite ideas on how to get there. And I’m watching these ideas play out, challenging me to make them work. What I write now is proof of their validity, and I sail a straighter course. What I post now bears only spotty evidence of that, but proves its own potential. I post the past as I write its future. I’m curious of where they will meet. I’m glad I wrote so far ahead, because I now find little inclination to write, and difficulty when I do. (It has taken me three weeks to write this.) It’s not that I feel I have nothing left to say, but that what I have to say can’t be said this way. And I don’t know how else to say it. This may be a period of recharging–doing something other than write that will help renew the need to write–but the frequency with which I’ve had to do that in the past couple months makes me wonder if the battery is exhausted.

In the Introduction, I said that the blog was “not a chronicle.” What I can see it becoming or already being instead is a non-narrative portrait of myself. I will have managed to avoid being a character in my own life story such as are the writers of those factitious memoirs of a wasted life. I will have freed myself to be present instead of phrasing in my head an interesting way to relate my mundane activities as they’re happening. Perhaps writing is more a necessity for my past than my present. I am not so much disturbed by this as confused: How else do I express myself?

Readership is still not what I’d hoped. February was much lower than January, and March will be much lower than February. Until I advertise–and I won’t–I can’t expect more readers than I have and, so, can’t complain. I get few comments, but at least they are thoughtful. I’m still looking for a conversation.

February 15, 2012

Though I had only a vague idea what I wanted to accomplish when I started this, I find that I am disappointed more than vaguely with the unreached potential the first post seemed to have promised. In preparing the eleventh post, I skipped over what would have been numbers 11-14 in favor of the fifteenth entry I’d written. They were too literal, had too much detail, did not have the coiled energy of pregnant ambiguity of the opener, left little to the imagination. I want nearly everything left to the imagination. I want to make the skeleton for you to hang the flesh on. I want you to wonder while knowing. What I see now is a blunt, plain narrative with meager opportunity for your interaction. At their respective paces, the writing and the publication become more distant from one another. The first post was four months old when it was introduced, the eleventh, five months. The last one I wrote before the blog launch will be tenth months old before it sees publication. In editing, just before publication, I feel twice removed from it. Not removed enough, though; I’m almost embarrassed by it sometimes. But that’s just a gauge of my growth since, so I leave it alone but for the grammar and diction. Otherwise, I’d be perverting the process.

Stats were encouraging in January, disappointing so far in February. Without advertising, I’m not easy to find. I’m only now, nearly four years after starting A Bright, Ironic Hell, appreciating  blogging as a part of the so-called social network, and that if I’m to be read I have to read other blogs. Not caring much to read online, I have not participated in much mutual backscratching. I’m also very picky. I want to read what’s most like my own writing. I want to find the blogs that are exploring the same places I am. At the very least, I want smart, well-written, candid, and honest. I have found a few and let them know they are appreciated. Though I am sincere in my appreciation, I am also hoping they will take a look at what I’m writing. Interaction is important; the blogging community is where I feel most a part of something, most easily able to connect. I have still not told anyone I am writing Crystal Delusions. I don’t even announce the new postings on Facebook. People who don’t know me don’t judge me, and they take my words at face value. That the words don’t have more value for more people I have to either accept or pander to. I won’t pander.

Satellite Dance is lonely, and that saddens me. Recently, a week went by without a view. However, A Bright, Ironic Hell has had a dramatic spike in readership, and that makes up for the inactivity on the second blog. The posts people read I read again. I have not read them in, probably, a couple years. I am struck by the dangerous precision of my rationale, the subordination of intellect to denial and delusion. I can’t deny that that was me; nor am I deluded into believing what I believed then. A Bright, Ironic Hell is a cautionary monument for Crystal Delusions not to look up to but to look squarely in the eye as it imparts it wisdom.

I have the leisure, now that this blog is written for the next eight months, to take my time at writing new entries. Having read what I’ve already written, I see the need to slow down: The quality of thought is not as high as I first esteemed it. My intention when I started was to be mostly allusive, but have found myself too often bogged in the concrete. I am disappointed, but I try to keep my distance so that I might assess it with compassion instead of criticism, because the way it is is how it has to be. I am writing in a new way for me, and occasional reversion to the old ways is to be expected. Progress is gradual, not miraculous.

January 20, 2012

I have written 87 posts, which will extend this blog into October at the current publishing rate, but having written them I want to dump them all out, puzzle pieces from the box. Stylistically, I wanted to achieve some emotional distance from the situation that inspired and haunts my writing. What I have acheived, it seems, is a physical distance from the writing itself, as the published posts were written five months ago. The emotional distance, a hopeful contrivance from the start, has, of course, not been acheived, and the strain of the effort has taken its toll. What I have constrained myself from doing in public (the blog) I have had to do on the side, and that effort is a letter to Herself that, at the start, I have every intention of sending, but can never finish. I have tried seven times, and the efforts are shorter each time. I am glad to have written the posts in advance, because they keep me from adjusting to public response, or lack thereof. (So far, it’s mostly the latter.) I don’t want to write for more readership. At least that way I can pretend I am doing this for myself and not for attention, but awareness of the pretensions mitigates them all, and that’s as it should be. I am glad you’re reading, but I wish I could believe Herself was, too.

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