So why start a blog now? Why weren’t you in on the ground floor 20 years ago, Mr. Trend Setter? After all, you were part of the mid-90s Bubble Crew who declared that ‘Internet Content is What We Say it Is’.
Well, yes I was, and no I wasn’t.
In 1997 I was a 41-year-old broadcast veteran waiting to be washed up on the shore of my mid-life crisis. My detour as an Internet “Content Provider” was pure serendipity. Writing and webcasting on netradio.com was a wonderful diversion. It was simultaneously the best job I ever had and the worst job I ever had.
The best part involved creative freedom and the need to drive 5,000 words a week out of myself on strict deadline. For that crucible, I am grateful.
The worst part was an amplification of my radio studio mentality. After spending a quarter century in small, brightly-lit rooms talking to myself, I then spent several more in a small, brightly-lit cubicle talking to no one.
Adequate feedback mechanisms did not exist. There was no instant gratification. Windows Media Player had not yet been written. It was a pre-social media universe. There was “no comment.” The audience was behind a veil. It was shouting down a well that did not echo.
It was a sensory deprivation tank.
Eventually I crashed, and dove into periodic depressions during which I would occasionally break out in a nasty rash of poetry. Like any rash, treated or untreated, that would eventually dissipate of its own accord, leaving an itch as its only trace. The itch to write again.
It seemed to be an idiopathic condition, there was no explanation, no treatment and no suggestion for behavior modification. But then I quit writing altogether. Cold turkey.
Some years later my daughter revealed that she wanted to use writing more frequently as a creative outlet, to augment her painting, drawing and craft work. What was my advice?
I gave her the standard line: “If you want to write, you have to write! Daily. Regularly. With discipline and purpose, whether you have anything to say or not.”
Easier said than done.
It is always hard to start with the blank page, screen, slate or mind. The old joke about Plagiarist’s Block reappears, laughing. Cavorting with a Muse is rarely easy. She is always a demanding mistress, and somehow, her footwork is always fancier than mine.
Yet here I am anyway, back at the tiller of my favorite craft, tacking as close to the oncoming breeze as possible, for maximum speed and that wonderful, exhilarating feeling of recklessness.
I may ship water from time to time, until I get my sea legs back. I may have to bail, but I have no intention of bailing out.