Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch


Today is this journal's third birthday. I started it primarily as an experiment. I'd been reading other personal blogs -- some on Live Journal, some elsewhere -- for a while with an eye to one day writing something about them. But I figured I wouldn't have the depth of knowledge I needed unless I had an insider's perspective. So I started writing.

Bear in mind that I never really kept a diary, whether as a teenager or an adult. I would occasionally decide that I should and dutifully compose an entry or two before losing my interest or my nerve. In fact, the only notebooks -- two, to be precise -- that I ever filled up prior to starting this journal were ones devoted to creative writing, which I modeled after the ones my girlfriends used. The pressure to update regularly was not one I was well prepared to meet, as the large gaps in De File's first month indicate.

Yet I persevered. Something transformed inside me and I soon came to regard journal-keeping the same way I regarded dishwashing. That may sound negative, but I actually like standing at the sink as I make my way through a pile of plates, glasses, and utensils. It relaxes me. And so does keeping this journal, more often than not.

The real turning point for me was when I started to get a critical mass of readers on Live Journal and the solidarity of reciprocal exchange that I'd witnessed on my friend cpratt's journal became a part of my internet-mediated life as well. Not having the time or the inclination to hang out a great deal -- being a parent and the partner of a semi-recluse make it hard no matter what -- I appreciated the fact that I could get my interpersonal fix without having to make room for lots of face time.

There have been rough stretches in my time as a blogger. I took a lot off flak from colleagues in my first year and then, after it seemed that the negativity had died down, found myself back in the skies over Nazi Germany last summer, without a fighter escort and down several crew members. I almost bailed. But, in the end, I decided that I would try to make it back across the Channel and did.

Now I look back on those moments of self-doubt as the most productive of all, because they helped me to achieve the results I was looking for in my initial experiment and made me stronger for having survived them. Right now, I feel like I could do what I do here for many more years without burning out.

I suppose, though, that this sense of futurity is tinged with a little fear. The life I led before I became established in my blogging routine seems so remote to me now that I feel like I'm seeing it through the green-glass bottom of an old Coke bottle. I worry that, without this venue, I might have a harder time retaining the sense of self that I've cultivated in keeping this journal. More pragmatically, I'm also troubled by the prospect of falling back into the writer's block that was plaguing me before I started writing all the time.

The hour is late. And I have penne with my mushroom-tomato-basil pesto to consume before I sleep. So let me thank all of you who read me, whether it's all the time or just every now and then. I'm especially grateful to those of you who comment here regularly and hope that I return the favor in a way that works for you. It's time, I suppose, for some stats.

When I started this journal I had one friend. Then cpratt realized I'd begun and made an announcement on his journal that brought in readers. Once that snowball was rolling, it kept revealing more and more of the frozen lawn beneath the blanket of white. Although I have never gone looking for "Friends" in a pre-meditated way, 87 people now have me on their list. It's an improbable largess and I feel honored that so many people want me in their electronic lives.

Amazingly, I have only belonged to one Live Journal community, even though I know that there are plenty that would interest me greatly. I show my inner Taurus when it comes to shaking up any aspect of my routine, no matter how insignificant. Maybe this year will bring a little more adventure of that sort.

As I write this, I have made 1,834 entries, of which all but a few are visible to anyone who cares to look. My philosophy has always been that it's better to show one's faults than to hide them. I have also posted 6,165 comments and received 5,498. I try hard to catch up , believe it our not, but my commenters' generosity exceeds the scope of of my guilt. Now I'm going to go eat. Peace to all and to all a "Good night!"
Tags: autobiography, blogging, memory

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