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Boxing Day - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Boxing Day
Yesterday was this journal's fifth anniversary. Strangely, particularly given my susceptibility to the documentary impulse, I did not muster the energy to commemorate the occasion. It occurred to me, but I had other priorities. That said, I did renew my paid membership for another year. And I've been following the entries of my friends with my usual care, even if I've been commenting with less frequency elsewhere and replying to comments with less speed and meticulousness here. In case you're keeping score, I'm trailing 12,610 to 10,324, a gap that I have little hope of ever closing significantly.

Now that I'm writing this, I remembered that I've always felt strange celebrating my anniversary on August 31st, since my first entry with meaningful content was posted on September 1st:
We were on vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains, our last family trip before I was to go to Germany as an exchange student. The night of the draft, I watched the sports news in our motel room and was happy for Len. The next morning, we walked across a dewy field to get breakfast and I let visions of Bias in a Celtics uniform flit through my brain. And then we went inside. There were newspapers on display with the news. And I was just so stunned. It was really hard to take, what with my post-graduation euphoria and visions of the future suddenly darkened by needless death.
I like to think that my prose has changed considerably as a result of writing so much and so regularly in these parts. But the evidence belies that conviction.

Still, I know that I've become much more adept at sizing up the complexities of audience response since I began this journal. And that was, after all, the main reason I wanted to start blogging in the first place. The irony is that, for all the nuances I'm able to discern in my limited but still remarkably varied readership, both within the context of Live Journal and outside of it, I'm still not able to communicate the messages that matter most with much clarity. Part of that is because of my readership, whose composition has made it impossible for me to write as freely as I would like or, indeed, as I once did here. There are other reasons, though, including my reluctance to commit to a position that forecloses the possibility of maintaining good relations with those who do not share it. As I've suggested recently, that position on taking positions has proven increasingly untenable over the last few years and is one of the first things I want to overhaul in the course of the self-refashioning I'm presently undertaking.

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Comments
masoo From: masoo Date: September 1st, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It is always clear to me what matters most to you, but it is not always clear what you think about that which matters. I've always thought it was a conscious decision on your part ... it adds an element of mystery, and it gives you some private space within a public forum. Here's to a tenth anniversary!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 2nd, 2008 02:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Many of my entries have been about the Bears and Barry Bonds. And a lot have been about the state of my breathing. Or so I realized, perusing the whole five years today.

As far as the other things I write about goes, I'm often not sure what I think about them. I figure it out, to some extent, by posting here and then reviewing the responses that I and others have to what I wrote. Strange, but it works pretty well.
chefxh From: chefxh Date: September 1st, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

glimmers

I see bits of bigger stories peeking out here and there, though generally I think you like to put the message in beautiful camouflage.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 2nd, 2008 01:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: glimmers

You're a great reader (and one of my favorite readers, too). The thing is, while I'm not good at being direct anyway, the fact that so many people at work were reading this journal, whether avowedly or in secret, made it necessary to be more obtuse than even I want to be. Until recently, I was committed to having all public entries. Even now, I only do "Friends Only" rarely. But that's hard, under the circumstances.

Nice to hear from you, BTW!
From: wondrousbeauty Date: September 3rd, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"As I've suggested recently, that position on taking positions has proven increasingly untenable over the last few years...."

I'm just curious about how much (if at all) this has to do with blogging as an academic, and tenure/work-related repercussions to blogging. Not that you suggested any connection, but I've been thinking about it lately.

I've really enjoyed reading your blog, with all the shifts in writing style. I especially enjoy your photos.
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