Oh yeah, I have a blog. I forget sometimes. And two days ago it was this blog’s tenth anniversary — I forgot that too, until this afternoon. Not surprising, considering how infrequently I show up here these days, but ’twasn’t always so. Here’s a quick and scrappy graph depicting the plummet in the number of blog posts per annum, with the final point, weakly hovering just above zero, representing 2012:
I have no moral to draw from this pattern of hills, valleys, and plateaus, no autobiographical insights, apart from the obvious ones: I’ve grown busier (or “busier”) as I’ve grown older; and as online media proliferate, I’ve felt more and more ambivalent about using this particular medium to share personal “observations, discoveries, complaints, questions, obsessions.” (That’s what Twitter’s for, right?)
The graph does suggest when that ambivalence set in — about five years ago, which is roughly when I removed the blog’s traffic counter. I decided I didn’t really want to know how many people were reading it, and I’d henceforth treat the blog as a kind of semi-public scratchpad or commonplace book. And the past couple of years I’ve been keeping an actual daily (or near-daily) notebook, genuinely private, where I keep track of what’s going through my head with ink and paper. I suspect that’s where my blog “went”: into an older medium, one which feels more durable, one in which (I convince myself) I can think more “clearly,” whatever that means.
Or I could sum up my tenth anniversary thoughts like this:
A city of millions, towers, halls, houses, streets, tunnels, bridges, smokestacks, wires, trains, walkers, drivers, buyers, earners, children, thieves, glass, iron, stone, arches, spans, windows, rooms, floors, tables: and somewhere one glass of water which is the poem.
2012; 27 x 19.5 inches; silkscreen on archival paper Edition of 70, numbered and signed by the artist
O come astronomer of freedom
Come comrade stargazer
Look at the sky I told you I had seen
The glittering seeds that germinate in darkness
And the planet in my hand’s revolving wheel
and the planet in my breast and in my head
and in my dream and in my furious blood.
“I can’t quite accept what seems to be a fairly conventional notion of poetry as that which bolsters us up in what we already know. I am less interested in that than in poetry that puts us in a difficult position and makes us think about how things are.”
—Paul Muldoon, quoted in a review of Maggot by Nick Laird, in The New York Review of Books, 23 June, 2011.