Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Starting a New Chapter

Reinvention is not the easiest of tasks, as we are forceful creatures of habit.  I say that as someone who, for the first time in living in an apartment for over two years, is using my library to write a blog article rather than doing so in the same, desktop living room space that I always devote to my writing.  I have, after eight years, finally put in semi-retirement (I don't know if I'll bring him out for the occasional moment of glory) my computer, affectionately nicknamed "Bobby" (after the cute guy that sold it to me at Best Buy, as well as the more well-known Attorney General who is in a portrait directly behind me).  I had not decided on what to name my new computer, but as I can just make out my copy of The Moviegoer situated sternly behind it, I will go with Percy, a fitting name for such a thing, and am hopeful that Percy lasts throughout a Hillary Clinton administration the way that Bobby did through the Obama Years.

It may seem a trivial thing, to talk about a new computer, but it's not when I realize how much of my life over the past eight years has been spent on that computer.  I bought it just out of college, and had the highest of hopes for it, and indeed it has been home to some of my greatest accomplishments.  It was one of the first purchases I made when I started the career track I remain on to this day, and through its internet I found the first guy who ever called me his boyfriend and through which I wrote over 1700 blog articles (well, give or take with other shared computers of friends and occupations, but the bulk of it was performed on Bobby).  It's hard not to be reflective at the disappointments that he brought to me as well.  Despite the best of intentions but the worst of follow-throughs, I never finished my third novel on that computer, and indeed barely made it more than a handful of pages through it.  That man I called my first boyfriend would hardly be my last, but he didn't get to be the home of other more long-term descriptors like partner.

The passage of time is something that we don't oftentimes get reminded of, and while for most people eras of their personal journey are perhaps marked by cars or by jobs or by children, for me they seem to be by computers.  This is my fourth personal computer, and I remember the places all of mine have taken me toward, and where I was when I lived in their warm, mechanical glow.  As someone who has lived most of their life as an aspiring writer, trying to find words and sentences to express my innermost thoughts, computers are my lifeblood.  If there's a computer there's a portal for creativity, a vessel for when the world has left me speechless or without a rudder.  I can just pour whatever I'm trying to express into the paragraphs of a letter or a story or a blog post.

I started this blog over four years ago, and the readership has gone up-and-down, mostly better when I consistently write or when I get to an article that I think people will enjoy, and we'll return to that soon enough, but I wanted to try something a little different with this piece, because I wanted to take advantage of the anonymity that a blog provides. While I personally know several of the readers of this blog (a couple of hangers-on from my flesh-and-blood and not digital world), most of the people that I interact with on this blog and (more often) through Twitter are people I will never meet or never will.  We get very few comments (few is being generous), and so I know very little of the readership of this blog, or really aside from the occasional post that happens to land an image that somehow pops up in a Google or Bing image search, I know little of what people like aside from guesses (and admittedly a couple of posts that I know clearly resonated about Darren Criss and Harry Potter).  This has never bothered me, though, because I embraced the anonymity of this blog out of wanting to become a better writer.

By being anonymous, and not caring what parts of myself I was giving over to the other side of the computer, I could learn how to write again.  Four years ago, I hadn't written so much as two sentences in years outside of the confines of Microsoft Outlook.  I genuinely thought I had forgotten how to write.  The first few articles were bizarrely labored, and I wondered if I could do something like this, giving near daily thoughts, but I pushed through because I wanted to prove to myself that I could achieve something.  I was going through a low period (something we all go through from time to time) and an outlet, something to accomplish but more so something to rely upon, felt truly liberating.  Best of all was the anonymity, proving that I could write about literally whatever was of interest to myself and if people liked it, so be it, and if not, there was no pressure as my name wasn't attached.

As you might imagine considering the wistfulness of this article, I am not far from one of those moments right now in my life, a few months into such a mood which may be why the writing has been a bit more sporadic and frequently excuse-riddled.  It's hard to find yourself when you don't know where to go and when you feel you have very few people that have a vested or active interest in making yourself better.  This is not meant to disparage one of the people who know me in my life, but to acknowledge the truth that as you get older and you don't go down a traditional family path (whether by choice or by bitter providence) you become almost exclusively your own guardian, not just in matters of finance, but in matters of care and drive and love.  I can say with relative certainty that no one has a continuous, active, daily interest in my future except me, and that's something only really single people and those in loveless romantic relationships can claim.  I honestly have no idea how to really get out of this funk, but as of this past weekend I've decided that trying to ride it out is not working, and so I have purchased this computer to both metaphorically and literally start a new chapter.  Some of this journey I'll bring to this blog, some of it will be outside of this laptop, but I will be sharing moments along the way and I invite you to join me.  The era of Percy, part four of John, is about to begin.

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