I'm afraid that this post is going to be a good-bye. Not in a suicide way, or in an I'm-moving-away way (obviously my location on this planet really has no bearing on whether or not this blog exists, given that there are Internet cafés in Antarctica now... OK, so I made that up, but you know what I mean). I think this is going to be my sign-off post. And that makes me sad.
But I also know, and have known for a while, that's it's necessary. The contrarian literary-snob in me can't simply come here, open up a draft, and write a short, easy-to-write, easy-to-read post. If that were the case, I'd happily keep posting here, maybe for as long as my fingers have the capability to type. As it is, whenever I start in on a post, I keep going and going, and digging and digging, trying to somehow arrive at the deeper truth of a thing through the mere act of typing. Which means that nearly every post you see on this blog has taken hours to craft, and perhaps hours more have been spent on re-reading for edits. I'm a good writer, and writing does come easy to me -- but not quite that easy.
And more to the point: This is not the sort of writing that I want to devote that many hours of my life to. So I write some long, chewy post that I think makes a person or two feel less alone, that I think casts some oft-discussed subject in at least a slightly different light than the usual or the obvious or the expected one. So a handful of people read it, and derive a moment's intellectual or emotional stimulation from it. So what? ... OK, I'm lying again. That alone -- the fact that some people got something out of reading this blog -- was what kept me going for as long as I did.
However, as any self-help book or blog or LCD, bullet-pointed article will tell you -- you shouldn't do a thing because it makes others happy; you should do it because it makes you happy. And what makes me happy is working on short fiction. So that's what I'm going to spend my time on now, instead of updating this blog or -- more frequently -- feeling guilty about the lengthening span of time since whenever the last post was.
The other day I came to an uncomfortable realization: Considering that I get home from work around 6:30 p.m., and must be in bed by about 10:30 p.m. in order to have gotten enough sleep by the time the alarm on my iPod Touch chimes its "Marimba" goddamn chime at 6:16 a.m. -- I have a mere four hours of free time on most days of the week, including time spent cooking or buying and consuming dinner, taking a walk or doing any sort of fitness things, taking a shower and getting ready for the next day (I'm a night shower-taker, a vampire shower-taker, because for me the early morning is already so inherently unpleasant that the thought of standing naked and cold beneath a spray of water at that grim time is nigh-unbearable).
Not surprisingly, I am not getting a lot of creative writing done. The last several posts on my writing site have been newly edited and polished versions of older stories of mine, in some cases from as far back as 2005. I'm utterly unable to log into Gmail at work -- at previous jobs, I could take advantage of unsupervised and unmonitored lulls to dash off part of a writing and save it as a Gmail draft, to work on more later at home -- and in the evenings I'm too "knackered," as Dawn from the British version of "The Office" said when referring to her own post-office tiredness interfering with creating art. (Her full quotation and context is here.)
I think this blog has served its purpose, in some obvious and a few perhaps surprising-to-others ways. When I started writing that first post, I was miserable in the job arena of my life -- now I'm happy in it. I know that I don't want to stay in my current job forever -- I keep flirting with the idea of returning to the more fulfilling world of print and online journalism, although I keep failing to figure out how to actually make that happen. But it's very, very good for now -- for a few years, even, maybe. The pay is good. I love reading books on the Metro, hanging around Union Station, working one block from the U.S. Capitol building, getting an injection of "city life!" before I return to the leafy Northern Virginia suburbs at night.
And the actual work has taken an upswing in a more stimulating direction, too. Here's what I posted on Facebook just last night: