Thursday, June 9, 2011

Betwixt & between

The blogging slowdown continues, as is surely apparent. I've also recently closed my Facebook account, so my live-time online presence, such as it was, is shrinking. I never did tweet or follow anyone on Twitter—could there be anything more annoying, more pointless, trivial, hollow, time-wasting?—and although I was a more or less active Facebook user for the past couple of years, my engagement was always steeped in ambivalence. My FB postings were generally judicious, I think, not too crazy, impulsive, inappropriate or offensive--I am a highly flawed individual but I'm not a dickhead or a weiner (yeah, I went there)—but they always made me queasy nonetheless. Not only did it feel creepy to repair to this virtual lounge whenever I had something I wanted to express and express it to virtual people, especially for someone like me who's always been reserved in person with all but my closest friends (and yeah, to them I'm a wild, un-shut-uppable ranter), creepy so that I almost always regretted posting, always felt embarrassed or out of control, but more than that I could never quite figure out the answer to this question: Why bother? Why bother the couple hundred or so people I'd somehow accumulated as "friends" with my random effluvia? Why post or pass along endless news items, political analysis, Youtube videos and the like when there are plenty of other people doing it already? As for the flip side, reading all those other folks' equally random effluvia and/or endlessly repetitive news etc., logging onto FB and scrolling through the posts (and mind you, this was even after adjusting my settings so that many didn't show anyway) came to feel like punishment. Like slogging through a daily flogging to which I ultimately couldn't find a reason to keep subjecting myself. Important political news and developments? I'm on enough lists and read enough news that most things I should see make their way to me already. Personal info and updates? If we really know and care about each other, even virtually, you'll call or email me. Ultimately, I couldn't come up with any reason to keep returning to an imaginary land of irkdom and jerkdom except to spin my wheels when what they need is to stay in contact with the road and transport me forward.

So goodbye to all that. Not to all this, lit-blogging, yet, but who knows. The original impetus for starting Read Red, almost three years ago now, had to do with my frustration at the dearth of truly left literary news and analysis on the internet. This dearth remains in effect, to the best of my knowledge, at least in English. The ubiquity of bourgeois consciousness, unconscious though it generally is especially in the minds of good-hearted progressive-oriented commentators, bloggers, reviewers et al, remains unchanged. My frustration unabates. However, my need to comment, my desire to do what I can to carve out a class-struggle space in the literary blogosphere, no longer compels quite so compellingly as it did at the start. It might just be fatigue. I mean, how many times can I yelp and yowl about the endless assault of literary and other offenses? It might just be personal fatigue unrelated to matters literary or bloggish. Hell, it might just be that I need a vacation (one month till VDay).

It might also be—no, it definitely is—that I've got to knuckle down, as I've scolded myself so many times before, including publicly here on this blog, and get this damned novel finished. I've got to brush aside impediments. FB was one, an absurd time waster like online games used to be. Is Read Red another? Not if I maintain the slowed down pace I've reverted to this spring. As long as I only post here when I've actually got something halfway meaningful to contribute to the conversation, I think this blog justifies itself, both in a broad way in terms of fulfilling its charge of offering a communist take on literature and personally while not sucking my writing energy away from the story I'm trying to get onto the page.

So I'm here. I'll be back. As for all that other crap, if you need me you know where to find me.