I find myself feeling “at loose ends.” If you search on that phrase, you find a big part of the definition involves the idea of “not knowing what to do,” although sources differ a bit on whether that’s due to having nothing to do or due to not being able to decide what to do. More to the point, most identify the main feeling: being restless and unsettled.
A key reason my ends are loose is obvious given my last post, but this river has other tributaries (I never met a metaphor I couldn’t mix). Certainly in my case, the problem isn’t having nothing to do; I have plenty of projects. The problem is the utter lack of fulfillment in doing most of them.
And, sadly, this blog is turning out to be high on that list.
What’s heart-breaking to me is that so are movies and music, two things I’ve always cherished. In the case of movies, my problem is that so many of them seem hardly worth watching and easily forgotten. There is a clone-like similarity to all these action-thrillers: the same fights, the same CGI, the same endless destruction. (One does still find a few gems now and then.)
My problem with music is more personally tragic: my hearing has gotten so bad that music no longer sounds right (or even good) unless I really crank the volume. And that makes the hearing progressively worse, so it’s a slippery slope. It’s to the point that, short of a rock concert, I must wear headphones to listen to music.
What it really boils down to, perhaps, is that aging means loss. I’m old enough to have lost peers now (let alone a growing count of elders). I’ve been struck several times seeing that some famous person has died and realizing they were born after me. I’m outliving people now!
I expected blogging to become a big part of post-work life. The reality is that it’s been increasingly unfulfilling, and part of me just wants to wrap it up and move on to something else. But I have a hard time quitting something I’ve committed to. And I still believe I’m worth reading, even if hardly anyone else does.
One problem is that this blog often feels like work. I’m writing for a general audience and trying to open interesting doors and encourage thought (and hopefully participation). I did a lot of that sort of thing at work over the years; authored several department websites, wrote acres of documentation. Honestly, I work my ass off on this stuff, and the general response (both at work and here) is no response.
Okay, fair enough, message received. Y’all ain’t interested. But what happened to all the curious people? Has the world become so filled with stuff we must handle, and so complicated and technical, that we no longer venture into new territory just to check it out?
I’ve always been branded a “weirdo.” I’ve never been popular; I never expected to have a popular blog. I just thought a few other “weirdos” (the intellectually curious) might have found me by now.
Enough whining; just wanted to express my dismay.
Having an Engineer’s Mind, I’m a Fixer, so I react to problems with possible solutions. I’ve decided to make some changes in my blogging life.
For one thing, I’ve started a new blog: The Hard-Core Coder. It’s a blog devoted solely to the topic of computer programming. It serves two purposes:
Firstly, it off-loads any such posts from this blog — those I’ve done here were hugely unread, and I understand why. For coders, they were the rare raisins in the raisin bread; for non-coders, they were the occasional sinkhole post. Either way, they didn’t really fit here, but coding is a huge part of me, and I want to write about it.
Secondly, it gives me a place where I can write about it and to a presumed knowledgeable audience. Hopefully, it will be a win-win situation. It seems off to a decent start. (I have enough material for the immediate future; it will be interesting to see how prolific I can be once I work though it, though. I asked myself if I really thought I could sustain a one-topic blog. After giving it some thought, I finally answered, “Dunno! Let’s find out.”)
My other blog, Book of BOOL, is taking up a lot of my blogging energy. That blog is a place to document a personal pet project; I’m not expecting readers, let alone followers (and, oddly, yet I have some). After over twenty years of messing around with my personal computer language, BOOL (Basic Object-Oriented Language), things are coming to a head. (It’s a project that has been fulfilling, so it’s easy to spend time working on it.)
Which brings me back to this blog. In both my other blogs, I write posts without all the images I find for the posts here. I’ve found that makes it much easier to post; finding just the right images sometimes takes me hours. It sometimes takes days (even weeks) if I decide to create special images.
I do also spend a lot of time crafting the articles I write here. I like to play with words and ideas, but some of it is performance art, and it seems to be largely missed by the audience. This one is (at least partially) on me; I’m too subtle for my own good sometimes. (There are times in relationships when I’ve been certain I’m sending a specific (unvoiced) message, but the other person equally certainly isn’t picking up on it.)
So the big change around here is that, since I have almost no readers (and fewer participants), I’m going to take a vacation and stop trying to so hard. Gonna cut back on all the Wiki links. No more pictures unless exactly the right one really begs to be included. Not gonna watch my words so carefully anymore, either. Just not gonna try so hard here anymore. Not for a while, anyway.
[On the other hand, may slip even deeper into metaphor and word play. Not watching my words so carefully also means letting the Weird out.]
I mean, what’s the worst that will happen? No one will read my blog? (That is no different from now.)
Let’s call it an experiment. Blame it on the life and death weather that surrounds me. Or the chilly winter and cabin fever. A true Web-log; freedom to just post whatever, and skip the polish. The con carne du jour is cold-cuts! (With a word salad of mixed metaphors and languages. (But hopefully no mixed messages.))