Okay, here’s another blog file and it’s so meaty it would keep me going for far too long, so I’m going to skim through it and drop hints or significant words and move on. Other writers have already written entire books about keywords that unlock some of my thoughts. I take note of the books not because I want to read them but because I’m going to think my own thoughts about them.
Here’s one: The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection, by Michael Harris, who equates“absence” with “lack” and “solitude”, all of which we need more of. You see? That’s something you want to think about in your spare time, or absence.
That’s an easy lead into the absence resulting from the empty nest syndrome, the departure of one's children to college or marriage or a job in another city. Not a true absence any more because of the “failure to launch”: no student loans, no marriage, and no job, anywhere. Surely not the subject of an entire book, maybe just a blog.
I found another blog-worthy meditation on boxes. I love boxes. My first filing cabinet was a Carnation Milk carton with the same measurements as a 8 and 1/2 by 11 folder. I used to save every shoebox I ever bought – well, I didn’t buy the box, just the shoes that came in it. A new box usually leads to a new collection or at least more space for an already existing but overflowing collection. One of the nicest boxes I ever had was the one I packed mending into one time when I was moving house. I found it and opened it months later and by that time the contents didn’t fit anyone I knew. That was really comforting - no guilt.
A headline on an essay in a 2014 article in the NYT asks, “Are We Really Conscious?” Well, we all know the answer to that one, don’t we? I can look back on any moment in my life, that I can remember, and wonder where I was at the time. I hardly knew what was going on. Later, if I think about it at all, and discover what it or I was all about, I say, “Oh, I see!” Where was I? And that leads me to wonder if I’m here now. It’s mind-boggling, not to say blogging. Awareness is all.
Here’s one about self-control, considered a big problem, an obstacle to productivity. Well, again, we know all about that. It gets harder all the time, especially in these days of diversified apps, to say nothing of the intriguing sidebars vying for your attention in your undisciplined online research. Just a quick peek, and you’re lost, may I say out of control?
Oh, and then there’s procrastination, a corollary of self-control and the lack thereof. That’s worth several blogs and one of these days I’ll get around to considering it.
And speaking of worth, is blog-writing a worthwhile activity? I read half a dozen pieces coping with that problem and attempting to deal with blogging in the abstract. (Whatever else it may be, a blog is never abstract.) Blog as journal, blog as college assignment, blog as travel(b)log, blog as advice, blog as cooking column, and there we have proof that it can be worthwhile. Julie Powell kept a blog for a year as she cooked her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking gathering readers as she went along. Her culinary blog became a book and her story became a movie (thanks to Nora Ephron) and she became famous, for a while.
Oh, my, one could go on and on. What about insomnia? Self-doubt? Dieting? Simplicity? Serendipity? Thank-you letters? Retirement? Aging?