Saturday, March 11, 2017

Empty Nest, Last Post, What’s Next and Whatnot and So-Forth

Empty Nest, Last Post, What’s Next and Whatnot and So-Forth

This blog has concluded. I will leave it open and continue to respond to comments, but there will be no further new entries after this one.

I welcome you to join me at my new WordPress site, HEPHAESTUS’ WASTE & COSMIC RUBBLE.

I began this blog as a quasi-anonymous space for me to remove the masks of my daily pretense and just be comfortable with my honest feelings, positive, negative, or otherwise. I had a job I hated where I had to wear an approachable smile though I was usually depressed. I had young, good, but energetic kids who often frustrated and amused me – and occasionally made me incredibly proud. I had a wife who I adored and who I assume adored me back, even as we bristled, accidentally rubbed each other the wrong way, and learned where we fit and how to champion one another. Through all that life, it was therapeutic to be able to retreat to my blog where I was free to say that my job sucked, my kids were being assholes, and my wife just doesn’t get me if that’s how I honestly felt. This blog even gave me the freedom to flip the mirror around and be honest with myself when I’m being a dick because let’s be honest; calling your kids assholes is a classic Barry-is-a-dick-move.

I was lucky enough to cultivate a community of supportive bloggers instead of the internet’s current default hypothetical setting of trolls telling me go kill myself or die in a fire. Many of them told me how hilarious and relatable my rants were. But then a funny thing happened; as my audience grew, I felt my voice shift from honest, gut-emptying ranting, to me constantly trying to top myself. I had to be edgier, funnier, punch harder to keep my audience entertained. Before I knew it, I had slipped on another mask, this time inside my blog. It stopped being fun, and became just another joyless chore. On more than one occasion, I considered nuking this blog and walking away. This also feels like right around the time that MySpace, and later Facebook and Twitter combined to make personal blogs look almost as dated as the telegraph and carrier pigeons.

I did a brief stint as a paid comedy blogger and later a paid sports blogger, but the comedian I worked with gave me bad vibes so our collaboration lasted 2-3 years before I pulled the plug, returning to this blog. It seemed like I was always retreating to this blog, and that was before I began sharing poetry here. (I’d go on about when I first began writing poetry in high school in the 80’s/90’s, but that’s another story.) This blog seemed like a natural delivery system for my poetic musings, and so its second life began. I soon cultivated a community of fellow poetry bloggers – brilliant, talented writers, every one of them – who encouraged and pushed me to dig deeper and sharpen my skills.

Which brings us to today, which seems like a fine, organic stopping-point. My kids are now adults, both left the nest recently. Erin and I are at a good place and still chase each other through the empty house. I hate my current job, but I learned how to leave work at work, so no big. I’m still battling depression and feelings of inadequacy, but the key words are “still battling”.

Mini-Dork (Danielle) is studying to become a nurse and works as a receptionist. I’m proud of her maturing into a caring, sensitive adult. It’s still weird having mature, nuanced, insightful conversations with her without mentioning reality TV show stars, but I can’t say I miss those “riveting” conversations about Bad Girl’s Club. I think after one such talk, I forgot how to do math for about 30 minutes.  

Yugio-Boy (Bobby) is a tire mechanic who also coaches and mentors kids at the Girls & Boys club. He expresses many interests right now, so it’s good that he’s a youngin. He still has time to craft his path forward. Who am I to rush him? Hell, I still don’t know what I wanna be when I grow up, and I’m 44. 

I continue to craft my poetry and observe my fellow poets. I noticed that the overwhelming majority of poetry blogs are on some form of WordPress scaffolding. After some cursory research, I found a recurring theme; apparently, bloggers who are serious about posting their own poetry and literature eventually make the switch from Blogger over to WordPress. Poets with addresses initially aren’t taken as seriously as poets with their own domain name*. I began to wonder if I was taking myself seriously, or if I was floating along whatever direction the wind was blowing. I still don’t yet have the answer for that, but this blog post, along with whatever comes of my new blog, represents me pushing more of my chips towards the center of the table.

Thanks for sticking with me for so long. I hope to see you all at my new site, HEPHAESTUS’ WASTE & COSMIC RUBBLE.

*Edited to add: Regarding my migration from Blogger to WordPress, I worded my explanation poorly. What I meant was that when people outside of poetry blog groups see, the assumption folks typically leap to is that these are spam-sites or abandoned blogs. 

I was not disparaging the content of Blogger poets at all. I happen to know many wonderful poets using blogspot domains that are absolutely serious and talented poets and writers.

Conversely, I know folks who bought hosted domains who don’t quite know what they want their voice to be yet (like me, for example.) I was just announcing that I’m ready to level-up and see exactly where I fit on this whole literary Internet thing.

Sorry for my poor communication skills. I'm working on it.