I recently celebrated ten years of doing this blog thing, and I somehow managed to do it quietly, with basically no fanfare (or, more accurately, self-aggrandizement), because I felt perhaps I wasn't entitled to claim it.
Well, it's a new year, so I think I'll just embrace it.
Today I resumed my (fruitless) search for a piece - I know I wrote it - which included a passing review of Oldboy, the Park Chan-wook film I mentioned yesterday. It was part of a piece, I think, about my friend Ray and I traveling by train and regretting my entertainment choices... or something. Anyway, I can't find it, so there.
But, as happens every so often when I embark on these searches, I am faced with returning to the scene of the crime - rereading pieces I wrote and thinking... well... "what was I thinking?"
The search today was especially deep, and I went back to pretty much the beginning, pieces from January 2007 which were about 4 months into writing this thing. Some of it was politics, there were some film pieces (I was big on doing my Oscar predictions in January - never thought I'd just give up on that), and a lot of pressure on myself to keep writing nearly every day. (There's a whole archive list, by month, on the right, at the bottom. Try it.)
I regret that; I realize there are things about my writing I regret. A lot of things. I wish I'd been more thorough with the copy edit (or had a nice person to do it for me), I wish I'd been less personal, surely less "I, I, I..." (but why stop now?). I like to believe I live life without carrying a lot of regrets, but oof, the things I've said...
That said (and that... and that), I'm grateful, too - grateful for the friends I made along the way, grateful to the friends who were supportive and encouraging the way real friends are. I somehow encouraged my friends to take this journey along with me - and rereading their writing and reviewing their other contributions made me unreasonably proud of them.
High standards, of course, are fine; but I've most likely set my expectations too high and unreasonably in looking back at what I've done. I wrote those things, to get to the writing I do now - if anything, I write more confidently, copy edit (a little) more thoroughly, try (a little) less to put quite so much "me" into every piece... all because I made mistakes along the way. It's true, and I've always known, you won't be a better writer not writing. You will be better writing more, writing more often, taking chances and seeing where that takes you. And yet, the great lessons of doing this I've learned is not everything needs to be written, writing on topics that don't fascinate you just leads to boring writing, and writing every day is a nice goal, but not necessarily a requirement.
My blogging is driven in part by a brilliant, kind coworker who was explaining blogging back when blogging was new (before I jumped in) and said most blogs don't last six months. There were moments I thought this might just be worth stopping, setting aside... yet I don't. Partly to not be a statistic. Partly because I started this because I wanted a place to write. And that, really, is something I still want to do. And be.
And, along the way, I turn up pieces like this, just a little thing about fashion and writing and media and magazines... and I remember why I really love doing this, the things I see that most people don't, stuff I'm really rather proud of. It took three years of writing this blog to get to the place where I could synthesize all that. And seven years later, could I do it better or differently? Sure. But I was there, so I could get here.
A friend at work recently confessed to me that she was dreaming about blogging, about finding a place where she could out her writing out there. Talking to her, encouraging her, I was reminded that I am really doing this because I love to do it, because it challenges me, pushes me forward. It makes me proud to have something to point to, even prouder to see her venture forth and start to make the effort.
And so, here I am, ten years after. If blogging hasn't been exactly what I expected - and I'm not sure, entirely, what I expected - if I'm not the magazine writer I dreamed of becoming or the movie critic who could surely outdo a lot of what passes for criticism these days... I am still quite pleased with what I have been able to create, and grow, and survive. And goodness knows, there's still plenty more to write about. At least, I still want to keep trying, however imperfectly.