More blogging, more doing, less bloviating
The WordPress migration has gone pretty smoothly, but there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed. Some of that has been related to the differences between WordPress and Drupal, but more has needed to be fixed for some time but I’m just getting to it as I clear away the mothballs. There are, at this writing, 135 broken links according to an automated link checker. There are many broken images, and rebuilding of a category/tag system. Of course I’m getting to know WordPress better, and with the recent 5.9 release it sure looks like I picked the right time to make the move.
It has also been a trip through the past, or at least the clues I’ve left myself over the years. There has been a progression of how I’ve thought of this site over the years. What I’ve wanted to do with it and what I wanted to get out of it have changed as I’ve grown older and my life circumstances changed. That’s to be expected.
What I didn’t expect was to find was how interesting this blog used to be. I don’t mean how interesting my writing was; I mean that I wrote about interesting things. Of course what I write about should be interesting to me but there was a lot of it during the mid-oughts and up to around 2010. Then it went downhill.
During the time I was writing most I blogged about making artwork, and running, and motorcycles, about fountain pens and paper and inks, about the books I read and what I loved about San Francisco. I had a few moments of insight I thought worth writing down and on occasion I vented political views, some of which have aged better than others. Around 2011 I started blogging about the Republican debates, about Gary Johnson, about arguments I had with friends on Facebook, about things politicians were doing that I didn’t like. The interesting stuff stopped coming.
Writing about politics beyond the local scale is madness. I didn’t intend to become any kind of political writer; I’ve never had any aspirations in that direction. It’s easy to get angry about something and vent about it, and that’s not a terrible thing to do on occasion as long as one has other things to say. In my thirties my life expanded as I tried new things and learned more about what I already knew. In my forties my life contracted. I didn’t just write about interesting things less, I did interesting things less. There was less to write about, except a growing dissatisfaction with the people we elect to bicker and fight with each other.
Some factors are easy to see. I lost my art studio because I couldn’t afford to keep it. My motorcycle was backed over by a Prius. I got another one, but it ended up having lots of problems. I wrote some about fixing those problems, but I wasn’t riding very much. Running wasn’t as enjoyable after I left San Francisco, and moving out of San Francisco in 2012 left me feeling alienated from the City I had called home. I left California in 2016 feeling defeated, but also relieved. I was going to get a chance to rest, and I did.
I sat down today to write about Maus and the controversy over it being pulled from the classroom in a county in Tennessee. I think Maus is good and censorship is bad.
Really. Who asked me my opinion? Why do I feel the need to weigh in? Am I likely to change someone’s mind? Who cares what I think? I don’t ask this nihilistically. Who cares what I think about this issue? Probably not anyone who doesn’t already have my phone number.
The insight of the day is: what I do is more interesting than what I think. Yes, everything I write is inherently what I think. And of course there will be overlap. Why I do something might be interesting, but probably only if what I’m doing is interesting. What I think about what I’ve done might be interesting, but probably only if the thing itself was.
There are fields where my experience may lend value to my opinions. I wouldn’t want to stop expressing my opinions about art or technology or writing. However, reacting to issues from the news or from Facebook memes doesn’t add any value to the world. It is depressing and it is tedious. If that’s all I’m doing here it’s time to sell the domain and stop paying hosting fees.
A bit of housekeeping
With that in mind I have assigned posts that consist only of editorial comment to the category Opinionated Junk. Longtime readers here might remember that as the title before Monochromatic Outlook. I’m not getting rid of those posts; I’m proud of at least some of them. I am however, putting a flag on it so readers can be warned.
For now I’m going to try not writing any more Opinionated Junk. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but unless editorializing starts to get fun or fulfilling I’ll try to avoid it. Perhaps that will leave some space for this blog to be about interesting things again.
I think teachers should be allowed to use Maus in the classroom, and I’m rebuilding a steel-frame 3D printer. Which one would you rather read about?