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Washtenaw Flaneurade
30 September 2010
Drinking! Yay!
Now Playing: Caribou--"Every Time She Turns Round It's Her Birthday"

I suppose I should feel guilty about not updating my blog. I do to some extent, but my time has been taken up with so much else in the way of creative endeavor and (semi-?) professional responsibility that the energy can scarcely be mustered. When I look back on this year in comparison to last year, it seems especially weird. Weirder still, to be sure, are the new setup and graphics seems to have installed in my blogging absence. It looks like a PBS Kids' version of those propaganda stills used to brainwash Warren Beatty in The Parallax View.

I kept a journal through pretty much the entirety of 2009, something I don't think I ever did before, and recently started it up again after I let it slide at the beginning of the summer (shortly before my bike ride to Dexter and Livingston County). Among other things, I was worried that my dreams would go unrecorded and subsequently wither. There was also the need to keep some of the more ludicrous aspects of life at work--and in Ann Arbor--generally recorded, in the hope of one day mining them for fiction (every time I get exasperated with a certain aspect of my job, I simply have to remind myself that it's never boring). It's not like I can claim to have been writing feverishly during the summer, either. My aforementioned midlife crisis did for that, and I think throwing myself back into the cultural swing of things with writing, music and films may well have done for the blogging.

When I started the blog, I was just coming off arguably my worst year in Ann Arbor. Moving here in 2002, I was able to temper my initial disillusionment with the place by socializing furiously with people from work and becoming a lot more culturally savvy than I had been at grad school or before. Unfortunately, my job (despite the many cool co-workers) was awful, and a new gig at Cafe du Jour and a new place in the beautiful but largely sterile Old West Side of Ann Arbor failed to compensate for a powerful loneliness, all the worse for the fact that I turned thirty shortly thereafter. My work friends mostly drizzled away and the social cadre system in town proved near impossible to crack. The winters at either end of 2004 were especially bad. There were a few silver linings--I met a couple of really cool people at my new job and started to seriously learn about cooking; though I had to move in August, the new place improved dramatically once some of the loons moved out and I had the house practically to myself for an entire year; and I saw New Year's Eve out in fine style thanks to my friend Jess at Planned Parenthood (another silver lining), partly in the company of someone I'd later befriend at another job and who may well be reading this post! I started blogging shortly thereafter, inspired partly by the late lamented Ann Arbor Is Overrated, and began meeting people in social situations after that. I went to a show last night and ran into an old friend from that era, recently returned to Michigan, and we had a great conversation on how much the "scene" has changed in the intervening half-decade. It bewilders me now to find how many of my posts were simply show reviews and the like. Ever since, though, I've kept it up off and on, and tend to feel guilty when I have nothing that seems worthy of expression in such a forum.

It's especially weird to compare this year's output with last year's, as last year was quite eventful and productive in many ways. I suppose this has been more a year for contemplation than activity. Mental, anyway; I've probably spent as much time on my bike as off, and have been riding hell-for-leather with the camera in search of fun nature photos. It's wrought hell on the writing, but it's kept me active and, to a certain extent, creative. I've been talking with my co-worker regarding sundry subjects and we're both excited for this winter, partly because we're convinced it'll see a renaissance in both our creative outputs. I've finished three stories this year (two of them languishing from way back, but still) and have a rather longer project (two years in the making, and which I'm still leery of lending a classification easily subject to ridicule) very near completion. The goal eventually is to try and write a story at least every two months, and there are plenty of ideas and false starts still in existence I can choose to finish. I wonder sometimes what it all means, but then I remember the people who mean to write but never do, let alone get published or recognized in some fashion. It helps to see people like my burlesque chums turn their dreams into reality, and though Ann Arbor can be a really obnoxious place, it's nice to know so many people involved in creative pursuits.

All this blather is more or less by way of an apology if anyone enjoys following the blog. I keep meaning to post twice every month, but something always intrudes, and I'm at a bit of a crossroads regarding how I'm going to proceed with this merry shambles of a life (I think this is the more positive and productive component of the "midlife crisis" earlier this summer). In many ways, I'm where I wanted to be when I arrived in Ann Arbor--well-employed (in my particular field, at least), creatively active, and wealthy in good friends who are interesting and genuine. Having drooled thus, it probably won't be a problem to write something every week (maybe). Thank you for reading.

Oh, man, Dan Snaith is a genius.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 9:09 PM EDT
Updated: 30 September 2010 9:11 PM EDT
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30 September 2010 - 9:56 PM EDT

Name: "Tara"

Yes, I am reading : ) And though there is no need to aplogize for a long absence, I am glad to see a new post.

I admire your willingness to put the blog aside in favor of other projects. I'm working on a novel (feels weird to say that) and it's mostly a compulsion, like I have to write it because I have to get it out of my system. Of course I want it to be good, but I really don't know what will become of it. At the same time, I crave the instant gratification that comes with a blog. Especially now that I live so far from my friends and I don't have a job that involves writing (wow, who knew that the catering newsletter was, on some level, emotionally satisfying), I kinda need to have that audience and encouragement I get from a blog. All that adds up to a huge distraction from writing snotty stories about my former workplace ; )

So keep doing what you're doing. You've been published and you'll be published more because your a great writer and people enjoy reading what you have to say.

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