INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Crawling Towards Third

OK. Decision time. Is Insiteview going to be just one more in a growing scrap heap of abandoned blogs, riddled with comment spam like maggots on a rotting carcass?

Or is it going to reach for the tendrils of resuscitation and crawl back to some semblance of life—even at the risk of being a pale shadow of its former incarnation?

I launched this blog three years ago next week. I made a commitment to myself to keep it going for one year, no matter how discouraged I might become. A piece of cake, as it turned out. That first year was a blast.

I watched in wonder as the readership kept growing. I was blown away by the quality of the blogs that began linking to me. I was amazed to see my Google listings expand to over twenty pages.

The second year continued to be solid—for a while. Eventually, things began to slip. The blog was becoming a struggle as other priorities intervened.

As the second anniversary arrived last February, I found myself unwilling to make any more commitments. By May, after an ever-growing infrequency, the posts just stopped coming—not out of any conscious decision—just apathy, inertia, competing foci, and a stupid inner voice that kept insisting I had nothing left to say.

After all, when Insiteview got underway I was in the first flush of retirement, suddenly awash with unaccustomed buckets of spare time. Surfing blogs and writing one of my own filled them perfectly.

As the end of the second blog-year approached, however, it became depressingly clear that I couldn’t afford the time-luxury any longer. I had made some serious miscalculations, financially and emotionally, about my ability to manage this strange world called “retirement.”

It seemed, I told myself, that I needed to get back into the world and that blogging was in the way. What a gross misjudgment!

My absence from the blogosphere (I haven’t even been reading blogs, let alone writing one) has turned out to give me a more stinging experience of isolation than my departure from the workplace.

During the recent blog hiatus, I entered my seventh decade. Mathematical purists will point out that it’s actually the eighth, but screw that. When I say “seven,” people know what I mean. Who needs technicalities?

In the funk of my self-enforced isolation, I rationalized that I probably wasn’t “relevant” anymore, anyway. As a sexagenarian I could joke about getting older, but still, like
Elaine, feel a strong connection to the mostly younger universe of fellow bloggers.

But the age thing doesn’t seem like much of a joke anymore—even though, thanks to my mother’s genes (at 70 she could pass for 55), and to a younger wife and children still in their twenties who keep alive my unreconstructed spirit of rebellion—I suppose I actually have no reason to consider myself a has-been, despite the inner mind-chatter that suggests otherwise.

Perhaps my exile from the bloghood is reinforcing this chatter. Perhaps a re-engagement would shift the conversation to, “Hey, Stupid, you’re still in the game.”

My wife, Jill, who has zero patience with my lamentations over my alleged future irrelevance to the blogosphere blasts me with a straightforward retort: “Too old, my ass! You should consider yourself a trailblazer. These younger people want to know what you have to say.”

More ominously, superblogger
Jeanene Sessum, who shepherded my entry into blogging, admonishes, in a socially-incorrect all-caps email, “DON'T GIMME NO LIP, NOW, JUS GET YOURSELF BACK ONLINE TO THAT BLOG AND I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ONE LITTLE WORD ABOUT IT. DON'T TELL MAMA YOU BUSY, DON'T TELL MAMA YOU GOT BETTER THANGS TO DO. . .”

Well, that settles it, doesn’t it? Choice is no longer a factor.

Post Script:
Comment spam has wiped out all the wonderful comments that people have left here over the course of my blogging life. I’ve erased all the offenders—at the expense of several hours—and we’ll see what happens. I’ll stick with Haloscan for the time being. It’s been a good service, but if I can’t contain the spam and people’s comments get over-ridden again, I’ll try Blogger comments. Any advice welcome. If you want to comment, please give it a whirl.
Post Script Two: I can’t end this post without an acknowledgement of
Frank Paynter—who has been gently nudging my butt from time to time and letting me know that my writing is missed. Without Frank’s contacts and expressions of caring, I might not have

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