It feels like cracking ice off my skin to be here after so long, or like I’m covered in mud and still waist-deep. Not that this is a swamp, but maybe I’ve become a Swamp Thing, standing in the middle of a living room that isn’t mine. I’m not sure what I’m doing here.

I love the people I’ve met through my blog with my whole heart (even people I haven’t actually met yet, which is part of the breathtakingly great way the internet works), and I love having my own space to write for people to read. I have nothing in me so decisive as a desire to shut this whole thing down, and yet. There is a part of me that is so done with the Idea of Blogging that I even mislike the way the word sits on my tongue, like a smooth stone. It didn’t used to feel that way, suffocatingly heavy, but I don’t feel like it’s only me that’s changed.

Whatever the common conception of blogging is now, it ill fits me. I do not have a cause or a mission, and I definitely do not have a sponsor, and while I have many opinions on many things, I have never been an internet-opinion-shouter. I prefer to do my opinion-shouting in person, after I’ve charmed you with my baked goods and winning smile, when we’re close enough friends for me to tell you about all the fibers my rug has deposited on your clothes.

* * *

I got to spend time with my dear friend Jo this weekend. I met her through blogging, and I regard it as the 21st century’s best kind of magic that she has a permanent place in my heart, even though this weekend is only the second time I’ve seen her in real life. We talked about every thing in the whole world, and we laughed, and we ran a race, and we ate fried things and drank cocktails, and at the end we both named it glorious, this being together.

We talked about this writing online thing, where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and after it all I came home with stronger, clearer ideas about a few things. The good words of a friend can do wonders to dispel a haze.  I also came home with a great big patient peace somehow, knowing I’ll find my way. Knowing that the things that matter will last, and not being fussed about trying to put them all on a list and get them sorted thisveryminute. I’m learning this patience, not just online but in running and eating and sleeping and just about everything else. I’m so very full of deep breaths lately.

* * *

I am sometimes disgustingly earnest (ask me about my history of righteously indignant letters some time), but I don’t have a lot of grasping in me, and when I sense that kind of desperation, in myself or in others, my tendency is retreat. I guess that’s the feeling about the blogging world lately that I can’t shake, and that’s why I want to back off some. I’m not here for indicting, but sometimes I see more things I hope I’m never like than things I’d like to emulate, and that’s my struggle.

Maybe I am always finding my place. It’s a theme I’ve returned to in a dozen ways over the years. I feel my own self evolving, and my own wants. I will always want to tell my stories, this I know. I will always want to read your stories, too, although my reading time lately is constrained. But more and more I want to talk about other things, the kinds of things that have never been part of this space. And lately my best conversations and learning are mostly happening in non-blog spaces. They’re on twitter and voxer, email and text and occasionally facebook, and they’re in-blessed-person–and I don’t mind. In fact, I quite like it that way.

So I’m not shutting the blog down, but I’m not making any firm commitments to it at this point. For the first time in a long time, my year didn’t start with the goal of blogging more, and it wasn’t even on the list for consideration except in a half-hearted, obligated way that made me almost automatically reject it. I probably won’t make big decisions in any direction until the book is done in June. I don’t underestimate how much the weight of that project pulls on all of me, and I need to see how I’ll spring back once the weight is gone. For now, I’m giving myself permission to obey my inclinations, without putting any more rules and restrictions on it than that. I might be here, but I also might not. That’s just where I am.

I don’t feel panicky about this. It feels normal and natural just to drift in this space for a bit, to feel my way through, to move like spirit on air.  I hope you understand, and I hope that if you want to you’ll find me in one of those other places, if you haven’t already.

Oh, I've found you.

Oh, I’ve found you.

See you around?