Goodnight, Quiet Bubble

I quit.

Well, at least I’m quitting for a long while. The site will stay up until I figure out a way to archive it on a free server. But don’t expect new content from me for… really, I don’t know how long. Maybe forever. I need to devote my creative energies to writing that will help pay bills, to work that will replenish me, and the blog isn’t it, and hasn’t been it for months.

Part of it’s me, I know. I’ve been struggling with depression, brought on to a large degree by financial worries, for the better part of a year. I can’t tell if I’m depressed because I can’t create, or if I can’t create because I’m depressed. It no longer matters. All I know is that staring at a blank page, or trying to come up with something new or fresh or funny or meaningful on this blog just fills me with pain and frustration. When I do manage to work my way through my fog to write a piece, I wonder if anyone other than my family and my friends read it.

Then again, I’ve been wondering lots of things. Does it make sense to write for a site that charges me $8.95 a month, when I can bang out a freelance technical article for fifteen bucks in an hour? Does it make emotional sense for me to invest so much energy in writing essays while neglecting my true love, fiction? Does it make sense to pay $8.95 for this poorly conceived, not widely read thing, when I’m in so much credit-card debt? Shouldn’t I at least be trying to write what I enjoy or, if I no longer enjoy writing, get out of it and find something I can love, before I get too much further behind in life? Is the fact that I’m constantly plugged into the world, in part to find fodder for the blog, a healthy lifestyle choice for me?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Lately, I haven’t known exactly what makes me happy, or what might make me happy. I do know this: Despite the tears in my eyes as I write this, I am grateful, so deeply grateful, to all the readers who have found their way to Quiet Bubble. For five years, this blog has allowed me a forum for expressing myself publicly, and has provided a platform for conversation, argument, and new friendships. I would never have met gorjus and Professor Fury, or Darren Hughes, or Girish Shambu, or Michael S. Smith without it. I would never have received emails from Daniel Mendelsohn, Laura Demanski, Terry Teachout, Matt Zoller Seitz, or any other critics that I admire without having had the courage to face the world as Quiet Bubble throughout the years. I wouldn’t have attended the Toronto Film Festival, or even known what it was, without this blog’s presence. I cherish every relationship and stray thought that this blog has fostered.

And, once again despite my tears, I’m proud of what I’ve done here. In Report on Myself, Grégoire Bouillier wrote something to the effect that he didn’t want to exist in the world; rather, he wanted to make a world exist. I’ve brought that philosophy to this blog, filling it with links to sites and articles and art that I love, making oddball juxtapositions just because I liked them, writing about whatever interested me that day, creating a melange of connections that I—and only I—would have brought together. Quiet Bubble may not ever have been widely read but it was, warts and all, mine.

Then again, no blog exists in a vacuum. In a comment to a post, I once wrote the following:

…One thing I’ve been arguing for a while now is that a blog isn’t a journal, exactly, in that journals & diaries are specifically not intended for public consumption and/or springboards for public discourse. For example, my diary—if I kept one—wouldn’t have comments such as yours in the margins, nor would other journal writers be able to so readily direct commentators to it. All of the famous journals—Goncourt, Thoreau, Pepys, etc.—were published and accessible to an audience only after the writers’ deaths….

To me, blogs combine, ideally, a lot of different types of writing: memoir, criticism, note-taking, daydreaming in written form (verbal doodle), sustained essay. But the fact that they are publicly consumed, and that the audience can engage with the blog and became part of its process, means that a blog ain’t quite a journal. Also, no straightforward journal could so easily incorporate audiovisual materials from other sources as a blog can. I’ve been doing this for 5 years, and I still don’t know what it is, but it’s not just a journal.

So, to my mind, it’s not quite accurate to say that, here, I got to make a little world and watch it run. Rather, for five years, we’ve been doing it together. Anyone who has visited this site has helped in the process of creating and establishing Quiet Bubble. That means more to me than I can say.

But there are other little worlds for me to create, and other new adventures and magic spells to create within them. Wish me luck, and God bless you.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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18 Responses to Goodnight, Quiet Bubble

  1. Michael says:

    Walter, I read your post with a great deal of sympathy and, despite some sadness in learning that things will come to an end (at least for now), I understand your reasons. To me, Quiet Bubble was a beacon, a lighthouse in a storm. As blogs proliferated in the last five years, and as I’ve visited many, forgotten about some, and become fiercely loyal to others (including yours), I’ve always looked forward to your posts — and have read just about everything you’ve written. It won’t be easy to think of my weekly reading without updates at Quiet Bubble, but, then, I’m definitely grateful for the five years you put it in here. I’ve learned much, and I have to say that I’m most grateful for your friendship, your camaraderie, and the refreshing perspective you’ve brought to a variety of subjects. I wish you luck in new ventures, and if you decide at some point to return to blogging, I guarantee that you I’ll be reading.

  2. Walter, I’ve enjoyed your work here tremendously and have been a constant lurker (and occasional commenter). You have an extraordinary voice — eloquent but measured, emotional but not sentimental. Get started on that fiction ASAP — just write about whatever for a half-hour a day, it doesn’t matter what, it’s calisthenics — then build up to those great works I know you have in you. And do let me know what you produce. I’ll be excited to read it.
    Much love,
    Matt

  3. Lurker numero 2 here…
    I always appreciated your single-minded voice in the blogosphere, Walter, coupled with the fact that you knew as much about comics as you did about movies. The reasons you state for quitting make total sense to me (eventhough keeping a blog today doesn’t need to cost money). Does this mean you’re getting a little closer to that Nighthawks style piece you were thinking about doing? Well, whatever it’s going to be, I’ll be looking out for it. Be sure to keep me in the loop. And keep in touch!
    All the best,
    Peet

  4. Susan T. says:

    QB, I look forward to reading your fiction, although I will miss the blog a lot. Matt Zoller Seitz said it well above:”eloquent but measured, emotional but not sentimental.” A wonderful place on the Web.
    Hope to meet you in Jackson one of these days!

  5. Darren says:

    Congrats for lasting as long as you did, Walter! I mean that. There’s no rules for blogging — or, if there are, we’re the ones making them — and there’s certainly no tradition against which we should judge ourselves. I’m going to continue paying the annual cost of Long Pauses because I want to keep the name and the archive, but I’m also planning to shutter this particular iteration of my blog. I have no idea what will replace it, but something probably will. Eventually.
    Think of Quiet Bubble as a document of one particular phase of your life and be proud of what you’ve written. Who cares how many people read it? What matters is that those of us who have done so loyally have taken great pleasure from it and have had a chance to make a friend in the process.
    Best of luck, Walter. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

  6. Chris Guider says:

    Very sorry to see this coming to an end, although I applaud your decision to devote more time to fiction. Keep carrying the torch, mon frere.

  7. C says:

    Nothing but love for you and appreciation for your work here, Walter. It has been a good run. I look forward to your next endeavor! Which in the short term could be dinner sometime soon with Bella and me? It is the best time of year to eat on my back patio.

  8. ernesto says:

    I’ve been stopping in almost daily, and will miss the blog very much. It’s been a great way to check in with you and see what’s got you excited. I feel that it’s helped me to know you better, and that we are better friends now than five years ago. Like most here, I’m excited for the fiction to come. Good luck.

  9. Andy says:

    Like Darren, I don’t necessarily think that the decision to stopper a blog is a concession of failure, especially in a case like this one where you have a pretty clear idea of what you want to be doing instead. Sometimes it’s just time to move on to something new. If/when you start blogging again elsewhere, please remember to post a link to your new home here! Good luck!

  10. Girish says:

    Walter, yours and Darren’s were among the first blogs I ever read — blogs that opened my eyes to a whole new world, and (literally) changed my life. Thank you for everything I’ve learned and enjoyed at Quiet Bubble. My very warmest wishes to you and to your writing life to come.

  11. Dan Green says:

    I too have been mostly a lurker here for the past five years, but I found an ally of sorts in our shared admiration of Stephen Dixon. I hold out hope you will return.

  12. LMc says:

    I’ll miss QB a great deal: it’s been so interesting to read and find out about so many things that are new to this old dinosaur. But I completely understand your decision and look forward to whatever comes next. The very best of luck with all of it.

  13. Steve Pick says:

    Walter, I will very much miss your eloquent voice, your fascinating and eternally fresh viewpoints, and the many insights you’ve given me into movies, comics, books, and music over the last few years. There are thousands of blogs out there, but I can truthfully say I’ve never seen one that I enjoyed as much or for as long as this one. Good luck with whatever you do, and if you do find a way to archive this stuff for free, let us know and keep us updated when you publish some fiction!

  14. llws says:

    Thank you, friend.

  15. Wax Banks says:

    “…to writing, to the idea that I advanced just prior […] about not believing anything that you think about writing, when you’re not actually writing. The reason that I would ask you to adhere to that maxim – rigorously, absolutely – is that absent action, all animals are sad. And whenever you think about writing, when you are not writing, you’re going to be sad.
    “Now, when I say sad, that’s an imprecise term. Let me expand what I mean under the umbrella of sadness.
    “You are going to feel inadequate. You are going to feel untalented. You are going to feel incompetent. You’re going to apply whatever set of terms were used when you were first living into an idea of structured behavior by whoever was telling you what the rules of the game were. It’s, it’s, it’s crucially important to understand that the impulse to write, uh, is, uh, if we’re – y’know, don’t head for the doors if I use some spiritual terms because they’re just, first of all they’re just words, but beyond that, y’know, I can, we can all use psychological terms – but the impulse to write is a reaching out to God.” –David Milch
    Follow the lines going south, friend. See you sometime.
    –wally

  16. Walter, man. I’m so sorry to hear this. Please come back soon. And best of luck sorting everything out.

  17. dad says:

    i too will miss qb. good luck in all your future writings. when things are dark, there are always brighter sides; keep your spirit high and head up. i’ve very proud of you and look forward to your future accomplishments. you’ve been blessed with great gifts. open your eyes and mind. wb sr.

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