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.