May 28, 2003





Oh, look: a new 'stake entry! But don't get too excited - it's the last one.

Yes, kids, I do believe the time has come to put this poor tired thing to bed. It's been on its last legs for quite awhile now and I've been keeping it going more from a sense of misguided duty than from any desire to keep telling my little stories. But maybe that sense of duty is part of the problem - I keep feeling like I should post entries, and that makes me feel exactly like not posting entries. This used to be fun. Now it's... well, not not-fun, but not not-drudgery either. It has become one more entry in a list of things I tend to avoid nowadays. To quote the boys in Rush, there are "Too many hands on my time" and I feel enough pressure about the things that should be done to put up with feeling pressured about things that "should" be done.

Is that clear? Probably not. It's not all that clear to me, either.

I've been ... suffering, I guess you could say, from some changes lately that I don't really understand. It's my writing that has been most affected. Aside from the occasional forced entry here, I have done virtually no writing at all for a long, long time. I noticed the computer's date-stamp on the last script file I actually worked on the other day and was stunned to see that it was 1999. That can't be right,I told myself, and maybe it's not, maybe I'm just being a doofus and panicking over the creation date rather than the last-edited date ... but maybe I'm not. Because it's been so damned long since I've actually written anything that it feels like it really could have been 1999. That's mind-boggling for me. That's a wake-up call.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm suffering from some form of writer's block. I've never really believed in that, I've always felt it was an excuse for being too lazy to park your ass in the chair and write your way out of it. Now, though... Maybe it is real. Maybe I am in its grips. There's no question that I have a tendency toward being too lazy to park my ass with any regularity, but it's become bigger than that. It's to the point where I can't park my ass. The sad fact is that everything from the top of this document down to this word right here is more writing in one continuous stream than I've done in what feels like years. I don't understand it, I certainly don't like it, and in fact I'm a little scared by it. I have to break out of this somehow.

I started this journal out of a desire to introduce some kind of structure to my writing; I thought that writing here regularly, perhaps even every day (ha!), might limber up the ol' writing muscles. And it did, sort of. I look at the sum of my output here and it's a pretty big stack of words. Not exactly disciplined, but I think there's a level of quality that went up as I got more into the rhythm of this thing - at least until I started the stumbling downward spiral to where I am now. I've done a lot of writing over the life of this journal, much of it here, but also - and more importantly - a lot of it out of this journal. It served its purpose well for awhile there.

But now... Well, now I think it's actually hurting me. For whatever reason, my keyboard avoidance is so entrenched that the thought of writing even a minor 500 work entry makes my guts clench and sends me wandering aimlessly from the office in desperate search of anything else to do. I just can't write. I don't know why. And feeling the pressure to write here is making it worse. Something has to give. I think it has to be the 'stake.

I'm not going to stop writing online but I don't think I can keep writing the way I've been writing here. I just don't seem to have it in me anymore to write the long essay-style entries that have been my style here. I think it's the prospect of the work involved in creating one of those entries that's keeping me from the keyboard. At least partly. I don't know. But I know it is part of it, so I have to eliminate it so that maybe I can start "writing" again.

I will keep writing here on the web, but in a much less intensive format. I never thought I'd do this, given my initial low opinion of the medium and how fast-food I think they are, but I'm starting up a blog. (And oh Lord, I even called it a "blog." Shoot me now. Large caliber, please.) It's the kind of la carte writing I think I'm capable of right now: light, airy, quick, simple, in-and-out. I won't have to agonize over theme and narrative flow and blah blah blah, I can just pop in little 10-word quickies and maybe get back into the rhythm of stringing a few words together. I can't believe this, but I'm actually kind of excited about it. (Shoot me now again, please.)

So that's it for the 'stake, I think. Time now to put a stake through its heart and let it rest in peace. I'll leave it online, but there will be no new entries.

Thank you to all of you who've read me over the years. I've made some fine online acquaintances through this, met a lot of great people both virtually and in meat-space, and made one very good friend. (See what you've started, Steve? I can't go on without you!) I've had a good run here. I hope you enjoyed it.

You can follow the link to my next on-line soapbox, There's Pie in the Lunchroom, but this journal is now officially ended.








8/13/97 - 4/17/03