Sunday, 9 June 2019

To Blog, or Not To Blog

I have been a regular blogger now for a few years and have racked up more than 300 of them in addition to my professional practice as a reviewer, essayist and curator.  Facebook has also taken up some of my attention and has been a good way of reaching out to readers.  The temptation with Facebook is that it can be done in a few minutes.  It is the graffiti of communication, a post-it-note or abbreviated means of expression.  It does not encourage considered thought or a developed argument.  It does not encourage responsible thinking and writing.  But it can pack a wallop with a stinging after effect.  That makes it expensive mind-candy.

Tenured academics have the perk of sabbaticals to feed their research and keep the creative engines running.  I envy that situation, so I decided to take some time off from regular blogging and do some dedicated reading.  Furthermore, I chose to read fiction and poetry rather than factual prose.  I became more selective about which assignments to accept.  Now this was real luxury.

It is often said that there are usually two solutions to any problem: time and money.  I believe that time is more desirable than money.  If I am considering whether to accept an assignment or pursue a professional project, I will ask myself the following question.  "Do I want to spend my time thinking and researching this topic or artist?"  I rarely give second thought to the writer's fee.
Snagged for only $6 at Broken Books.

Hopefully, this is a matter of quality over quantity.  Oddly enough, life is too short–the quantity of days–to sacrifice quality.  Of course, practicality determines that we need a balance between the two.  I seldom take a walk without a goal or destination in mind.  Maybe it is the result of working to a deadline for the majority of my life.

Part of what sparked this phase of life or attempt to switch gears was a question posed by a friend.  She said, "what do you like to do for fun?"  I was stymied.  Dancing would have been my usual response but I have been sidelined with a persistent injury.  Activities like theatre, cinema and other cultural pursuits are for me professional endeavours.  Had I forgotten how to play?

I am an empty-nester and in my 60s.  What would I do in my so-called retirement years?  A second career seemed unlikely.  Serious travel was too expensive.  I have champagne taste and a beer budget.  My leisure time is dotted with thrift shops, second-hand bookstores and free lectures.  Perhaps I should have followed that sarcastic philosophy professor's career advice and "open a brothel."