Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I launched this li’l site on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, enthusiasm for, offense at, and/or detailed nitpicking of various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollowness, geek lifestyles, food, and Deep Thoughts. MCC has also served as a digital scrapbook for our annual road trips, entertainment conventions, and other modest travels. It’s a general repository for any other content that strikes my fancy and inspires thoughts more than one tweet long.
Basically it’s me me me me me, plus special appearances and other invaluable contributions from Anne, my wife of 16 years and #1 fan. When the most tedious entries yield the poorest traffic figures, she still thinks I’m cool.
This week marked MCC’s ninth anniversary. This entry happens to be #2,300. That’s nine years and 2,300 entries spent typing and typing and typing and typing and typing and typing and typing and sometimes even thinking while typing. For the first fourteen months I posted every single day without fail, exactly as bloggers are advised to do by ten million blogs about blogging, all written by bloggers who seem to blog only about blogging and no other topic. My workhorse streak ended one night in June 2013 when our internet conked out for several hours and I had no choice but to delay part one of my two-part Man of Steel review to the next day. I had been on a roll and it was upsetting to slam into a brick wall created by technical difficulties beyond my control. It hurts when you take pride in ownership of a thing only to discover your ownership freedom has limitations imposed.
That frustrating experience also reminded me not all advice has to be taken and treated as immortal gospel. I’ve never posted seven days a week since then. I lost interest in the ordinary marketing “wisdom” that a blogger “must” constantly and repetitively expose pieces of themselves to get readers addicted to them. Or, when our own imaginations fail, that a blogger should unceasingly and uncritically present other people’s pieces as a curated exhibit for our own glorification — not necessarily contextualizing or offering aesthetic evaluation or contemplating beyond the surface, but just linking or pasting some things and announcing to everyone, “Here are some things I found!” And then basking in the glory of being an excellent finder of stuff and asserting with self-congratulatory bravado that this counts as writing.
Well, okay, to an extent that’s what millions of blogs add up to in the final analysis, my own included at times. It’s cool to amplify works that deserve more attention than they’re getting. Granted, amplification works better if the amplifier is placed where anyone can hear it, and if enough people stand within range. Sometimes with a low-traffic, low-interaction, low-priority blog it can feel as if your “amplifier” has all the reach and acoustics of an AM shower radio. But even the tiniest, tinniest radio counts as a broadcaster.
Over the years I’ve therefore had to redefine my parameters of what “success” means with this public-access personal journal. My brain in and of itself isn’t a highly desired internet commodity. America hasn’t faced a critical shortage of pudgy white four-eyed geeks with keyboards since the 1870s. In the grand scheme I’m a disposable, replaceable appliance. I’m a stray toaster. That doesn’t mean I can’t cook, or that I shouldn’t cook. And so I cook.
I pause to remind myself that blogging milestones such as an anniversary or a post count evenly divisible by 1,000 are supposed to be about celebration, not about candor. Candor only lures eyes and amuses passersby if it’s cranky snark aimed outward, not inward.
By mere dint of not shutting down, MCC meets my modified criteria for “success”. I enjoy writing when I don’t let external factors interfere. I’ve achieved that across nine years comprising 2,300 testimonies, anecdotes, demo reels, commentaries and screeds. It’s not a living, but for now it’s my life’s work outside of literal work.
It’s comfier than 2,300 rejection letters from every known publishing house and website.
It’s better mental exercise than 2,300 writing ideas fantasized but never realized.
It’s more fulfilling than 2,300 Facebook posts greeted by blank stares from family and friends.
It’s time better spent than orbiting around social media, sifting through threads, scrolling unto infinity in search of excuses to approve or reply to other people’s deeper thoughts and taller pedestals.
It’s more rewarding than 2,300 high-traffic viral thinkpieces buried under 230,000 replies of vitriol from roving scolds, petty lecturers, freelance mobs, pedantry addicts, drunken boors, and bored children over 21.
Its existence and persistence is my silent rebuttal whenever online citizens opine “blogging is dead” or ask each other in their sweatiest Chris Farley voice, “Remember when there used to be blogs and we blogged about stuff and then people read our blogs? That was awesome!”
So merrily I blog along. If readers tag along with me, I appreciate and love you for it. If they don’t, then hey, my wife still thinks I’m cool.