The new baby is beautiful. My sister is happy. We are all tired.
Sometimes it's tempting to think of daylogs as a private journal. They aren't. Nothing on the web is private. And I posted something earlier that was very personal. And damned if it didn't get smacked down.
And now I think it's time I started keeping the important things to myself.
See, I had the mistaken idea that Everything 2 was a good place to vent my frustrations, share some funny stuff, work out some rough edges. But it isn't. Not anymore.
When I first came here in 2000, this place wasn't much more than an intarweb outpost, a gathering of writers who had found a virtual place to set a spell and visit a little bit. It was like a front porch in a sleepy Southern town. We cautiously shared our words, then our feelings. Then many of us moved on to deeper things. I made many actual friends through my words, then through my feelings. For that I'll be eternally grateful.
But it's a different world now than it was in 2000, isn't it? September 11, a world at war, an increasingly (desperately? reflexively? self-protectively?) ironic population. We're all so very jaded, so very worldly. So very wired. We've seen it all, done it all, felt it all - even if we've only done it virtually. Everything's been done, and no one is a beautiful and unique snowflake, thanks so much.
It's so easy to dismiss personal stories. It's so easy to look back on some of the early writeups here with condescension. I saw a derisive comment in the catbox not long ago about one of stand/alone/bitch's old nodes: How incredibly emo!
Well, yeah. And aren't you just the sophisticated one?
If there's one single thing I've learned in 36 years, it's this: I have nothing to offer but pieces of myself. That's it. Ta-DA! I'm not a fiction writer, I'm a lousy poet, and I'm far too lazy to research squat.
E2 used to be a place to deposit some of those pieces, sort of a lovely and glittering bank where the interest you drew on sharing your experiences included comradeship, compassion, and kindness.
And if there's one single thing I've learned about E2 over the past year, it's this: there was a time when personal stories - yeah, you heard me: the "emo" kind - were welcomed without the sting of irony and the false patina of unearned worldliness. And that time is over, just as surely as the world before September 11 is over.
I can't speak for all of us, the ones who have been here since close to the beginning. But I think the numbers speak for themselves. People - the people whose contributions touched lives and made some sort of difference - are simply leaving. They're doing it quietly, but they're picking up their toys and they're leaving this sandbox.
Some of the braver ones are posting fiction, or "fictionalized" parts of their lives. (Gotta keep things entertaining! Make 'em laugh!)
The ones who worship facts and figures have headed to Wiki. (That's really where the action is; let's not fool ourselves with the precious notion of "factuals".)
They're going to places like livejournal, where they can share their lives and experiences with people who don't require giant dollops of wit, self-conscious irony, or a small forest of footnotes to make the truth go down more smoothly. They're tired of having to be "on" all the time. They're tired of tap dancing, weary of having to don their writerly hat for every blessed thing they post here.
Some of the best ones have even branched out to "real" writing: plays, journalism, novels. Reaching for the brass ring of Publication, God bless 'em all.
And some of them, like me, have just gone back to the way things were before this bizarre internet thing ever happened - to private clothbound journals, to an audience of one. We never had "literary aspirations" beyond simply sharing ourselves, and we're tired of being slapped around the playground for not having the newest, shiniest toys.
Again, I can't speak for all of the departed, the fled, the gone. I can only speak for myself, and I can only say this: I won't stop visiting, but E2 has become to me what New York City always was. It's a place to visit - only a place to visit - not a place to put down roots. It's become callous and unfriendly to new noders, to old noders, to stories which were always, always GTKY and which were what brought most of us here in the first place.
First I felt banished to the daylogs. I felt ashamed, as though the things I had to write about - my own life, my own memories and experiences - were simply not important enough or good enough to pollute the precious nodegel. I settled into this little ghetto of daylogs - these tiny, infinitely precious, undervalued snippets of actual lives and actual people.
But god damn, people. It's so hard to write something that comes from your guts, something ugly and visceral and important to you - and have it "voted on" - negatively! - by a pack of strangers.
Listen: it isn't your fault that you're strangers. A bare few of you aren't. But most of the people who have shared an actual meal with me, who have talked me through an agonizing night on IRC or the telephone, who know me in ways less abstract than through this glass box...most of those people are gone.
Some have outgrown this place. Others, like myself, have felt crowded out by the clamor for facts and snark, felt worn down by level grinding, felt like hamsters on a treadmill going nowhere at all. And I'm questioning the wisdom of sharing things with people who will not count them precious.
Many of us - look back now and you'll find so many of us - tried to share ourselves, to bare ourselves, to touch and be touched in this strange and wonderful place called E2. But through no fault of its own, it's changed. The waters are deeper and colder, its inhabitants more predatory than friendly. Underlying all of it is a sick sort of popularity contest that I won't even get into.
Everything changes. And Everything 2 changes. Change is the only constant; it's the way of the world, which itself is changing more rapidly than I can fathom.
I need peace and a place to write, and I need a kind reader. This is no longer the place to find any of those things.
Good night and good luck. I love a lot of you, and you know who you are. It's important to me to say a soft goodbye, because closure is good and I've had damned little of it in my life lately. Every important relationship deserves either meaningful communication or compassionate closure, and E2 has been very important to me for a long time now.
So. I'm not gonna asamoth or migrate to livejournal or huff around like some kind of princess. I'm just telling you why I'm withdrawing my emotional deposit here. Maybe it's of interest to a few of you.
Many, many of you touched me. If you did, I guarantee you that you didn't do it with factuals. I could give two shits about some string of footnoted facts I can find on google in .02 seconds flat. Sorry.
Nope. You did it by uncovering something of yourself and sharing it with me. With all of us. You did it with something small or something cataclysmic, with a paragraph or a manifesto - but you did it with truth and grit and a solid adherence to the one good thing about being a writer: you embedded yourself in your words. Some of you - the ones who are hardier than I am - are still doing it. This fallen comrade salutes you wearily from her shield.
You won't ever get rid of me entirely, not until you pry my bandwidth from my cold, dead fingers. I'll lurk, I'll vote, I'll snark in the catbox every now and then. Maybe I'll even pop in occasionally with a "factual" or two. It's always a kick to research something random and post it somewhere.
And don't worry your pointy little head, malicious softlinker-to-be! I won't let the door hit my ass on the way out! But it's just too sucky and painful to have bits and shards of my actual life downvoted, criticized, and judged. It hurts too much, and I've had a year full of enough booboos for a lifetime. As one of my (fled) friends here puts it: no more stupid, i am full.
I'm just not strong enough to keep swimming in this particular ocean.
It's time for me to see if I can scare up another audience. Cheers.