I know it's early days, but it still feels strange being back.
Yes, yes, I know I promised to lay off this topic for a while. It's like a drug, ok? Just read on.
I look at this blog and it feels ... surreal. Like something I know from a dream. I scroll through my feed-list, and there are some names and blogs I don't recognise. At all. I can't remember why they had been added on, where I first discovered them, what the connections were. And this is me, proud of remembering arcane bits of trivia, and small details of long-ago encounters.
It's unnerving, and I wonder if it's to do with the ephemeral nature of blogs and our own innate needs of wanting to know people. When you don't know much about the people you read, you inadvertently begin to create their images in your imagination-mould. And so I keep finding myself going through old comments, on this blog and others, to try and find those links again and re-build the identities of those who (I think) I used to know. I find myself reading old posts, going through old comments, slowly re-creating a sense of the little world I used to inhabit.
It feels so strange. Especially when most of the voices are silent, when so many of the blogs have been shut down or locked off. I keep trying to remember their posts while cursing myself for not saving the ones I liked. I think of all the ideas and projects people used to talk of, or suggest to each other. It all feels vaguely ghostly, like flashbacks of a previous life.
I keep thinking of cycles - why and how we blogged, how I happened across so many after they had established blogentities and so many came across me after I had, why we stopped when we did, whether anybody will come back like I have.
I keep wondering why I feel so blue about this. I knew it was inescapable that I would, however peripherally, come to know some people through the blog. And I know I deliberately kept my distance (and still am). And I know this means I can only conjecture about their lives and their (possible) writing now. So why am I filled with so much blehness when scrolling down this long list of defunct blogs and silent voices? Why am I upset that so many have faded away, little by little, pulled away by new writing and new jobs and new cities and new babies and old health woes (and yes, perhaps because they had voiced all they had to, or were done with the experiment of blogging)? After all, if I really want, all I need to do is reach out to those who I know know these others, and find out what they have been upto. Simple enough.
I guess it's mostly because of the comments. The banter. The bad puns. The in-jokes. The cross-post references. The encouragements. The suggestions. The demands.
The ... community.
I keep coming back to that word. People - and blogs - can't really exist in a vacuum. Especially when you don't really promote yourself much, and have a few (dozen) readers, and only follow a few dozen blogs yourself. You begin to understand the voices better, look to them for new material, turn to them for their opinions. You carve out your own little friendly corner of the interweb. And when the voices go away, well, it all goes away*.
I guess the solution is to reach out anew. Find new blogs to read, or discover old ones still going strong. Comment, make new blogbuddies, remain invigorated. Maybe, maybe. But one can also try and become a rallying point for others to draw hope from (however infrequently). A point where the old faithful can occasionally congregate and swap notes and go away smiling again. And having drawn such hope myself from those who've kept going in these past years, I guess it's time to relieve their burden a bit. Time to keep blogging away and hope to lure the quiet(ened) ones back, and encourage the existing voices to not stop.
So I won't call out KM, Phanty, Flaffy, Falsie, Pri, Scout, OTP, Brinda, The Punkster, Veena, Ludwig, BM, Bikerdude, Baby V, and the others. Because right now I gotta give back. So, go ahead, sit back and just read. But maybe, someday, if you feel like piping up, that'd be just splendid (splendid I say!). Who knows, you may even get the others talking and writing again.
Also, I miss you guys. Wherever you are.
* I'd love for somebody to chart the activity levels and subsequent decline of blogs compared to those of their peers.