I've had the tab open in my browser for almost a week now: Bon Stewart's final blog entry at cribchronicles.com. She's opted to shutter the blog. “there really isn’t anything else to say, anymore,” she writes, "and i realized that that i do not know what to do with this voice."
I should note: keeping a tab open for me means I haven't resolved what to do or say or think about a story, but I know I have to say or do or think something. As I've been weighing recently re-opening a blog that I shuttered years ago, one in which I too chronicled death, dying and the "dust in my mouth" from all of it, Bon's decision to "kill" that voice gives me pause.
Like Bon's cribchronicles, my earlier blog was the first place I wrote at length online. In those blog posts, I found a community of others who were experiencing similar struggles: the struggles of dissertating, of dealing with a partner dying of cancer, of parenting in the midst of all of it. I found a community in blogging (many of those who read that blog I consider my dear, dear friends even if we've never actually met in person); I found solace in writing.
And I found my digital identity -- one of them, at least. But for reasons that may be similar in some respect to Bon's, I had to stop writing there. I haven't updated it since 2009; I only posted once that year. I only posted once in 2008. I wrote 192 entries in 2006, and 253 in 2005. I had to stop writing; I had to heal.
I recently purchased the domain that's closest to that old screen- and blog name. I've been thinking I'll redirect the old blog URL there, then make a new subdirectory for new writing there -- it's a bit like what Bon has done with cribchronicles.com and theory.cribchronicles.com.
It's a way -- technologically, mentally -- to split the past and the present, but to recognize that they're still connected. That chapter of my life is closed. The blog was shuttered for a reason. And yet all the stories and all the "me" that's there affects who I am today. I write with a new voice now.
All these considerations are complicated, of course, by the fact that that blog was pseudonymous, and that part of the new voice I now have online is here and on Hack Education. I'm not sure how I feel about "outing" that old identity, in part because I was so angry then, the writing so raw. If I start writing on the site again, can I really just return to that old, partially disguised identity? I am far less fearful these days about speaking my mind. That old voice is gone.
So maybe I'll just leave the blog closed and untouched. It's hard to know whether re-opening it re-opens wounds. I appreciate that Bon "killed" her blog, and that she can now offer a post-mortem. I've had years of distance on all this now, which is what makes the desire to resurface all of this so fascinating and, frankly, so awful.
Photo credits: Allan Engelhardt