November 25, 2005


Sometimes I feel silly about continually thanking my commenters for the nice things they say here, but let’s face it, I like praise as much as most people do, and bowing is good exercise – so thanks again to all who wrote about my previous post, “Things A Few People Know About Me,” and also to readers who did not comment. I’m honored to know that Yehoshua Karsh has been reading me, and I’m thrilled by his comparison of my words to kinds of music that I like. (By the way, Rabbi, I’ve often wished you allowed comments on your blog, but I can see why you wouldn’t.)

Though I knew it would be a major post for me, and I gave it a lot of care, it wasn’t as painful to write as some of you might imagine, because my fiction writing has always cut pretty deeply (although in fiction I always alter and invent, not only for self-protection and protection of others but as a point of professional pride) and because the family culture I described in the post does not inhibit such confessions. If any of you suspected that I was inspired by other bloggers’ recent personal disclosures – particularly Tamar’s and Jean’s – you were right.

That post also came at a time when I feel my blog evolving. I’m not sure how it’s evolving, and I’m interested to find out. In a couple of weeks it will be a year since I’ve started. I want to keep at it but I don’t want to stagnate. I want to keep going deeper and keep opening myself up, not out of exhibitionism but because through it I hope somehow to arrive at art, and whatever wisdom art brings. My highest priority on this blog has always been to post works of fiction, and I think that will continue. But when you write a large number of stories in a relatively short period of time, a sense of diminishing returns may set in. Every writer has certain experiences and themes that he works through again and again, and while it’s mildly interesting to see how the material is reprocessed anew each time, I am not satisfied with that. Maybe I’ll need to write fewer stories in the short term in order to write better ones in the long term. We’ll see.

I want to do less topical posting and may just eliminate it altogether. There are many bloggers who know and care a great deal more than I do about current events and history, and there’s no reason why I should try to play that game instead of my own. In the past I’ve used topical posting as filler when I didn’t have anything creative to put up. From now on if I don’t have anything creative or at least nsightful to put up, I might just not post on that day. (And in an unprecedented burst of Jewish observance, I’ve decided not to post on Saturdays, since Rabbi Karsh wouldn’t be reading then anyway.)

I’d also like to resuscitate a few types of posts that I wrote when I first started out. It’s been months since I did any of the “Reading Logs” or “Viewing Logs” or “Creative Writing” commentaries that I used to enjoy. I think those kinds of posts center me within my individual culture – the choice of reading and listening and observing in which I conceive ideas – and I hope some readers get something out of my cultural recommendations.

I’ve occasionally put haiku up here, and in the future I think I might even take the daunting step of writing longer (only slightly longer!) poetry. Concise free verse, I would imagine, since I don’t have the training to handle English prosody.

I’ve never intended this blog to be a diary, but I think I’d like to give myself permission to say more about things I do and see and hear from day to day. I always enjoy reading about others’ lives, even when humdrum, so why shouldn’t some people be interested in my humdrum life?

Looking back at the above, I see that I haven’t specified any revolutionary changes in this blog. I’m an evolutionist in politics as well as most other things, not a revolutionary. I hope incremental changes, unplanned but adaptive, will lead to worthwhile developments. Maybe the changes won’t even be noticeable to readers – maybe they’ll be changes in how I feel rather than in what I do.

But as always, I’ll be grateful to those who stop by.