A blog without content is like a car during lockdown: parked week after week in the garage, seeing no action but from the mice running in and out its grille to store kernels of dog food in a thick layer on the engine filter. (Thanks to JL for this scenario.)
The car waits, knowing its purpose—to take people places … or, one could say, to facilitate human life—and losing track of how many changes of season, now, it has been merely the mice’s enormous storage cupboard.
For the humans, living these days within the walls of the house, the car is a stand-in for a shiny, possible future, when there will be, once again, somewhere to go. And even though that’s not now, and we don’t know when it will be, we believe that it will be.
(And there’s a possible story: What if this scenario is wrong? What if the machines and the animals are the only survivors of some human-killing disaster, and no one ever arrives to tell the car what’s happened to the people?)
Equally, the blog. Even though no one’s posting, the author is at the desk, writing and evolving, living a complex emotional life and feeling productive. The blog’s purpose is to carry news from the author to a network of connected humans. It holds space for a shiny, intended future of words and communication and publication and joy.
(And here’s a possible story: What if this scenario is wrong? What if, as will happen one day, the author has ended, with no warning to self or to readers, with no final transmission, no wise wrap-up or at the very least a “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!”? What space does the blog hold then, and what do the words do, stored in their online cupboard for eternity?)
Please, don’t start worrying. Honestly, I’m not feeling blue. Rather, I’m inspired, yet the stories I see as compelling often unfold, now, into a post-apocalyptic perspective. As they do for many folks, surely.
Ellen’s purpose is to explore the intricacies of being human. Like the car, I do best when I have one job. When I’m focused on one project at a time in each category. So, at the moment, writing = novel.
Yet with me immersed in the novel, my short stories and poems sit in my computer’s memory, like a collection of old kibble stored in an unused boot. This seems like a waste of letters, spaces, and punctuation.
So, I’m going to experiment.
I’m dedicating a day each week to short fiction or poetry, with a monthly goal of producing something in a category other than the novel. So far, from January to October of 2021, I’ve sent out fourteen pieces to various journals, and had four of them published either online or in print publications. I’d like to keep that effort steady for the next 14 months, and I’ve set goals and found partners to help me do it.
If it works out, I’ll tell you about it.
Here’s to our shiny future.