When you want to give up your New Year’s Resolution after two weeks…

A harsh reality I have had to admit to myself: if I had the ability to write insightful, well-crafted book reviews of serious non-fiction then I would be writing for publications not just this humble blog. Sad but true, as they say, sad but true.

So yeah, I am having second thoughts on the future of CM 19 days into 2021.

One of the many reasons this blog has slowly dwindled in readership and content is that I have lost my “voice” – my sense that I have something interesting or important to say.

This is sort of the flip side of the lack of audience. The two are probably related in some in-direct way. As I posted less and less, and interacted with other lit-blogs less and less, my audience drifted away; into the world of social media and away from the world of blogs and RSS feeds.

That same social media, and the complications of life, that distract and take up precious time so that posting requires more work and commitment. At the same time, despite reading a great deal, I don’t feel the urge to post. I don’t have something I just have to put down in words and in the back of my mind is the sense that no one will read them anyway.

All this was going through my mind even as I posted my two part look at WIlliam Chatterton Williams. I had the idea to post on MLK Day, and Williams seemed like a fascinating writer with interesting things to say.

One small problem. I didn’t have anything particularly insightful to say. I didn’t take detailed notes or organize my thoughts. And I read the books this summer.

My first instinct was just to do what I have done so many times in the past and just skip it and not post. But I decided to stick to my commitment and post the reviews anyways.

I guess what I am wondering if maybe my commitment to reading serious books and writing serious reviews was asking too much of myself; a tad unrealistic. So maybe I will start with just posting on a regular basis and see where the takes us.

/navel gazing

2 Comments When you want to give up your New Year’s Resolution after two weeks…

  1. J

    Me again.
    1. I read this post, and then the two on T.C. Williams. I hope you don’t give up posting.
    But a question: now, as you age, why do you read (not read to review, but just read)?

    I find I read much more broadly now, and am willing to abandon books and articles without fear or regret. ( I still draw freedom from Pennac’s A Reader’s Bill of Rights https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/19297-reader-s-bill-of-rights-1-the-right-to-not-read)

    So In light of today’s post: a similar gap between a writer’s writings: This post of yours, and https://www.collectedmiscellany.com/2008/11/14/the-reader-versus-reviewer-conundrum/
    Two post of yours, with between them a similar eight year gap in reading, living, and thinking that Williams experienced?

    2. I noticed you’re reading some Christianity material. I don’t know if you read French, or if you know of the “Young Christian Workers” movement in post-war France, but you might enjoy a taste at an older blog post: https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/graphic-lit/mean-folk-the-story-of-a-movement .

    You’ll decide whatever you decide…but I’d hate to add you to my bookmark folder of “Dead Blogs” (I keep it to see how long they actually survive online, and to access their decaying blogrolls…)
    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed your work, and your POV on a reader’s life. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Holtsberry

      Thanks for the comment and links, will check out the Mean Folk.

      The funny thing is I have been wrestling with the same issues for such a long time. The push and pull of the internet; my obsession with finding information, with collecting books but then the frustration with not coming away with much wisdom or finding time to read or managing to write insightful reviews, etc.

      I think, normally I would just give up and move on; try to live more fully my life in the “real world” [not the the online world isn’t real necessarily but you know what I mean]. I think the problem for me is twofold: one is that it feels like a failure. I wasn’t able to discipline myself enough or focus enough to accomplish something I wanted to do. Two, it feels like disconnecting from a world I have been a part of for a long time. Giving up on blogging, and relatedly, giving up on social media or limiting my digital participation, feels like losing relationships. And in the current world in particular, that sort of severing of relationships and habits is kind of scary. It is sort of funny that this blog has a long history of such musings…

      Reply

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