I have had a file on my computer since 2001 entitled “I am beginning to write a novel.” It starts like this:
I am beginning to write a novel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Just to begin something with no end in sight. To follow some path until it comes to an end, and then look back on where I’ve been. It won’t be a screenplay, or a play, although I’ve wanted to try my hand at those, too. The forms would be too constricting, I think, for me right now. I just want to get out there and run.
Of course, I’ve had to transfer this file from computer to computer in the almost-decade since I started writing it. It began as a sort of scratch pad for my thoughts during a period of unemployment (when I actually thought of trying to write a novel) and I’ve added to it on and off ever since. Well, truthfully, the last time I wrote in it was 2005, but I opened it up again today and added a whole bunch of new stuff.
When I first started this blog in 2000, I expected that I’d be able to use it as a sort of semi-public diary. I wanted to explore my thoughts about important issues like faith, politics, work, relationships. But it hasn’t really worked out that way. Sadly, along with many others, I’ve begun to contract my onine self just a bit over the past few years. I’ve talked a little bit about it here, this fragmentation of the blogging self into the personal and the professional, for instance. And now there are microblogging services like Twitter and self-contained social networks like Facebook. Between all of them, some have said, they’ve killed the personal blog.
I wish I could use this space to air out my thoughts a bit more, but I realize that it’s probably not going to happen again. In the meantime, I have a text file on my computer called “I am beginning to write a novel.” It’s becoming a novel, alright (currently at almost 60,000 words!). Except it’s where I tell the truth.