Saturday, December 22, 2012

Off the map

Fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition this morning about how the tradition of maps and mapmaking (like so much in our lives) has been obliterated by digital technology. The most poignant passage:

...Each of us now stands as an individual at the center of our own map worlds. On our computers and phones, we plot a route not from A to B but from ourselves ("Allow current location") to anywhere of our choosing. Technology has enabled us to forget all about way-finding and geography. This is some change, and some loss.

The great part of each of us being in the center of our own personal map - and by extension, the center of the universe - is that it's easy to find wherever we're going. The terrible part is that it's becoming more and more difficult to find ourselves.

Over the past year, I've struggled greatly with that very problem. My absence from this blog is representative of that. It's not enough to say I'm sorry to my partner, John Lofflin, who has plugged along without me and continues to pump out some of the best writing I've ever read. But my sincerest apology is what I can provide. I'm sorry, John.

Twenty-twelve has been an unusual year for me. It's been terrific because I was given the gift of a nephew, who I cherish. It's been difficult because I've struggled at work to find my way. It's been tiresome most of all, and that has led me to problems on the creative side.

My work is mentally taxing, more so this year than ever before. When I get home, I feel like doing nothing but sitting in my easy chair, watching TV and reading a book. As a writer, I continually disappointed myself for not having the energy or the motivation to write (my lack of writing was not limited to this blog; I haven't written anything significant for months).

Part of the problem may have been burnout. Last year, I completed a year-long blog project where I created an original post every single day. It was exhilarating and exhausting. But when the year was over and the project came to an end, I no longer had the desire to write, and the motivation of seeing a project through to conclusion was gone.

Although my typing fingers have atrophied, my mind continues to churn. During the past year, I've done a lot of thinking, a lot of soul-searching, and I think I'm closer to finding myself.

I will start writing again, both here and elsewhere. And I also have a new tool to do so, courtesy of my wife Christmas present to me this year: a Google Chromebook. Now, if I don't feel like going to my home office when I get home from my real office and choose to plop down in front of the television, I can grab the Chromebook and write away.

My last major writing project was a first-person blog almost completely about myself. I'm tired of that subject now and I'm going focus on something else. I'm going to write fiction again in 2013.

And I will also write more on this blog. Let's aim for once a week.

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