Gone Missing

I miss the conversations that once took place here.  Perhaps it’s my fault for failing to post thought-provoking pieces.  Whatever the reason, I miss the arguments, the discussions, the assertions that require a response.  I miss being challenged to look at things from a different perspective.  I miss the epiphanies of finally understanding someone else’s point of view and wondering how I could have missed it from the start.

But, to be honest, I know why I’m missing those conversations.  They take work.  My work.  They require me to offer something that merits someone else’s time and attention.  And I’ve been lazy, at least with respect to this site.  I’ve spent my time elsewhere.  But not all of my time; I’ve had time I could have spent here and simply chose not to, out of my natural resistance to the expenditure of effort.

It’s that same slothfulness that has kept me off the trails and out of the gym.  Like failing to write much of merit has left me missing conversations, failing to exercise has left me missing the old stamina and the ability to more easily button my pants.

I promised I would not allow myself to indulge my tendency toward indolence.  But I have done it.

Now that I’ve publicly admitted my failings, I should have the wherewithal to address and correct them.  We shall see.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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11 Responses to Gone Missing

  1. jserolf says:

    Reading this piece again, and thinking how it hums with my own feelings these days. The artist must remain pure to the craft. That’s the lesson of Kafka and Hamsun. I confess to being indolent and simple and too long feeling sorry for myself, as if some Simon had asked to bear the cross, and I said “no. This is mine.” Now somehow this cross seems to have worn off my back, cracked and rotted, it went light and then fell off — like an old wart.

    Admittedly, I grade too many essays, and so when I break away I want something cheap and pointless, and so Facebook is the likely choice. Yes. I argued with it for a while. I fought against it. I even left it, but in the end to come back and rethink its place, my place, and then the blogs and over those who remain pure to their craft………must run to the college…talk later…


  2. Trisha says:

    Thank you, John.

  3. Trisha, I never find anything but good thoughts and good wishes in your comments. I appreciate them.

  4. Trisha says:

    John, I thought I was lifting your spirit here! As Juan pointed out, it would appear that I unintentionally missed the mark :(. Hope you understood my two posts to you, my best thoughts were there…

  5. First, Juan: that is some fine music! Thank you. Now, as for blogs and self-publishing and the changes taking place in the publishing world…it is a monstrously strange environment. I attended a meeting of a local writing club a couple of weeks ago, at which a romance novelist spoke about developing relationships in stories to engage the reader. I do not do romance novels; I don’t even like the idea of them. But I listened to her speak and learned quite a bit from her. One of the interesting things I learned from her is this:

    Her romance novels (she has written 100+!) have a shelf-life, in paperback, of one month. One Month! After that, they are taken off the shelves, the covers ripped from them, and they are sent back to the publishing house, where presumably the paper is then sent of for recycling. Today, though, they remain available as e-books for what amounts to all time. People can read them on their Kindles or whatnot, forever. I was stunned by that.

    Something else I was told by someone who purports to know is that self-published books far outnumber traditionally published books today. I attended another program at which a local mystery writer, who has published 10 novels and has 4 or 5 more in the planning stages, discussed how his first few novels were published by a local publishing house. When the owners got too old and tired to continue, they gave him all the original files and permission to move ahead on his own. He is doing that. And he’s starting his own publishing company, both for his own novels and other books that he accepts from other authors. He’s doing it online, using a “print-on-demand” website for authors; the site also takes electronic books and makes them available on Amazon, etc.

    It is a rapidly changing world!

    The fact of the matter is, back to my blog, I am writing it for myself, mostly. I write for practice, I write to ventilate, I write to exercise my mind. But I also write in the hope someone will read what I write and, I hope, like it. But I also want to use it as a means to engage and to get into conversations. I like conversations. Good, meaty, potentially thought-provoking or mind-altering conversations.

    My next post, aside from my Thoughts for the Day, will be the beginning (or at least what I’ve done so far) of a novel I have in mind. I have many others. And of course I have in mind extracting the rare gems from what I have written over the years, marrying those few together in some fashion, and publishing some meaningful nonfiction…essays and the like.

    My fingers are aching to explore the keyboard in ways I’ve not done in a long while. I hope this new fire in the belly lasts.

    The writers club, incidentally, has a critique group (several, as I understand it); I have sent some of my stuff off for critique and have received submissions from about 7 others. We meet next week to discuss and critique and encourage one another. I don’t know the people yet, at least not more than in passing. It will be interesting

    Watch this space tomorrow or the next day for another snippet of fiction.

  6. Trisha says:

    Great comment, Juan, except for a few notes that I disagree with. The video on the other hand, was most moving! Really liked that!!

  7. juan says:

    Well said, Trisha. I read John’s posts almost daily, too.

    But, there is also an etiquette to posting, me thinks. Sometimes, for example, me don’t post because me don’t want to appear as a sycophant of John. LOL! For example, if me posts to John, does that make John look like I’m the only one reading his posts, and therefore indirectly adding some insult to him? These thoughts often occur to the “blog-poster.” You have to appreciate the blogger’s point of view.

    There’s a whole psychology to posting when you really….really….appreciate it for its value. I still think about this.

    On another note, you must have already realized that the “world of publishing” is flooded. All are publishing these days. Even some of the latest best-sellers were the result of blogs and not that of the editorial work from publishing companies. They say, for example, that Jack Kerouac’s classic “ON THE ROAD” was jackshit, until re-managed by Malcolm Cowley.

    In other words, the World of Vanity Press is nearly in complete take over. I really think we are operating these days in some real frontiering fashion. YOU ARE PART OF THAT, Brother!

    My own X-wife, who left her job as a College Dean to write, complained to me. “I am so despondent,” she wrote, “because no one seems to be reading my blog.” That told me that blog is personal!

    See http://fiveyearstenmonths.com/author/sapphoaviva/

    She is afraid that she will never achieve her goal of becoming a successful, possibly wealthy publishing writer.

    Did you know that I met her in a blog? 😉

    Who knows the million reasons why writers write?…..”or where readers and writers go!”

    The point is that you are frontiering, John. Blogging is still relatively new, and me thinks that blogging has not completely evolved — partly because FB is on the focus right now. Blogging has a space. So, you have to maintain your sight — which is wonderful, though critically speaking, you need more pics, me thinks! On FB, I used to love your pics of lunches.

    You know what’s interesting? That blogs have become something of incidental research for me, because blogs are more local, hence, reflecting local concerns.

    The problem is that there is not a system in place for the organization of blogs — blogs that etch themselves out like nomadic tents, i.e. JohnSwinburn.com and a myriad of others.

    We are still, still, still, still,still, still, still, still working in Babylon!


  8. Trisha says:

    Oh, de nada, John! Oh, I don’t know about that, though. You’ve written at length, or a brief paragraph, to a one liner, which all at one time or another brought on discussion, thoughts, opinions and debates, which in-turn can naturally give more scope to your original post, and tentacles outward, though I cannot recall the variating themes involved at this moment. I do feel you’re very disciplined to writing here daily, no matter what. Don’t think lazy people do that, do they?

    Nevertheless, let’s us see which new subjects your mind will conjure up in the near future. I look forward to that! 🙂

  9. Trisha, it’s not you who has forgotten me, it’s me who has forgotten I need to post more than “thoughts of the day” to warrant discussions! But thank you for your words; you are very kind.

  10. Trisha says:

    *reflections* not reflects…

  11. Trisha says:

    John, I still continue to read all your posts, for you thoughts, opinions, and reflects are always interesting to this one. I’ve wanted to comment, but with school out my schedule with my #1 favor son have been sporadic, up in the air, and suddenly I’m out the door playing chauffeur all over town on a moments notice! Lets also add, when we are “en casa”, the World Cup has proven time consuming, to say the least! Glad to say only the finale is left to see.

    I will finally be getting a break from this madness tomorrow evening, for he will be off on a week long junket out to Acapulco, and that is when I can finally resume here on your blog! You shall be hearing from me shortly, you have not been forgotten! 🙂

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