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Thursday, April 07, 2016

For a Dancer

Can it really been 3 ½ years since I have contributed to this blog?  Sometimes I forget it even exists.  Such is the way of blogs.  It’s passe’ today, as much as it was de rigueur in the early oughts. I’ve been filling my time by way of social media, but it is an unsatisfying and often losing proposition.  The social media comment is a thing unto itself, part wisecrack and part thoughtful rejoinder, part sport and part warfare.  While part of modern life and quite entertaining, it makes a poor medium for long form commentary.  For one, it can be an obnoxious waste of time.  Social commentary should be short, witty and to the point.  I use it to challenge prevailing opinion and to deflate egos.  Neither are welcomed by most readers and are soon buried under an onslaught of kneejerk reactions with a shelf life measured in minutes and hours.  The golden ring of social commentary, one that has mostly eluded me, is going “viral”.  My comments are cutting, clever and brief, everything a viral comment should be.  I’m convinced, on Facebook at least, that it is more a matter of luck and timing.  I’m not giving up, but I am going to be more selective with my time.  Facebook consumes days, weeks and months of your life and as I grow older I realize there are only so many of those to go around.  Also, I miss long form commentary.  Social media is ephemeral.  Well written essays can be read months or even years later with some appreciation.  Some of it is just a snapshot of what’s on my mind or a meandering ramble like this.  I’m reading about a young diarist, Everette Ruess, from the early 1930’s.  Wikipedia describes him as “a young artist, poet and writer who explored nature including the High Sierra, California Coast and the desert”.  A vagabond and a wanderer, he disappeared in the desert at age 20, leaving only a written record of his short life.  His star burned brightly and briefly, but made a permanent impression on those who knew him or learned of him.  He was never found.  Nothing beguiles like a mystery.

When I started this blog in 2003, I hadn’t written in years.  I didn’t know then if I had it in me and I still don’t today, but some of it, I think is worthwhile.  Ultimately, I do it because it pleases me.  It certainly changed my life.  It is my written record.  These years are given me as a witness, a storyteller and to make some small difference.  Jackson Browne put it this way in one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

Into a dancer you have grown,
  from the seeds somebody else has thrown.
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
  and somewhere between the time you were alive
    and the time you go …

May lie the reason you were alive
   that you’ll never know

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