I can't decide if I want to resume blogging or not. I reread old posts and am pleased with them, and also with the memory of what fun it was to craft them, usually out of an explosive kernel of an idea that niggled and prodded until I gave it its due. The habit of blogging was so infectious. Once I got going, ideas piled up and popped all over the place, begging to be chosen, pinned down and expressed in words. It would be good to experience more of that particular pleasure. And to take on more of that kind of short-term, quickly gratified intellectual challenge.
I didn't deliberately turn away from blogging. For a few weeks after my last post in January 2012, I thought often about posting. After a couple months, I thought less often (and more guiltily) about it. After a couple more, the idea flitted vaguely through my mind every now and then. I took pictures on trips and composed descriptive paragraphs in my head, thinking to write travel posts, if nothing else. But the inspiration was never sufficiently compelling to prompt an actual post. Not even when it got to be November and December and I had to see that accusing January 2012 date looming at the top of my blog whenever I checked it to see if the bloggers I follow had posted anything new. (They had. Often. See "Interesting Blogs" in the sidebar to your right and look them up.)
Twitter was the same. When I tweeted regularly, my brain developed a whole Twitter compartment, a bustling, observant mechanism that parsed the world into 140-character bursts of revelation. Twitter, too, was fun. It, too, was infectious and challenging. And it, too, fell by the wayside in 2012.
It could be laziness or a sense of diminishing returns. It could be that I got busy with other, more captivating, things. Or maybe it was merely the end of a natural life cycle. Hobbies, interests, even passions come and go.
I spend the bulk of my time crafting words. For a time, a long time, the challenge of crafting blog posts and tweets complemented my writing work. It was hugely entertaining, it made me some great friends, and it honed my skills. Ultimately, though, blogging and tweeting stopped complementing and started distracting. At first, the distraction was a welcome diversion. I was at a difficult juncture with my book; expressing myself pithily elsewhere served as a needed outlet and a reassuring relief. But eventually the distraction was only a distraction. It lost its enticing appeal, and I turned to different side dishes.
I rediscovered two former passions in 2012: baking bread and cooking. Like all good hobbies, neither of these can ever be entirely mastered. There's always something to improve on or something new to learn. They offer a constant challenge, and one that, unlike blogging and Twitter, is not verbal. You decide what you want to create, assemble ingredients, apply techniques, and - presto! - you very shortly have what you wanted and it's a tangible thing. This may be a metaphor for novel-writing, but it's the antithesis of writing an actual novel - and not only because you get to eat your results.
It's been cold and cloudier than usual in Las Vegas this winter, and the clouds make for gorgeous sunsets. As I was uploading photos of a recent beauty to my computer, it occurred to me that a sunset is a worthy and enjoyable phenomenon whether or not it precedes a sunny dawn. I may blog or tweet regularly again; I may not. For now, here's the sunset: