As no doubt is becoming clear, I'm blogging less and less, partly because moving interstate along with everything else I do is making me that much more busy, partly because I'm, er, running out of things to say, in a certain sense. And the View was intended as an Alice-specific blog.
I always wondered when I would want to finish this blog, and I thought I would know when the time came, much as how I thought I would know when to move on from Alice and where I would go next. Now it seems the time is a-coming. It's not a recent decision, but something I've been pondering over the last six months (so don't worry that you've said anything to put me off blogging).
I've pondered starting a Melbourne blog -- maybe titled 'Northcoto-philia', or 'too much information' or 'permanent wedgie' (my usual state of being) -- but I'm not sure that yet another Melbourne blog is needed, when there are so many already and so many that are well done. But when was a blog ever necessary?
I do remember the days when blogging had a raffish edge, maybe back around 2005 when there was a lot of energy in the Australian blogosphere. Barista has suggested to me that it was because blogging afforded an avenue of comment during the dark Howard years, when mainstream journalism became increasingly conservative. I'm not entirely sure that I agree with this summation, as there's always been a strong, personal diaristic strand in the blogosphere as well as a political one. I've sometimes thought that blogging was a bit like the outburst of small presses in the seventies when self-publishing became easier: perhaps there are always wannabee writers and pamphleteers about, looking for a suitable platform. Back in the good ol' days of the early noughties, blogging was a slightly eccentric thing to do; now it's been banalised to a 'tool' used regularly by journalists and management types (curses!) Facebook and Twitter have also no doubt leached bloggers and potential bloggers away, which is perhaps not such a bad thing: how much bad prose do we really need cluttering up the internet? Laura and I have both commented that thoughts we would previously have given fuller expression in a blog post often just get a one-sentence wrap-up on FB these days.
Good things have come out of blogging and even FB for me. I never had any idea where blogging might take me, and like much of life, the unexpected was far more interesting than anything I could have imagined. I've met and started new networks of interesting people. I've had writing from the blog re-published or linked elsewhere, and other pieces commissioned by good quality publications. Another truly pleasant aspect of blogging and also FB has been the people who have come out of the wordwork (i.e. readers/lurkers) since I've returned to Melbourne, and re-introduced themselves to me: in some cases, it's been up to fifteen years since I've seen them.
I don't want to can this blog, entirely, (so if anyone has any bright ideas about how I can archive it, rather than paying typepad forever, do tell). The blog has been important to me as a record of my time in central Australia, which is why I originally started it, not to mention of my Charles Ryder-ish descent into middle age and of Leonard's decline and ultimate demise. Another trajectory this blog has covered has been my journey to becoming a writer, though I still feel nervous about making that claim. It's interesting to me that at a certain point, people started to call me a writer, rather me calling myself one. I don't think this shift is associated with the very small critical mass of journal publications I've had: I suspect it's more my commitment to the pursuit of writing. I see writing probably more as a vocation than a career; after all, very few people support themselves entirely on the basis of writing, tho there's a sense in which I still use writing as my basic tool of trade in my capacity as a policy wonk. The dilemmas of not defining oneself in terms of work or career, not to mention not defining oneself as a woman in terms of family or relationships can be truly tiresome. Ditto to the notions that pursuing a life in the arts necessarily means impoverishment or that it's ok for creative labour to be unpaid. However, I won't whinge about these issues here yet again, especially when others have done so ably over here.
Otherwise, my feet have fallen in pleasant places. I live in a tiny eyrie almost overlooking Merri Creek, slightly smaller than the upper storey of my last abode, but as it only takes 45 mins to clean and it's only five mins walk to High Street, 10 minutes to Clifton Hill or Nth Fitzroy, I'm not complaining. Even tho winter is virtually upon us, Melbourne is still looking very Autumnal. I wouldn't say European, tho sometimes it's difficult to spot the gumtree in these parts: just cold, in a southern temperate climes kinda way, like Hobart and Christchurch.
All good things come to the end and this is the beginning of the end (I really will leave the blogosphere soon, I promise).