I'm working on a new blog. I've decided to embrace the bloglines glitch and use it as an opportunity to build fresh. I haven't really been enjoying the mommy-blogging or personal blogging thing for a while now, and yet when you have a lot of effort invested into a particular community and audience it's tough to let it go. Then I lost it anyway. Might as well put some thought into what I really want to do, and direct the effort there instead.
1. Can be tough to get gigs in journalism when you are personal blogging under your own name. Some places won't hire you. They like their writers to have a pristinely objective public persona.
2. Have been through the wringer enough times to be aware of all of the downsides of turning yourself and your life into entertainment. Most of the relationships formed are not friendships. They're not antagonistic or anything, but it isn't reciprocal for one thing, and for another, it's entirely too dependent on trauma.
3. Getting sick of talking about myself.
4. Getting uncomfortable talking so much about Frances.
(Neither of those are new, I know.)
5. Putting a lot more effort into writing for which I might actually be paid. (Yes, I know I could put ads on the blog, but the chances of that turning into a steady income stream are next to nil and totally out of proportion to the level of effort required--not to mention that those efforts aren't intrinsically rewarding to me.) This reduces my rumination time on personal matters to basically zero in any case.
6. I'd like to blog, if I'm going to, on subjects related to what I'm writing about for pay. a) good practice, b) good promotions.
7. You would not believe how shocked I was to discover the extensive and largely detrimental effects blogging had on my writing style during the first month at school. I'd get assignments back (it never struck me as I was writing) and see them as lazy, sloppy and snarky, mostly because the form of writing I'd been doing every day--personal blogging--rewards such characteristics. Maybe other people are better at separating it out than I am, who knows. At any rate, it no longer seems as harmless as it did.
So, anyway. This blog will be dying a natural death over the next little while. I'll continue to read blogs and comment--I'm not divorcing myself from all of you--but I will no longer be posting here, probably after about January 1. Instead, I'll be blogging here. The first post is something I'd drafted in the summer for this blog, but it never seemed to fit.
My plan for the new site is to write about the Toronto environment: local species, both native and invasive; interesting goings-on--new projects, environmental assessments, policies and legislation, conferences, etc.; eventually interviews, links to published articles, bits of research that I can't use in published articles; and playing around with on-line journalism (the occasional bit of audio or video, maybe, or flash if I can figure it out). "Zoopolis" means the integration of nature into the city, a coexistence of the human and non-human in our urban spaces. I'll write about the future we want, not the future we want to avoid.
I know a lot of you won't be interested in this venture, and that's fine (but of course anyone who wants to follow me over is more than welcome to). If you'd like, you're free to write to me by email (mcdowella AT sympatico DOT ca), friend me on facebook, or even old-fashioned paper letters if you're feeling adventurous. (I love mail.) I'd be happy to keep in touch with anyone who wants to, and I'd be bereft to lose anyone I have become friends with over the years. Thanks to everyone who's followed me on this journey. I can't believe I've been blogging here for five and a half years!
It feels right to be making this change on the longest night of the year, at Yule, which is so meaningful to me as a period of transformation. Happy Solstice, Channukah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Kwanzaa, and all the rest. I wish all of you and your families the best for all the years to come. Let's hope they get brighter and happier in every way that matters.