Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too

I’ve written this post, in my head, hundreds, if not thousands of times. On October 9th, 2011, I typed up the first words on this blog, and ever since, I’ve mentally crafted the post where I quit. I’ve done this monthly, sometimes weekly, even daily. Sometimes I was more serious than others. Sometimes I was honestly fed up. More often I was just tired. And now, now that it’s here and real and no longer living in my idle imagination, I feel neither of those things. I don’t know what the word is for how I feel. The truth is I’ve been finished for a while, this is just the first time I’ve sat down with the intention of making it official. So in a way it’s already done. This post is already published. The mourning was weak to begin with, it had been there even when I was in the thick of writing, it crept into my mind whenever I’d let it, and since I’ve done this before, thought of these words and these feelings and this one final pronouncement, the mourning has been diluted, stretched over time so that it’s mark is almost illegible, the grief mostly a suggestion.

I stopped writing at Lookout Landing a while back. I think some part of me always knew I wouldn’t last very long there, or graduate to some other caliber of website. It felt like my ceiling before I was even invited onto the floor, and when I was, that reality only became more stark. Over the last year or two, I could feel myself making choices, the types writers make about the types of writers they want to be. I got weirder, more absurd, more abstract. It got more and more difficult to summon real emotion, I felt like I had spent all mine up in the earlier years, those years when no one was reading, like there was a limit to how earnestly and seriously I could take myself writing about a sport or using a sport as a frame to present something altogether not about a sport at all. It felt like an obvious trick. Slight of hand for the sake of an audience who already knew the reveal. It became impossible to get excited about baseball news, or statistics, or analysis. There are so many people on the Internet willing to write those kinds of baseball posts, and they’re infinitely more knowledgeable and talented and driven than I am. And those things bore me. More and more every day. It became obvious that there was increasingly less of a place for me within the community I’d made myself a part. We were losing interest in each other.

Some of this is a writer growing tired with his chosen subject, most of this is a writer who has a family and a job and a house and time he’d like to spend not being miserable while writing. Writing is an uniquely mystical and terrible thing, and being pulled between that combination of forces is not a great way to spend a weeknight. My self-imposed writing obligations grew in weight as each month passed. Eventually they became impossible to carry. I think this is how most writing dies. The string just breaks, the writer simply opens his hands and lets go. Then he drives to work.

I’ve been spending my time not worrying about these things anymore. I’ve ran errands and done the dishes and watched television without that pull in my head reminding me of my inability to put words together about some such baseball player or happening. I’ve assembled furniture and read novels without ceaselessly testing my brain to ignite some kind of brilliant way of making jokes about Jesus Montero. It’s been nice. I prefer things this way. It’s easier. I’m more fun to be around.

I say that I’m quitting and talking about how writing dies and while all that is true it also sounds a bit too much. I will no longer be writing about baseball on the Internet. I tried it for a few years and I made some good progress. I fulfilled some modest dreams and am happy with what I managed to accomplish, all things considered. I even wrote a few decent paragraphs and a few of those paragraphs were even read by people. That is more than nothing and I’m grateful to anyone who wasted their time reading what I created and even more to those who enjoyed themselves while doing so. I met and interacted with some wonderful people, maybe even made a couple of friends, and I had fun. I tortured myself but it was worth it for a long time.

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2 thoughts on “Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too

  1. […] Well, The World Needs Ditch Diggers, Too February 28th, 2014 — “I’ve written this post, in my head, hundreds, if not thousands of times. On October 9th, 2011, I typed up the first words on this blog, and ever since, I’ve mentally crafted the post where I quit. I’ve done this monthly, sometimes weekly, even daily. Sometimes I was more serious than others. Sometimes I was […]” […]

  2. ryan says:

    Lame! I hadn’t checked up on the site for some time admittedly, but because I thought you were on to the bright lights of other sites on the internet.

    At least we can always talk about baseball in person like nerds of the past would have to do. If you ever do pick up the quill again, let me know because I enjoyed reading. I bet HAVING to write became a chore that was always hanging over your head, but what you did was fun to read. Anyway, forget all that, we’re not in school anymore, no more time for deadlines and being creative, we’ve got lives to live.

    Go Mariners!

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