It’s trivial that all good things come to an end; so do all the bad and mediocre things. In little nibbles and great gulps, entropy consumes us all. We just mark the time with the comings and goings of each other’s company.
This poor blog of unintentionally grandiose title and unarticulated, vague, meagre aim, has had its time struggling to find a clear raison d’être. Ironically, now that the purpose is beginning to coalesce out of the smog, it’s become clear that this blog’s reason-to-be, entails its own end.
In the beginning I had urges – urges to rail against stupidity, dishonesty, snobbery, chauvinism, racism, xenophobia, over-privilege and piety. Urges and little more.
Like most people with the slightest pretension to writing, I screamed my voice up into a maelstrom above. Like one of a mass huddled in the basement, clawing up at the floorboards of a burning house – for the most part unobserved by the rest of the world. Most of us, you and I, have been trapped down here, or somewhere like it.
Either for yourself, or your peers, the aim is to break through to the surface so at least someone can climb up and out. Maybe someone will reach down and help. Maybe you and your cohort will conspire to escape.
The first instance of this struggle, and most of what follows, is often panic. I like to think I haven’t lost all dignity in the process, like some kind of failed, attention-seeking, pointlessly self-promoting, wanna-be reality-television personality, clawing at a suffocating ceiling of anonymity.
‘Get me out! Get me out! My sequins are melting!’
(Actually, I find the idea of the Big Brother house burning to the ground strangely comforting).
Not wanting to be this, it’s also not who I want for company.
I’ve been lucky in those I’ve shared time with in these almost-six-years. Those reading know who they are. Thankyou.
We’re all out now. Finally. Fingernails torn and ragged.
Yet here I’ve been for the past few months after the escape, sitting in and surveying the ruins, using the last embers to boil fair-trade coffee and toast vegan marshmallows. Even though he’s stuck it out with me, and I’d be alone otherwise, I’d still have roasted Rob Smith up all nice and crisp if I weren’t vegetarian.
(A moot point by the way. He’s dead. He got up one night thinking he’d seen the light, breaking camp to embrace what was actually an oncoming train; jettisoned in bite-sized chunks across a patch of soursobs, a pack of greyhounds scampering off with the assorted morsels. No more posts by Rob. So it goes.)
Staying behind in this ashen campsite to reflect has been educational. I’ve sorted through the ruins, and there’s much I value that I’ll be taking with me.
A number of salvageable articles, drafts I’m not ready to throw away, a growing love of prose, a hunger for the historical context surrounding the bare bones of an argument, and remorse at not getting my shit together sooner, but not regret. I’ve come to a strengthened realisation that I’m privileged as it is to be here where I am. Privileged, even if I don’t make it to my next destination. Most don’t get even that chance.
I could sit here in my underwear at Thinkers’ Podium, cooking creamed corn on the bonfire, letting the living walk on through a tour of the ruins. This would however, be taking my opportunities for granted. Even if I fail miserably at the next venture, a fair attempt will mean no regret or remorse to deal with. Not on this front at least.
As it is, in the past few months, Ophelia Benson has popped in to say hello, Russell Blackford has walked through with a nod, and it was only after Jerry Coyne pointed people in this direction that it was revealed Richard Dawkins had breezed briefly through town himself. The latter authors seeing me camped out in my own filth like a blogospheric hobo, no doubt.
It’s not a haunt, it’s a salvage mission!
I’m sure none of them are so judgemental, but looking back a part of me is saying ‘not a good look’. I guess I’m that judgemental. Or vain. Or both. Take your pick.
So now I’ve got new digs over in the next valley and the various bits and pieces of salvage are loaded up and ready to be moved. This morning was the last morning I’d wake up here. It’s done now.
The campfire is put out. Nothing needs to be secured. A greyhound darts from shadow to shadow with what looks like a hand in its mouth, probably needing to be buried for later.
It’s time to head off to my new home, the old Podium smoldering in the rear-vision mirror, a little Fear Factory and Gary Numan on the radio. I’ll try to let you all know when I reach my destination.
(Picture Source: Andreas Brugger, Great Fire of Salem, 1697)