So long, and thanks for all the posts

Recovered from the Wayback Machine

What a marvelous party this has been, and what wonderful people I’ve met, but it’s time, and past, for me to move on. This posting will be Burningbird’s last.

I wasn’t sure how to close the weblog down. Should I just quit abruptly? Spelling out “GOOD-BYE” with no hint of why I’m leaving? However, as tempting as it was to play woman of mystery, I’ve never been one for brevity and I wasn’t about to change my style here at the end.

I started this weblog for two reasons: writing and community. Twisting time into a moebius strip and coming full circle, these are also the reasons why I’m closing it down.

If you’ve been reading Burningbird for some time, then you know I love to write. To compliment this, I also love reading and I’ve met some potentially great writers among those webloggers I’ve been honored to call “friend”.

Potentially great writers. I say this not to insult the writer but because I’m finding that the characteristics of weblogging that allow us to meet great writers are also the characteristics that prevents the writers from showing their full potential in their weblogs.

It’s so seductively easy to write to a weblog. Open a tool, type in some words, push a button and “Hey now”, you’re a published writer. Yet writing is more than putting words out for others to read – it’s also a process of thinking about what you want to write, researching your subject, working with the words, writing and re-writing the same phrase over and over again. It’s effort that takes time – lots of time – and involves change. And, above all, it’s a very personal process.

The very nature of weblogging is that we post regularly, we don’t pull the postings, and we do only minor edits. If we pull postings we leave broken links from other weblogs, or comments that are left orphaned. If we edit, we’re breaking trust with those who’ve commented on the original writing. Weblogging is writing that’s been externalized.

And once the words are out and the writing is finished, no matter how terrific the post is, it’s slowly pushed down a page and hidden among other postings and blogrolls and blogstickers and other graphics until it eventually falls off the bottom of the page, never to surface again unless some strange person puts a bizarre request into Google that leads to one of our archives.

Truly great writing must be allowed to persist through time and if there’s one characteristic common to all weblogs, it’s impermanence.

There’s no reason why the weblogger can’t write for other publications – many do. I do. However, I’m finding that, for me personally, my weblog has become a creative relief valve, something that’s not as positive as it may sound.

Writing is as much a discipline and an overcoming of inertia as it is a product of creativity and skill – you need a build-up of creative energies to start a work and see it through to the end. Since I started weblogging, I’ve found it difficult to focus on my books and my articles, and it shows. In the last year I may have written more than at any other time in my life, but I have the least to show for my effort. No articles, and only one book finished.

What a twistie – to continue writing I must stop writing.

Stop writing to the weblog. So much harder than it sounds because through weblogging I’ve met incredible people from all corners of the world. Not writing to the weblog means I’m also leaving this very special community.

And this leads to another twistie for you – to become part of a community I must leave a community.

In the last six months, I’ve kept myself wrapped in amber. Closed, static, sitting in a chair with computer on my lap, connected to the real world through your eyes, hearing your song, living in your dreams. I’ve managed to avoid dealing with the world and issues in my life that need resolving by folding myself into the community of wonderful people I’ve met here.

My weblog has become more than my avatar, it’s become me.

I need to walk among forest paths with thoughts other than “I must remember to post this”. I need to meet people and look into their eyes, and to laugh and hear something other than the echo of my own laughter back. And I must stop using this weblog as a surrogate for life and the only way I can do this is to quit cold turkey. Walk away, and not look back.

Walking away – this is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I’ve come to like and respect, and even love, the members of my virtual neighborhood. You.

I have no regrets leaving the artificial world of weblogging – the Daypop and Blogdex ratings, the arguments of “webloggers as journalists”, the occasional and unthinking nastiness, the obsession with outlines and links and Google and quizzes and memes of the minute.

But I do regret leaving you.

So long my friends. And thanks for all the posts.